Click here to read full article Primerus by jolinmilioncherie

VIEWS: 5 PAGES: 9

									                Discovery and Disclosure of Immigration Status in Litigation:
                            Ethical and Practical Considerations

                                    Anna N. Martinez, Esq.*

Access to the courts is something most people, especially lawyers, take for granted. However,
when a non-citizen prospective client seeks access to the courts to redress an injury, some
lawyers may second-guess whether the potential client is permitted to bring a claim, and whether
the lawyer is able to represent the prospective client should his or her immigration status be
called into question. This article explores practical approaches a lawyer can take to assess such a
case, and to protect a client’s rights in the litigation process.

In Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB,1 the United States Supreme Court held that an
alien who is both unlawfully present and not authorized to lawfully work in the United States is
not entitled to reinstatement or backpay pursuant to the statutory remedies available under the
National Labor Relations Act2 (“NLRA”) in light of Congressional intent to deter employment of
“illegal aliens”3 as stated in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 19864 (“IRCA”).5 In the
underlying case, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) found the employer, Hoffman
Plastic, in violation of section 8(a)(3) of the NLRA after it terminated four employees “in order
to rid itself of known union supporters.”6 Among the penalties imposed, the NLRB ordered
Hoffman Plastic to offer reinstatement and backpay to the four terminated employees. 7 Hoffman
Plastic appealed the order as it pertained to Jose Castro, who testified at the compliance hearing
that he “had never been legally admitted to, or authorized to work in, the United States,” and that
he obtained employment in the first place by tendering a false document.8 The Supreme Court
reversed the award, citing that the NLRB’s remedy conflicted with other Congressional
objectives, namely, federal immigration policy “designed to deny employment to aliens who (a)
are not lawfully present in the United States, or (b) are not lawfully authorized to work in the
United States.”9

The court reasoned that permitting an award of backpay and reinstatement to unauthorized aliens
would “encourage the successful evasion of apprehension by immigration authorities, condone
prior violations of the immigration laws, and encourage future violations.”10 Castro’s status as
an alien who was both unlawfully present and not authorized to work in the United States only
highlighted what the court perceived as “tension” between the NLRA and IRCA.11 Under such
circumstances, the court limited the NLRB’s discretion to fashion a remedy.

Since the Hoffman decision, proponents have argued to extend the ruling to preclude
unauthorized aliens from accessing remedies and protections in state and federal courts under
employment discrimination statutes,12 labor legislation,13 tort law,14 and workers’ compensation
schemes.15 Moreover, in the litigation context generally, proponents have used Hoffman as a
“prying device”16 to obtain immigration status-based discovery, and to introduce facts about a
litigant’s immigration status at trial,17 arguing that these facts are relevant to the issue of lost
earning capacity claims.18 A lawyer’s navigation of legal authority on the topic is further
complicated by some state enacted anti-immigration legislation that pits a lawyer’s ethical duty
to maintain client confidences against state law compelling disclosure of facts about a client’s
immigration status.19
Given the complicated legal and ethical landscape, what should a lawyer do after deciding to
represent a non-citizen alien client?20

First, get the facts. It is imperative that a lawyer question a client about his or her immigration
status in the initial interview21 in order to properly advise the client about the immigration
consequences of filing a claim and proceeding through trial.22 Lawyers should be aware that a
client’s immigration status may change during the course of litigation because of a pending
immigration petition or immigration court proceedings, opening up the client’s eligibility for
certain remedies.23 Accordingly, at the initial interview a lawyer should gather two categories of
information: (1) basic identifying information, and (2) immigration status facts.

With regard to gathering basic information, a lawyer should ask for the client’s true identity, and
if seeking lost-earnings related damages, verify whether the client used another name to obtain
employment.24 The lawyer should also ascertain whether the client has a valid Social Security
number and driver’s license in order to avoid legal and ethical hazards that may arise if this
information is not truthfully stated when disclosure is required in a pleading pursuant to court
rule,25 in response to an order compelling discovery or a question posed at deposition or trial.26

When gathering facts about a client’s immigration status, the lawyer’s aim is to anticipate what
facts, if disclosed in litigation, could lead to criminal or civil penalties, including deportation.
Consequently, the lawyer should inquire about the client’s manner of entry into the United
States, and determine whether the client lawfully entered on a visa, overstayed the visa, or
entered without permission and so may be subject to criminal prosecution and deportation.27 The
lawyer should also explore how the client obtained employment, including what documents were
presented to the employer at the time of hire,28 whether the worker filled out an I-9,29 whether
the client obtained employment using a different name, and if an unauthorized alien, whether the
client’s employer ever discovered his or her unauthorized status.30

Second, armed with these facts, the lawyer should advise the client about the various
consequences of filing a claim. For instance, the client may be subject to retaliation, namely, the
risk that an opposing party31 could report the claimant to immigration authorities.32 The client
may also be exposed to criminal and civil penalties, including deportation, if the client discloses
facts implicating criminal conduct, such as document fraud, unlawful presence or unauthorized
employment. In order to mitigate exposure of the client’s status, a litigation strategy should also
be presented to the client. Presenting the full array of risks and benefits to the client will not
only assist the client in making an informed decision about how to proceed,33 but it will also
empower the lawyer with knowledge to prepare for the discovery and trial planning phases of the
litigation.

Third, after gathering the necessary facts, and assessing the client’s risk, the lawyer should make
a plan for addressing immigration status issues in litigation. A plan should be divided into three
phases: drafting the complaint, discovery, and trial.

When assessing what claims to include in the complaint, the lawyer should consider whether the
client is eligible for the full range of available remedies. For instance, an unauthorized alien with
no pending status change is likely ineligible for the remedies of backpay and reinstatement under
various federal anti-discrimination statutes.34 However, the same person may be eligible for
compensatory damages.35 As such, the client should consider seeking only those damages that
he or she may be eligible for according to controlling precedent in order to limit discovery on the
issue of immigration status and avoid presentation of this evidence at trial.

At the complaint phase, the lawyer should also be careful to draft the complaint to avoid
disclosure of any facts that implicate your client’s immigration status. For instance, in a race
discrimination case, the drafter should not include facts about where the client was born,
referring instead generally to the race or ethnicity of the client. Furthermore, the lawyer should
take care not to include facts that are untrue, i.e., false name, etc.36

In the discovery phase of litigation, the lawyer should consider what action can be taken to
protect against intrusive discovery of a client’s immigration status. For instance, if the client is
deposed or served with discovery about his or her immigration status, the lawyer can file for a
protective order to limit the scope of discovery.37 Despite the success of protective orders,
lawyers should be aware that the information may be discoverable or disclosed in the damages
phase of litigation, namely, at trial.38 Lawyers should also carefully prepare a client for
deposition, and review requests for admission, interrogatories, and requests for production of
documents in order to preserve any privileges that may apply.39

Finally, at the trial phase, a lawyer should exercise all of the available methods for continuing to
preclude disclosure of a client’s immigration status or to neutralize it. If the immigration status
of a client is at issue by the time of trial, a lawyer should move for a motion in limine to prohibit
opposing counsel, parties, and witnesses from mentioning or commenting about the client’s
status at trial.40 If the court rejects a motion in limine and determines that evidence about
immigration status is relevant to an issue, such as damages, a lawyer should consider whether the
client would benefit from a bifurcation of the proceedings.41 Moreover, if the evidence is
deemed admissible at trial, the lawyer should move the trial court for permission to voir dire the
jury about their sentiments towards immigrants and/or unauthorized aliens,42 and, if applicable,
offer a modified lost future earnings jury instruction.43

The above strategies for conducting client-intake, evaluating an alien client’s claims, and
developing a plan to protect the client by limiting discovery and admission of immigration-
related facts at trial, while not exhaustive, should assist any practitioner for navigating the murky
litigation waters after Hoffman.


* Anna is an associate at Starrs Mihm LLP in Denver, Colorado, and she practices in the areas
of personal injury, insurance bad faith, and legal malpractice. Anna was named a Colorado
Super Lawyers® Rising Star in 2009, 2010, and 2011. She earned her J.D. at the University of
New Mexico School of Law, and her B.A. at Columbia University; she is admitted to practice in
the States of Colorado and New Mexico. You can reach Anna at anna.martinez@starrslaw.com.
       1
           Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB, 535 U.S. 137 (2002).
       2
           National Labor Relations Act of 1935, 29 U.S.C. § 151, et seq.
       3
          The court uses the term “undocumented alien,” Hoffman, 535 U.S. at 140, “illegal
aliens,” id. at 147, and “undocumented workers,” id. at 141, interchangeably to refer to non-
citizen aliens who are not “lawfully entitled to be present and employed in the United States.” Id.
at 146 (quoting Sure-Tan, Inc. v. NLRB, 467 U.S. 883, 903 (1984) (emphasis added)). Section
1324a(h)(3) of the IRCA defines an “unauthorized alien” as any alien who is either not lawfully
admitted for lawful permanent residence, or who is not lawfully authorized to be employed by
the Act as evidenced by the possession of certain documents authorizing employment.” See 8
U.S.C. § 1324a(b)(C). For purposes of this article I will use the term “unauthorized alien” to
refer to a non-citizen who is not lawfully present in the United States, i.e., one who entered
without permission or who may have entered with permission but lacks work authorization.
       4
        Immigration and Nationality Act, 66 Stat. 163, as amended, Immigration Reform and
Control Act of 1986, 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a), et seq.
       5
           Hoffman, 535 U.S. at 149-151.
       6
           Id. at 140.
       7
           Id.
       8
         Id. at 141 (citing 314 N.L.R.B. 683, 685, 1994 WL 397901 (1994)). Castro admitted to
gaining employment by presenting his employer with a birth certificate belonging to a friend
born in Texas.
       9
           Hoffman, 535 U.S. at 147.
       10
            Id. at 151.
       11
            Id.
       12
           See, e.g., Rivera v. NIBCO, Inc., 364 F.3d 1057, 1066-69 (9th Cir. 2004) (rejecting
employer’s argument that Hoffman precludes federal courts from awarding backpay to
undocumented workers who have been discharged in violation of Title VII). See also id. at 1069
n.12 (collecting cases that have considered Hoffman in analogous employment cases and
rejecting its applicability to limit remedies). Cf. Escobar v. Spartan Security Serv., 281 F. Supp.
2d 895, 897 (S.D. Tex. 2003) (rejecting award of backpay under Title VII for worker who was
undocumented at the time he was employed by defendant employer, but preserving award of
reinstatement and front pay on basis that employee had obtained lawful employment status since
his termination).
       13
            See, e.g., Flores v. Amigon, 233 F. Supp. 2d 462, 464 (E.D.N.Y. 2002) (holding that
Hoffman does not bar an unauthorized alien’s claim for backpay under the Fair Labor Standards
Act, distinguishing between backpay for wages actually earned, and backpay for work not
performed).
       14
           See Sananago v. 200 East 16th St. Housing Corp., 15 A.D.3d 36, 41-42 (N.Y. App.
2004) (holding that unauthorized alien may not be awarded lost earnings in a personal injury
action reasoning that Hoffman preempts state law), abrogated by Balbuena v. IDR Realty LLC,
845 N.E.2d 1246, 1255-56 (N.Y. App. 2007) (overruling Sanango and holding that IRCA does
not preempt state tort law). See also Wendy Andre, Undocumented Immigrants and Their
Personal Injury Actions: Keeping Immigration Policy Out of Lost Wage Awards and Enforcing
the Compensatory and Deterrent Functions of Tort Law, 13 Roger Williams U. L. Rev. 530
(Spring 2008) (arguing against focus on immigration policy when awarding lost wages in state
tort actions because this focus negates the compensatory nature of tort law and discussing
relevant cases).
       15
          See, e.g., Champion Auto Body v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office, 950 P.2d 671
(Colo. App. 1997) (holding that unauthorized aliens are entitled to workers’ compensation
benefits for work-related injuries occurring in Colorado); compare with Felix v. State of
Wyoming ex rel. Wyoming Workers’ Safety And Compensation Div., 986 P.2d 161 (Wyo. 1999)
(holding that alien not authorized to work in the United States is not an “employee” for workers’
compensation purposes).
       16
          See Keith Cunningham-Parmeter, Fear of Discovery: Immigrant Workers and the Fifth
Amendment, 41 Cornell Int’l L.J. 27, 42 (Winter 2008) (explaining that Hoffman is significant for
the revolution in discovery that it has produced, and proposing a role for the Fifth Amendment in
immigrant-initiated employment litigation).
       17
           See Melendres v. Soales 306 N.W.2d 399,402 (Mich. App. 1981) (in personal injury
action court held plaintiff’s status as an “illegal alien” was “material and relevant to the issue of
damages, specifically the present value of future lost earnings” and so “jury had a right to know
of plaintiff’s illegal status when calculating damages”)); Rosa v. Partners in Progress, Inc., 868
A.2d 994, 996 (N.H. 2005) (adopting reasoning in Melendres and holding that evidence of illegal
alien status is relevant to issue of lost earnings and may be introduced at trial); Silva v. Wilcox,
223 P.3d 127 (Colo. App. 2009) (holding inquiry into plaintiff’s immigration status relevant for
purposes of contesting ability to recover lost future wages).
       18
           See Hugh Alexander Fuller, Immigration, Compensation and Preemption: The Proper
Measure of Lost Future Earning Capacity Damages After Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v.
NLRB, 58 Baylor L. Rev. 985 (Fall 2006) (exploring effect of Hoffman on an unauthorized
alien’s claims for lost earning capacity). See also Mark J. Tindall, How Much is an Illegal
Immigrant’s Life Worth?, 89 Tex. L. Rev. 729 (February 2011) (addressing Hoffman’s impact on
a Texas wrongful death claim involving an unauthorized alien and whether such status bars an
award of lost earning capacity).
       19
          See Alabama Immigration Law, Act No. 2011-535, sections 5-6 (making it a crime for
an “officer of the court” to adopt a practice “that limits or restricts enforcement of federal
immigration laws by limiting communication” with immigration officials), available at
http://www.ago.state.al.us/Page-Immigration (last visited Jan. 29, 2011). See also Eric
Fleishauer, Lawyers Say Client’s Rights Supersede New State Law, The Decatur Daily, (Nov. 6,
2011), available to subscribers at http://decaturdaily.com/detail.html?sub_id=87350 (last visited
Jan. 29, 2011).
       20
           The practitioner should note that aliens, both authorized and unauthorized, have legal
standing to bring a claim in the courts of the United States. See Pyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202, 210
(1982) (holding that “Aliens, even aliens whose presence in this country is unlawful, have long
been recognized as ‘persons’ guaranteed due process of law by the Fifth and Fourteenth
Amendments,” including the guarantee that “[n]o State shall . . deny to any person within its
jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”).
       21
           See Rebecca Smith, et al., National Employment Law Project & National Immigration
Law Center, Undocumented Workers: Preserving Rights and Remedies after Hoffman Plastic
Compounds v. NLRB, (Feb. 23, 2007), available at
http://nelp.3cdn.net/b378145245dde2e58d_0qm6i6i6g.pdf (discussing in part how to build
rapport with, and interview a client about their immigration status when litigation employment-
related claims).
       22
          Criminal defense lawyers in some states have long been under a duty to properly
advise clients about the immigration consequences of entering a guilty plea, requiring these
lawyers to familiarize themselves with basic immigration law. See People v. Pozo, 746 P.2d
523, 527 (Colo. 1987) (holding that attorneys who know or have sufficient information to form a
reasonable belief that their client is an alien have a duty to research relevant immigration law);
State v. Paredez, 136 N.M. 533, 538-39, 101 P.3d 799, 2004-NMSC-036 (counsel had obligation
to advise defendant of risk of deportation from entering guilty plea). Recently, the Supreme
Court agreed. See Padilla v. Kentucky, __ U.S. __, 130 S.Ct. 1473 (2010) (holding that a
criminal defense counsel’s failure to advise his client of the immigration consequences of
entering a guilty plea amounts to ineffective assistance of counsel).
       23
         See Escobar, 281 F. Supp. 2d at 897 (rejecting award of backpay under Title VII for
worker who was undocumented at the time he was employed by defendant employer, but
preserving award of reinstatement and front pay on basis that employee had obtained lawful
employment status since his termination).
       24
          See also North Carolina State Bar, 2008 Formal Ethics Opinion 1 (April 25, 2008)
(ruling that lawyer representing undocumented worker in a workers’ compensation action has a
duty to correct court documents containing false statements of material fact and is prohibited
from introducing evidence in support of the proposition that an alias is the client’s legal name).
       25
         See Guillermo M. Hernandez, Closing the Courthouse Doors: The Implications of the
Discovery of Immigration Related Facts and the Effects of § 30.014 of the Texas Civil Practice
& Remedies Code, 13 Scholar 674 (Spring 2011) (noting that Texas civil procedure requires each
party to disclose a partial driver’s license and Social Security number in initial pleadings,
hampering immigrant’s access to courts and opening up a client’s immigration status to
discovery).
       26
          See generally, Christine N. Cimini, Ask, Don’t Tell: Ethical Issues Surrounding
Undocumented Workers’ Status in Employment Litigation, 61 Stan. L. Rev. 355 (2008)
(exploring legal and ethical issues surrounding representation of undocumented aliens, and
concluding that such representation is not prohibited in most circumstances); David P. Weber,
(Unfair) Advantage: Domacles’ Sword and the Coercive Use of Immigration Status in a Civil
Society, 94 Marq. L. Rev. 613, 639-662 (Winter 2010) (exploring ethical constraints on attorneys
when representing or opposing unauthorized aliens in litigation).
       27
           See Caleb E. Mason, The Use of Immigration Status in Cross-Examination of
Witnesses: Scope, Limits, Objections, 33 Am. J. Trial Advoc. 549, 572-584 (Spring 2010)
(discussing applicability of Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in response to
status-based questions implicating criminal violations, including re-entry after deportation,
illegal entry, failure to register as an alien, employment-related fraud, false claim to United
States citizenship, false statement to a federal official, passport fraud, and tax evasion).
       28
          IRCA makes it unlawful for any person to forge, alter, use, or possess any false
document to obtain a benefit, such as employment. See 8 U.S.C. § 1324c(a)(1)-(5) (outlining
penalties against document fraud). Moreover, the use of falsified documents by a client may
expose him or her to criminal penalties. See 18 U.S.C. § 1546(b) (setting forth criminal penalties
for document fraud).
       29
          See Theodros v. Gonzales, 490 F.3d 396 (5th Cir. 2007) (holding that it was a
deportable offense for an alien to falsely represent that he was a United States citizen in order to
gain private sector employment).
       30
          See National Immigration Law Center & AFL CIO, Checklist for Attorneys Advising or
Representing Immigrant Workers (April 2004) (noting that if the employer discovered the
worker was unauthorized, and employer did not terminate employee immediately, information is
useful for the defense of after-acquired evidence and for retaliation claims).
       31
           If a lawyer reports a litigant’s status to immigration authorities, such action may be
challenged as a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, specifically Model Rules 4.4
(prohibiting a lawyer from using means that “have no substantial purpose other than to
embarrass, delay or burden a third person”), 8.4(c) (prohibiting lawyers from engaging in
conduct involving “dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation”), and 8.4(d) (prohibiting
conduct “that is prejudicial to the administration of justice”). See also N.C. Ethics Op. 3 (July
14, 2005) (stating that a “lawyer may not threaten to report an opposing party or a witness to
immigration officials to gain an advantage in civil settlement negotiations”); N.C. Ethics Op. 5
(Jan. 22, 2009) (holding that while a lawyer may seek immigration status-based discovery, the
lawyer “may not report the status to ICE unless required to do so by federal or state law”
reasoning that “[i]t is unlikely that Lawyer’s impetus to report [litigant] to ICE is motivated by
any purpose other than those prohibited under [Rule 4.4 and 8.4]”).
       32
          For a discussion of a particularly extreme retaliation, see the discussion in Weber,
(Unfair) Advantage, 94 Marq. L. Rev. at 616 (citing Homeowner’s Illegal Status Exposed After
Aborted Sale, FoxNews.com, Nov. 17, 2008,
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,453011,00.html).
       33
            See Weber, supra note 32, at 661-62 (noting that simply counseling a client to refrain
from pursuing his or her claim, while unattractive, may guarantee that the client meets one of his
or her goals in remaining undetected by immigration authorities). Counseling a client about the
legal consequences of filing a lawsuit, including the possibility of discovery by immigration
officials, is permitted by the Rules of Ethics. See Model Rule 1.2(d) (“A lawyer shall not
counsel a client to engage, or assist a client, in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal or
fraudulent, but a lawyer may discuss the legal consequences of any proposed course of conduct
with a client and may counsel or assist a client to make a good faith effort to determine the
validity, scope, meaning or application of the law.”).
       34
            See, e.g., Escobar, supra note 12 (Title VII); Hoffman, supra note 1 (NLRA).
       35
         See, e.g., Flores, supra note 13 (permitting unauthorized alien to recover backpay for
work already performed under FLSA)
       36
           Model Rule 1.2(d) provides that a lawyer may not assist a client in conduct that the
lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent, and Model Rule 3.3 prohibits an attorney from making a
false statement of material fact or law to a tribunal, or from offering evidence the lawyer knows
to be false. See, e.g., People v. Casey, 948 P.2d 1014 (Colo. 1997) (imposing forty-five day
suspension for lawyer who failed to inform court that client facing trespassing charge was using
someone else’s identity). See also N.C. Ethics Op. 1 (Apr. 25, 2008) (opining that lawyer
representing an undocumented worker in a workers’ compensation action has duty to correct
court documents containing false statements of material fact and is prohibited from introducing
evidence in support of the proposition that an alias in the client’s legal name).
       37
          Litigants in labor and employment claims have largely succeeded in limiting discovery
about immigration related facts by pursuing protective orders. See, e.g., EEOC v. First Wireless
Group, Inc., 225 F.R.D. 404 (E.D.N.Y. 2004) (finding that good cause shown for protective
order where disclosure of immigration status would cause embarrassment, potential criminal
charges, or deportation if status was discovered to be illegal). Courts have largely held against
employers when attempting to discover immigration-related facts. See, Rivera, supra note 12, at
1063 (“Granting employers the right to inquire into workers’ immigration status . . . would allow
them to raise implicitly the threat of deportation and criminal prosecution every time a worker,
documented or undocumented, reports illegal practices.”); Liu v. Donna Karan Int’l, Inc., 207 F.
Supp. 2d 191, 193 (S.D.N.Y. 2002) (recognizing the in terrorem effect of inquiring into a party’s
immigration status and authorization to work because it presents a “danger of intimidation [that]
would inhibit plaintiffs in pursuing their rights”).
       38
         See Melendres, Rosa, and Silva, supra note 17. See also Roxana Mondragon, Injured
Undocumented Workers and Their Workplace Rights: Advocating for a Retaliation Per Se Rule,
44 Colum. J.L. & Soc. Probs. 447, 470-473 (Summer 2011) (discussing limitations of protective
orders).
       39
         See Cunningham-Parmeter, supra note 16 (discussing application of the Fifth
Amendment privilege against self-incrimination to discovery about a litigant’s immigration
status).
       40
           See, e.g., EEOC v. First Wireless Group, Inc., 225 F.R.D. 404, 406 (E.D.N.Y. 2004)
(upholding magistrate’s protective order and denial of defendant’s motion in limine to introduce
immigration-related evidence); TXI Transp. Co. v. Hughes, 306 S.W.3d 230, 245 (Tex. 2010)
(holding that any probative value of defendant’s immigration status was outweighed by the risk
of unfair prejudice, and stating that “such appeals to racial and ethnic prejudices, whether
explicit and brazen or veiled and subtle, cannot be tolerated . . .”) (internal quotation marks
omitted); Salas v. Hi-Tech Erectors, 230 P.3d 583, 586-87 (Wash. 2010) (reversing trial court’s
order admitting evidence of Salas’ immigration status and holding that “probative value of
plaintiff’s undocumented status, by itself, is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair
prejudice”). See also Benny Agosto Jr., Lupe Salinas, Eloisa Morales Arteaga, The Scarlet I, 47-
APR Trial 40 (April 2011) (reviewing cases prohibiting disclosure of immigration status at trial).
       41
           See generally Fed. R. Civ. P. 42(b) (“[T]o avoid prejudice . . . the court may order a
separate trial of one or more separate issues [or] claims . . . .”). See, e.g., Rivera, supra note 12,
at 1062 (involving a situation where the plaintiff employees proposed to bifurcate trial into
liability and damages phases in order to resolve an impasse over discovery of the employees’
immigration status); Yu G. Ke v. Saigon Grill, Inc., 595 F. Supp. 2d 240, 264 (S.D.N.Y. 2008)
(reaching only the question of liability and not the issue of a damages award in FLSA
proceedings because trial was bifurcated between liability and damages).
       42
           See, e.g., Villasenor v. Martinez, 991 So.2d 433 (Fla. App. 2008) (trial court permitted
plaintiff’s unauthorized status to be addressed on voir dire after it denied plaintiff’s motion in
limine to exclude evidence of her status). See also Joel E. Smith, Religious belief, affiliation, or
prejudice of prospective juror as proper subject of inquiry or ground for challenge on voir dire,
95 A.L.R.3d 172.
       43
          See Madeira v. Affordable Housing Foundation, Inc., 469 F.3d 219, 225 (2d Cir. 2006)
(court instructed a jury in a bifurcated trial that while it could not consider evidence of plaintiff’s
undocumented status in the liability phase of trial, it could consider the evidence in awarding
compensatory damages for lost wages during the damages phase of trial, and offering sample
modified jury instruction on damages).

								
To top