The ACLU of Pennsylvania filed a federal lawsuit on October 20, 2011, on behalf of nine Mexican lawn service workers who were falsely arrested and detained for hours while shopping at the Galleria mall in Tarentum (Allegheny County) last October. It is believed that Frazer Township Police officers, working with J.C. Penney employees, arrested the men because some Mexican men had distributed counterfeit money in a neighboring county.

A settlement in the case was announced on September 12, 2012. Under the settlement, the police department denied any liability or wrongdoing but the township's insurance carrier agreed to pay the men a total of $27,000 divided among them to resolve the dispute. The settlement amount was agreed upon by the parties to avoid the cost of litigation given the number of plaintiffs. Plaintiffs reached a separate monetary settlement with J.C. Penney.

Press Releases


Sara Rose & Witold Walczak (ACLU-PA); Jacqueline B. Martinez (JBM Legal, LLC); and Diane Ryan Katz

Date filed

October 20, 2011


U.S. District Court, Western District for Pennsylvania