Ron DeSantis wants Martha’s Vineyard migrant lawsuit dismissed

Ron DeSantis covers his face with his hand.

FILE – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis listens to a question during a news conference September 7, 2022 in Miami, Florida. The Republican governors of Florida and Texas have been taking migrants on planes and buses to Washington, DC, New York City and even Martha’s Vineyard, but they may be just getting started. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, file)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says the lawsuit against him and state officials and contractors over the so-called “migrant flights” to Martha’s Vineyard is nothing more than a “shotgun plea” and should be dismissed.

DeSantis, a Republican, had arranged for dozens of Venezuelan migrants to travel from Texas, where they entered the United States, to Martha’s Vineyard, a largely liberal island enclave in Massachusetts. According to plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit, a Texas woman named Perla Huerta lured the migrants into boarding the flights without telling them where they were going, promising items such as shoes, gift cards and free housing, as well as access to jobs and legal assistance during landing.

A nationwide class-action lawsuit on behalf of some migrants was filed days later by the Massachusetts advocacy group Alianza Americas, shortly after the Texas Bexar County Sheriff’s Office announced an investigation into the transportation. In addition to DeSantis, the lawsuit named Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Secretary Huerta, Jared W. Purdue, Florida Public Safety Czar Lawrence Keefe, DeSantis Chief of Staff James Uthmeier, and charter airline Vertol Systems as defendants .

in one request for dismissal DeSantis, filed Tuesday, says the complaint is a “shotgun plea,” a type of filing that judges have called “abusive” and “drafted to advance a political narrative” and a “waste of court resources.”

“Shotgun pleading is prohibited,” the filing states, arguing that the complaint does not specify when an individual is being sued in their official capacity and does not articulate whether plaintiffs are seeking “monetary or equitable” relief for each claim.

The filing also states that the case should have been filed in Florida.

“To the extent that there are allegations of wrongdoing by state defendants, the alleged acts all took place in Texas or Florida and not ‘in this Commonwealth,'” the filing reads (quotations omitted). “The alleged fraudulent statements were made in Texas, and the alleged discrimination is either the policy itself, which was instituted in Florida, or the selection of migrants, which took place in Texas […] Any ‘contact’ by state defendants with Massachusetts would have been the last step, not the first.”

The motion also states that continuing the case in Massachusetts would also relieve state officials of “official state duties” and create unnecessary costs for Florida taxpayers. Ron DeSantis wants Martha’s Vineyard migrant lawsuit dismissed

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