International and Constitutional Law: Representation of Government of Mexico Seeking Parens Patriae Standing

Verrill attorneys represented the Government of Mexico in this high-profile appeal involving civil rights claims by over 1,000 Mexican migrant workers at an egg production farm in Maine. Mexico sought parens patriae status, specifically the right to assert as a plaintiff a quasi-sovereign interest in the general health and well-being of and the protection against discrimination against of workers of Mexican descent employed by the defendants. The First Circuit Court of Appeals, after spirited briefing and argument surrounding federalism concerns and international law, noted that Mexico’s arguments were not insignificant, but that without clear direction from the Executive or Congressional branches, it must affirm the dismissal of Mexico. The Court of Appeals decision is Estados Unidos Mexicanos v. DeCoster, 229 F.3d 332, 334 (1st Cir. 2000). The matter proceeded, however, to a landmark settlement on behalf of the class of Mexican and other Hispanic workers.