The opinion of the court was delivered by: STANLEY SPORKIN
The issue before the Court is whether Plaintiffs are required to return to Defendants interim attorneys' fees and costs in the amount of $ 122,440.31 awarded in 1989, plus interest, in light of the mandate and decision of the Court of Appeals in Ayuda, Inc. v. Reno, 303 U.S. App. D.C. 374, 7 F.3d 246 (D.C. Cir. 1993).
The original complaint in this action was filed on March 8, 1988, on behalf of four immigrant rights organizations
and five individual nonimmigrant aliens. The complaint challenged an INS regulation - the "known to the Government" regulation of former 8 C.F.R. § 245a.1(d). The Court issued a series of orders and supplemental orders with respect to the interpretation of the regulation and the course of action to be taken in light of the Court's interpretation.
In addition, the Court awarded interim attorneys' fees and costs in the amount of $ 122.440.31 to Plaintiffs.
Both the Plaintiffs and the Defendants sought further review of various orders and opinions and the Court of Appeals consolidated the three appeals which were filed. The Court of Appeals issued two decisions which were vacated and remanded by the Supreme Court.
The mandate of the Court of Appeals' final decision, Ayuda, Inc. v. Reno, 303 U.S. App. D.C. 374, 7 F.3d 246 at 249 (D.C. Cir. 1993), was issued on February 25, 1994 and on October 3, 1994, the Supreme Court denied the Plaintiffs' petition for certiorari, 115 S. Ct. 70, 130 L. Ed. 2d 26 (1994). At the end of the appellate litigation, the Court of Appeals held that "the district court lacked [subject matter] jurisdiction to issue Supplemental Order V and to order the INS to grant work authorization to aliens who failed to file applications before the May 4, 1988 deadline." Ayuda at 251. It is the Defendants' position that since the Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the Plaintiffs' action, the Defendants are entitled to a return of the attorneys' fees and costs paid to Plaintiffs.
The threshold question is whether this Court has jurisdiction to entertain Defendants' motion for the return of attorneys' fees and costs. The starting point for determining whether this Court has jurisdiction is the mandate of the Court of Appeals. Pursuant to Rule 41(a) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, a mandate consists of "[a] certified copy of the judgment and a copy of the opinion of the court, if any, and any direction as to costs . . ." Fed. R. App. P. 41(a).
These causes came on to be heard on the record on appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia after remand from the Supreme Court and were argued by counsel. On consideration thereof, it is
ORDERED and ADJUDGED, by the Court, that the orders of the District Court appealed from in these causes are hereby vacated in accordance with the Opinion for the Court filed herein this date.
Ayuda v. Reno, Judgment dated October 26, 1993. The opinion held, in relevant part, as follows:
For the foregoing reasons, we reiterate that the district court lacked jurisdiction to issue Supplemental Order V and to order the INS to grant work authorization to aliens who failed to file applications before the ...