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Mohammadi v. Scharfen

April 7, 2009

ALI MOHAMMADI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JONATHAN SCHARFEN ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina United States District Judge

Document No.: 12

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GRANTING THE DEFENDANTS'CONSENT MOTION TO TRANSFER AND DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE THE DEFENDANTS'MOTION TO DISMISS

I. INTRODUCTION

This case comes before the court on the defendants' consent motion to transfer and motion to dismiss which the plaintiff opposes. The plaintiff, Ali Mohammadi, brings suit against the defendants, Michael Aytes, Acting Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"); Janet Napolitano, Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security ("DHS"); and Robert Mueller, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"),*fn1 seeking to compel USCIS to adjudicate the plaintiff's N-400 application for naturalization. The defendants move to transfer the case to the United States District Court for the District of Maryland ("District of Maryland" or "transferee district"), or in the alternative, to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction. The plaintiff consents to the defendants' motion to transfer. Because the plaintiff could have brought this suit in the District of Maryland, and considerations of convenience and the interest of justice weigh in favor of transferring the action to that district, the court grants the defendants' motion to transfer the case to the District of Maryland.*fn2

II. BACKGROUND

A. Factual History

The plaintiff has been a lawful permanent resident of the United States since November 17, 1983. Compl. ¶ 10 & Ex. 1. On July 20, 2006, he applied for naturalization with USCIS. Compl. ¶ 10 & Ex. 2. He received a receipt notice from USCIS on July 27, 2006, informing him that he would be "notified of the date and place of [his] interview when [he was] scheduled by the local USCIS office" and that he could "expect to be notified within 180 days of this notice." Id. In accordance with this notice, the plaintiff maintains that he should have been scheduled for an interview by January 27, 2007. Id. ¶ 10.

On July 28, 2006, USCIS sent a Fingerprinting Notification to the plaintiff instructing him to appear at the USCIS Application Center in Wheaton, Maryland on August 16, 2006. Compl. ¶ 11 & Ex. 3. The plaintiff complied with this request. Id. Frustrated with the delay in the adjudication of his application for naturalization, the plaintiff enlisted the assistance of Congressman Chris Van Hollen. Compl. ¶ 12. After inquiring into the status of the plaintiff's pending naturalization application, Congressman Van Hollen informed the plaintiff on August 7, 2007 that USCIS had notified him that the plaintiff's application for naturalization was pending the completion of background checks. Id. & Ex. 4.

B. Procedural History

On August 19, 2008, the plaintiff filed a complaint with this court. See Compl. The plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief to compel the defendants to "immediately and forthwith take all appropriate actions to adjudicate" his naturalization application. Id. ¶ 1. When the plaintiff filed his complaint, he had not yet been scheduled for an interview regarding his naturalization application, id.; however, the defendants indicate in their motion to transfer, filed on March 13, 2009, that USCIS notified the plaintiff on January 29, 2009 that he would be interviewed on February 17, 2009, Defs.' Mot. at 3 & Ex. 2. The plaintiff alleges that the defendants have "improperly withheld action and adjudication for over two years." Compl. ¶ 1. The court now addresses the defendants' consent motion to transfer.

III. ANALYSIS

A. Legal Standard for Venue under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e) and Transfer Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a)

When federal jurisdiction is not premised solely on diversity and a defendant is an officer, employee, or agency of the United States, 28 U.S.C. ยง 1391(e) controls venue, establishing that venue is proper in any judicial district in which (1) a defendant in the action resides, (2) a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or a substantial part of property that is the ...


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