United States District Court, District of Columbia
TIMOTHY J. KELLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Mariam Wagdy, a noncitizen, filed the instant lawsuit
alleging violations of the Administrative Procedure Act
(“APA”), 5 U.S.C. § 551 et seq.,
and the Federal Records Act (“FRA”), 44 U.S.C.
§ 2101 et seq., by the following entities and
individuals: (1) the U.S. Department of State (the
“State Department”); (2) the U.S. Coast Guard
(the “USCG”); (3) U.S. Customs and Border
Protection; (4) the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and
(5) the heads of the aforementioned agencies in their
official capacities. ECF No. 2 (“Compl.”)
(collectively, the “Defendants”). The gravamen of
Wagdy's complaint is that Defendants “created and
promulgated false information” about her-namely that
she was tampering with evidence and obstructing justice in a
court-martial proceeding-in order to revoke her visa and deny
her entry into the United States to tesify at that
proceeding. Id. ¶¶ 16-20. Wagdy seeks an
injunction “prohibiting the maintenance of the false
information in any government databases, ” and a
declaration that the information is, in fact, false.
Id. at 13.
the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction or, in the alternative, for
failure to state a claim. ECF No. 22 (“Mot.”).
For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant the
motion, and dismiss the complaint for failure to state a
claim under either the APA or FRA.
a citizen of Egypt and resident of the United Arab Emirates,
is a frequent traveler to the United States. Compl.
¶¶ 6, 11, 14, 15. According to her complaint, on or
about April 23, 2016, an “Agent Huntington” of
the USCG Investigative Services falsely informed the State
Department that she had tampered with evidence and obstructed
justice, in order to prevent her from testifying on behalf of
a defendant in a USCG court-martial proceeding. Id.
¶¶ 16-17. Agent Huntington and the USCG allegedly
persisted in these efforts for the next several months,
leading the State Department to “place certain false
and derogatory information into various government databases,
” which resulted in the revocation of Wagdy's visa
on the eve of the proceeding. Id. ¶¶
August 6, 2016, the military judge presiding over the court
martial found that USCG agents did, in fact, send “at
least some . . . false information” to the State
Department that led to Wagdy's inability to enter the
United States and testify. Id. ¶ 30; ECF No.
23-1 (“Court-Martial Order”) at 4. As a result,
the judge imposed evidentiary penalties on the prosecution.
Court-Martial Order at 5-6. Afterwards, the USCG allegedly
continued to pressure the State Department to ensure that
Wagdy could “never again be eligible to apply for a
visa to the United States.” Compl. ¶ 29.
to the complaint, Wagdy has unsuccessfully reapplied for a
visa four times since the revocation of her visa.
Id. ¶ 32. She attributes the denials of her
applications to the “false and derogatory
information” about her that purportedly still resides
in government databases. Id. ¶ 38. Prior to
each denial, Wagdy asked the U.S. consulate to remove this
information, or at least not consider it in its visa
determination, but she asserts these requests were ignored.
Id. ¶¶ 34-37.
November 1, 2016, Wagdy filed this action against Defendants
for alleged violations of the APA and FRA. ECF No. 1; Compl.
In her complaint, she seeks an injunction “prohibiting
the maintenance of the false information in any government
databases, ” and a declaration that the information is,
in fact, false. Compl. at 13. On March 9, 2017, Defendants
moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction or, in the alternative, for failure to state a
claim. Mot.; Opp.; ECF No. 24 (“Reply”).
Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss tests the legal sufficiency
of a plaintiff's complaint; it does not require a court
to ‘assess the truth of what is asserted or determine
whether a plaintiff has any evidence to back up what is in
the complaint.'” Herron v. Fannie Mae, 861
F.3d 160, 173 (D.C. Cir. 2017) (quoting Browning v.
Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242 (D.C. Cir. 2002)). “In
evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court must construe
the complaint ‘in favor of the plaintiff, who must be
granted the benefit of all inferences that can be derived
from the facts alleged.'” Hettinga v. United
States, 677 F.3d 471, 476 (D.C. Cir. 2012) (quoting
Schuler v. United States, 617 F.2d 605, 608 (D.C.
Cir. 1979)). “But the Court need not accept inferences
drawn by plaintiff if those inferences are not supported by
the facts set out in the complaint, nor must the court accept
legal conclusions cast as factual allegations.”
Id. “To survive a motion to dismiss, a
complaint must have ‘facial plausibility,' meaning
it must ‘plead factual content that allows the court
to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.'” Id.
(alteration in original) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).
Court agrees with Defendants that Wagdy has failed to state a
claim, and will dismiss her complaint on that basis.
FRA Claim (Count II)
Federal Records Act is a collection of statutes governing the
creation, management, and disposal of records by federal
agencies.” Pub. Citizen v. Carlin, 184 F.3d
900, 902 (D.C. Cir. 1999) (citing 44 U.S.C. §§
2101-2118, 2901-2909, 3101-3107, 3301-3324). The FRA was
“enacted to ensure, inter alia: (1)
‘efficient and effective records management'; (2)
‘[a]ccurate and complete documentation of the policies
and transactions of the Federal Government'; and (3)
‘[j]udicious preservation and disposal of
records.'” Citizens for Responsibility &
Ethics in Wash. v. SEC, 858 F.Supp.2d 51, 55 (D.D.C.
2012) (alterations in original) (quoting 44 U.S.C. §
2902). Under the FRA, the head of each agency has a duty to
“make and preserve records containing adequate and
proper documentation of the organization, functions,
policies, decisions, procedures and essential transactions of
the agency . . . .” 44 U.S.C. § 3101. It is well