United States District Court, District of Columbia
ALBINA I. DVORAK, et al., Plaintiff,
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
L. FRIEDRICH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
August 18, 2018, the plaintiffs filed this action requesting
that the Court “issue a writ of mandamus compelling
Defendants to adjudicate the [plaintiffs'] long-delayed
sibling visa applications.” Compl. at 3, Dkt. 1. On
February 28, 2019, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, Dkt. 8. In their motion, the defendants argued
that the plaintiffs' requests for relief had become moot
because the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had acted
on the plaintiffs' visa applications. In support, they
attached a sworn declaration and copies of the
Department's decisions. See Keys Decl.
¶¶ 5-6, Dkt. 8-2; see also Keys Decl. Exs.
A-D, Dkt. 8-2. As of April 3, 2019, the plaintiffs have not
filed any opposition or other response to the defendants'
motion to dismiss.
Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a
party may move to dismiss an action or claim when the court
lacks subject-matter jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). A
motion for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(1) “presents a
threshold challenge to the court's jurisdiction.”
Haase v. Sessions, 835 F.2d 902, 906 (D.C. Cir.
1987). Federal district courts are courts of limited
jurisdiction, and it is “presumed that a cause lies
outside this limited jurisdiction.” Kokkonen v.
Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Thus,
“the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing
jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence.”
Moran v. U.S. Capitol Police Bd., 820 F.Supp.2d 48,
53 (D.D.C. 2011) (citing Lujan v. Defs. of Wildlife,
504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992)).
ruling on a Rule 12(b)(1) motion, the court must treat the
plaintiff's factual allegations as true and afford the
plaintiff the benefit of all inferences that can be derived
from the facts alleged.” Jeong Seon Han v.
Lynch, 223 F.Supp.3d 95, 103 (D.D.C. 2016) (internal
quotation marks omitted). Those factual allegations, however,
receive “closer scrutiny” than they would if the
court were considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion for failure to
state a claim. Id. Also, unlike in the Rule 12(b)(6)
context, a court may consider documents outside the pleadings
to evaluate whether it has jurisdiction. See Jerome
Stevens Pharm., Inc. v. FDA, 402 F.3d 1249, 1253 (D.C.
Cir. 2005). If, at any point, the court determines that it
lacks jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the claim or
action. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), 12(h)(3).
becomes moot “when the issues presented are no longer
live or the parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the
outcome.” Schmidt v. United States, 749 F.3d
1064, 1068 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (quoting Larsen v. U.S.
Navy, 525 F.3d 1, 3-4 (D.C. Cir. 2008)). This can occur
when “the court can provide no effective remedy because
a party has already obtained all the relief that it has
sought.” Mittleman v. Postal Regulatory
Com'n, 757 F.3d 300, 303 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
case, the defendants' declaration and exhibits establish
that the plaintiffs have received the relief they requested:
final action on their pending visa applications. Although the
plaintiffs further requested that the Court assume
jurisdiction over their applications and order the Department
to issue them visas, that request was also premised on the
Department's failure to act on their applications, which
it has now done.
the Department has already provided the plaintiffs the relief
they requested, their claim is now moot, and the Court lacks
jurisdiction over this action.
addition, this Court's local rules provide that if a
party does not file an opposition to a motion “[w]ithin
14 days of the date of service, ” the court “may
treat the motion as conceded.” Local Civ. R. 7(b).
Because the defendants' motion has been pending for over
one month and the plaintiffs have still not filed any
opposition, they have conceded that the Court lacks
jurisdiction over this action and must dismiss it without
that the defendants' Motion to Dismiss, Dkt. 8, is
that this case is DISMISSED without
Clerk of Court is directed to close this case.