United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MCNULTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff, Oscar Baptiste, was removed from the United States
to Panama based on his conviction of an aggravated felony.
From Panama, he is continuing to litigate this action, which
seeks a seeking a writ of mandamus compelling the United
States Citizenship and Immigration Service
("USCIS") to adjudicate (i.e., grant) his
N-400 application for naturalization as a U.S. citizen. This
matter has been the subject of two prior written opinions in
connection with Mr. Baptiste's motions to stay his
removal. Now before the Court is the motion (DE 14) of the
United States to dismiss the complaint or petition for
mandamus ("Pet.", DE 1) for failure to state a
claim, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
the motion was filed, events have overtaken us. First, the
final order of removal has been executed, and Mr. Baptiste is
litigating this case from Panama. Second, the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Third Circuit has denied his appeal from the
ICE administrative proceedings, in terms that dispose of many
or most of the issues here.
12(b)(6), Fed. R. Civ. P., provides for the dismissal of a
complaint if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted. The defendant, as the moving party, bears the
burden of showing that no claim has been stated. Animal
Science Products, Inc. v. China Minmetals Corp., 654
F.3d 462, 469 n. 9 (3d Cir. 2011). For the purposes of a
motion to dismiss, the facts alleged in the complaint are
accepted as true and all reasonable inferences are drawn in
favor of the plaintiff. New Jersey Carpenters & the
Trustees Thereof v. Tishman Const. Corp. of New Jersey,
760 F.3d 297, 302 (3d Cir. 2014).
Rule of Procedure 8(a) does not require that a complaint
contain detailed factual allegations. Nevertheless, "a
plaintiffs obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his
'entitlement to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do." Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Thus, the
complaint's factual allegations must be sufficient to
raise a plaintiffs right to relief above a speculative level,
so that a claim is "plausible on its face."
Id. at 570; see also West Run Student Housing
Assocs., LLC v. Huntington Nat. Bank, 712 F.3d 165, 169
(3d Cir. 2013). That facial-plausibility standard is met
"when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows
the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant
is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). While "[t]he
plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability
requirement'. . . it asks for more than a sheer
possibility." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
Petition attaches documents, primarily pleadings and
decisions referred to in the body of the Petition itself. A
court considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is confined to the
allegations of the complaint, with narrow exceptions:
"Although phrased in relatively strict terms, we have
declined to interpret this rule narrowly. In deciding motions
under Rule 12(b)(6), courts may consider "document[s]
integral to or explicitly relied upon in the complaint,"
In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d
1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997) (emphasis in original), or any
"undisputedly authentic document that a defendant
attaches as an exhibit to a motion to dismiss if the
plaintiffs claims are based on the document," PBGC
v. White Consol Indus., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir.
In re Asbestos Products Liability Litigation (No.
VI), 822 F.3d 125, 134 n.7 (3d Cir. 2016);see also
Schmidt v. Skolas, 770 F.3d 241, 249 (3d Cir. 2014)
("However, an exception to the general rule is that a
'document integral to or explicitly relied upon in the
complaint' may be considered Nvithout converting the
motion to dismiss into one for summary judgment.' ")
(quoting In re Burlington Coat Factory, 114
F.3d at 1426); Pension Ben. Guar. Corp. v. White
Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir.
to both sides' papers, in addition, are copies of
[O]n a motion to dismiss, we may take judicial notice of
another court's opinion-not for the truth of the facts
recited therein, but for the existence of the opinion, which
is not subject to reasonable dispute over its autiienticity.
See Kramer v. Time Warner Inc., 937 F.2d 767, 774
(2d Cir. 1991); United States v. Wood, 925 F.2d
1580, 1582 (7th Cir. 1991); see also Funk v.
Commissioner, 163 F.2d 796, 800-01 (3d Cir. 1947)
(whether a court may judicially notice other proceedings
depends on what the court is asked to notice and on the
circumstances of the instant case).
S. Cross Overseas Agencies, Inc. v. Wah Kwong Shipping
Grp. Ltd., 181 F.3d 410, 426-27 (3d Cir. 1999). See
generally Fed. R. Evid. 201.
therefore will take into consideration those extrinsic
documents, not for their truth, but to establish the content
of prior relevant decisions and the basis on which they were
Petition, unlike the usual civil complaint, takes the form of
a comprehensive statement of facts and memorandum of law, and
it attaches exhibits documenting the procedural history of
the immigration case and a related state domestic violence
Proceedings before the immigration authorities and in this
petitioner, a native and citizen of Panama, was declared a
lawful permanent resident in 2003. On July 27, 2007, he
submitted an N-400 application for naturalization. On May 24,
2008, he was arrested on a domestic violence charge, and an
order of protection was entered. (See DE 1-5 at pp.
4-11) On July 31, 2008, USCIS denied the N-400 application.
(DE 8-3; DE 1-5 at pp. 13-15)
USCIS decision denying the 2007 N-400 application is attached
to the Petition. (DE 1-5 p. 13) The basis for denial was
doubt about Mr. Baptiste's "good moral
character," see 8 C.F.R. § 316.10(a)(1),
as a result of the order of protection that was then
currently in effect on a pending domestic violence charge.
Mr. Baptiste argues that the matter was not nearly as serious
as it may have appeared; for example, the order did not ban
him from the marital home. Moreover, the USCIS decision
states that the court had "placed" him in a Family
Violence counseling program, whereas in reality Baptiste had
voluntarily enrolled. Nevertheless, it cannot be disputed
that, as stated in the USCIS decision, the order of
protection was entered on June 25, 2008 and was currently in
effect. The order itself, and documentation of the
court's denial of Mr. Baptiste's 2015 application to
retroactively "correct" it, are attached to die
Petition. (DE 1-5 at pp. 4-11)
2008 USCIS decision denying naturalization states that
"[y]ou are unable to establish your good moral character
until all court actions are fully disposed of." (DE 1-5
at pp. 14-15) From the exhibits attached to the Petition, it
is incontestable that the protective order was in effect and
the State court proceedings had not yet been disposed of when
USCIS rendered its decision on July 31, 2008. The notice of
dismissal of the domestic violence charges on the state
docket is dated over five months later, January 8, 2009. (DE
1-5 p.4) Mr. Baptiste also alleges that he received
misleading procedural advice from the immigration officials,
and that they violated deadlines for processing applications.
Baptiste did not, however, appeal the 2008 denial of his 2007
N-400 naturalization application. Instead, when the domestic
violence matter concluded on January 8, ...