MINNEAPOLIS PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY  
attorney Michael E. Douglas Attorney at Law
  Personal Injury Attorney
  St. Paul Workers Compensation Lawyer work comp attorney
 > About Me
   :: My Commitment
   :: Our Community
   
 > Legal Practice Areas
  twin cities comsumer lawPersonal Injury
   :: Traffic Accidents
   :: Medical Malpractice
   :: Social Security Disability
   :: Premises Liability
   :: Wrongful Death
   :: Dog Bite
   :: Back/Spinal/Neck Injuries
   :: Whiplash
   :: Defective Medical Devices
   :: Defective Drugs
  Minnesota Personal InjuryWorkers Compensation
  St. Paul personal injuryConsumer Law
   :: Debt Collection
   :: Repossessions
   :: Foreclosures
   :: Loan, Credit, Banking
   :: Arbitration Agreements
   :: Deception and Fraud
   :: Auto Fraud / Lemon Law
   :: Warranties
   :: Predatory Lending
   
 > Contact Us
   :: Contact Us
 

Law Offices of Michael E. Douglas
P.O. Box 251551
Woodbury, Minnesota 55125-6551
   

 Saint Paul Lawyer
 
 mdouglas@injurylawtwincities.com

 

Sawad v. Frazier: US District Court : IMMIGRATION - United States Citizenship and Immigration Services adjudication independent of court order; plaintiffs not prevailing parties

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
Civil No. 07-1721(DSD/JJG)
Talib Sawad and
Shahlaa Ali,
Plaintiffs,
v. ORDER
Denise Frazier, District
Director U.S. Citizenship and
Immigration Services, Bloomington,
MN, Emilio Gonzalez, Director
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
Services, Washington, D.C.,
Robert Mueller, Director Federal
Bureau of Investigation,
Washington, D.C.,
Defendants.
This matter is before the court on plaintiffs motion for
attorneys fees and costs. Based upon a review of the file, record
and proceedings herein, and for the reasons stated, the court
denies plaintiffs motion.
BACKGROUND
Plaintiff Shahlaa Ali filed an I-485 application for
adjustment of status to lawful permanent residency with the United
States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on March 1,
2004. Plaintiff Talib Al Sawad filed a similar application on
December 27, 2004. As of March 30, 2007, USCIS had not adjudicated
plaintiffs applications. As a result, plaintiffs filed this
2
action asking the court to compel defendants to complete the
required background checks and security clearances and to
adjudicate [p]laintiffs applications for adjustment of status to
legal permanent residency. (Compl. 21.)
On July 24, 2007, defendants moved to dismiss plaintiffs
complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to
state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The court denied
defendants motion on October 9, 2007, holding that plaintiffs had
a right to adjudication of their applications within a reasonable
time. (Dismiss Order at 10.) The court, however, concluded that
it lacked the information necessary to determine whether
defendants delay had been reasonable and ordered defendants to
produce evidence relevant to reasonableness within 60 days. (Id.
at 12-13.) The court further ordered defendants to move for
summary judgment on the reasonableness issue within 15 days
thereafter. (Id. at 13.)
Defendants submitted the evidence required by the October 9
order on December 17, 2007, and moved for summary judgment on
January 2, 2008. On January 23, 2008, USCIS denied Al Sawads
application to adjust his status, and on or around February 27,
2008, USCIS approved Alis application. The court thus granted
defendants motion for summary judgment on April 23, 2008, and
3
dismissed the action as moot. Plaintiffs now seek attorneys fees
and costs pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA).
See 28 U.S.C. 2412(d).
DISCUSSION
The EAJA directs courts to award fees and other expenses to
prevailing parties unless the United States position was
substantially justified or special circumstances would make an
award unjust. Yarbrough v. Cuomo, 209 F.3d 700, 703 (8th Cir.
2000). A prevailing party is one who obtains a judicially
sanctioned material alteration of the legal relationship of the
parties to the lawsuit. N. Cheyenne Tribe v. Jackson, 433 F.3d
1083, 1085 (8th Cir. 2006) (citing Buckhannon Bd. & Care Home, Inc.
v. W. Va. Dept of Health & Human Res., 532 U.S. 598, 604-05
(2001)). In other words, a plaintiff must obtain relief that
modifies a defendants behavior in a way that directly benefits
the plaintiff. John T. v. Iowa Dept of Educ., 258 F.3d 860,
863-64 (8th Cir. 2001) (quoting Farrar v. Hobby, 506 U.S. 103, 111-
12 (1992)).
In this case, the October 9 order denied the governments
motion and required the production of evidence permitting the court
to assess the reasonableness of the delay in processing plaintiffs
applications. The order did not alter the legal relationship
between the parties by requiring the government to adjudicate
4
plaintiffs applications within a prescribed time period. Instead,
USCIS adjudicated plaintiffs applications independent of a court
order requiring such action. Cf. Liu v. Chertoff, 538 F. Supp. 2d
1116, 1121-22 (D. Minn. 2008) (plaintiff prevailing party where
court ordered adjudication of application within specific time
frame); Aarda v. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Servs., Civ. No.
06-1561, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29116, at *10-14 (D. Minn. April 8,
2008) (same); Haidari v. Frazier, Civ. No. 06-3215, 2007 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 97211, at *9-10 (D. Minn. May 10, 2007) (same). Therefore,
the court determines that plaintiffs were not prevailing parties
for purposes of the EAJA.
CONCLUSION
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs motion for
attorneys fees and costs [Doc. No. 40] is denied.
Dated: October 6, 2008
s/David S. Doty
David S. Doty, Judge
United States District Court
 

 
 
 

  What day were you injured?

  / /


  What caused your injuries?
Traffic/Bicycle Accident
Work-Related Injury
Wrongful Death
Dog Bite
Slip and Fall
Other:


  How have your injuries affected

  your life?

 


  What kinds of medical care
  professionals have you seen?

 


  What has your treatment cost?

 

  Is Insurance Involved?
My insurance may cover
        this.

Someone else's insurance
        may cover this.

I already filed a claim.
I rejected a settlement
        offer.

I accepted a settlement
        offer.

  Were there any witnesses?
Bystanders Witnessed This.
Police Responded and Filed
        a Police Report

Police Responded but Did
        Not File a Police Report


 

 

          By visiting this page or clicking the
  "submit" button above, you agree
  that you have read and accept this   "disclaimer".
 
Copyright © Michael E. Douglas, Attorney at Law, Saint Paul MN. All Rights Reserved.
Minnesota Law Firm representing Personal Injury, Car / Auto Accident, Workers Compensation, Medical Malpractice, Social Security Disability claims.
Dedicated to Injured Workers, Victims of Negligence, Car Accidents, Victims of Fraud, and those in need of legal assistance.