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Luis R. Morales v. Eric H. Holder

February 28, 2012

LUIS R. MORALES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ERIC H. HOLDER, JR., ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, DEFENDANT.



APPEARANCES: OF COUNSEL: LUIS R. MORALES, 95-A-3747 Plaintiff, Pro Se Woodbourne Correctional Facility 99 Prison Road, Box 1000 Woodbourne, NY 12788-1000 UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE JACOB M. WEINTRAUB, ESQ. Counsel for Defendant Senior Litigation Counsel Ben Franklin Station P.O. Box 868 Washington, D.C. 20044

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Glenn T. Suddaby, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION and ORDER

Currently before the Court, in this immigration action filed by Luis R. Morales ("Plaintiff") against Eric H. Holder, Jr. ("Defendant"), are Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) and/or 12(b)(6), and Plaintiff's cross-motion for leave to file an Amended or Supplemental Complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a). (Dkt. Nos. 17, 18.) For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion is granted, and Plaintiff's cross-motion is denied.

I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

In their motion papers, the parties have generally demonstrated an adequate understanding of the claims and factual allegations asserted in Plaintiff's Complaint, the arguments asserted for and against Defendant's motion, and the legal standards governing those claims and arguments. (Dkt. Nos. 17-19.) *fn1 As a result, the Court will not recite that information with specificity in this Decision and Order, which is intended primarily for the review of the parties.

Rather, the Court will note only as follows. Generally, Plaintiff's Complaint seeks (1) a judgment declaring as unconstitutional some or all of Section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, 8 U.S.C. § 1401(a) (1952), and (2) an injunction directing the United States Congress to "redesign [Section 301] in a manner that comports with the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 5 th and 14 th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution . . . ." (Dkt. No. 1.)

In addition, generally, Defendant asserts the following three arguments in support of his request for the dismissal of Plaintiff's Complaint: (1) Plaintiff's Complaint must be dismissed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1), because it is barred by the doctrine of res judicata ; (2) in the alternative, Plaintiff's Complaint must be dismissed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1), because it is barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity; and (3) in the alternative, Plaintiff's Complaint must be dismissed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), because it seeks relief that the Court cannot grant and, in any event, is moot due to Congress's amendment of 8 U.S.C. § 1401 in 1986. (Dkt. No. 17.)

Finally, generally, in his response to Defendant's motion, in addition to opposing (and sometimes conceding) Defendant's arguments, Plaintiff states, "If Plaintiff raises or addresses an issue which the moving party is not addressing, Plaintiff respectfully asks the Court to please treat and accept the issue as either a cross-motion or as a motion to amend or supplement the original complaint." (Dkt. No. 18, Attach. 1, at 2.)

II. ANALYSIS

A. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss

Even after construing Plaintiff's Complaint with the utmost of special liberality, and carefully scrutinizing Defendant's arguments for dismissal (and Plaintiff's arguments against dismissal), the Court concludes that Plaintiff's Complaint must be dismissed for each of the three alternative reasons offered by Defendant in his memorandum of law: (1) Plaintiff's Complaint is barred by the doctrine of res judicata ; (2) Plaintiff's Complaint is barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity; and (3) Plaintiff's Complaint seeks relief that the Court cannot grant and, in any event, is moot due to Congress's amendment of 8 U.S.C. § 1401 in 1986. (Dkt. No. 17.)

The Court would add only five brief points. First, for the sake of brevity, the Court will assume that Plaintiff's "third party complaint" submitted "on behalf of his deceased . . . father" is not subject to dismissal based on either mootness or a lack of standing-although that fact is far from clear.

Second, although Defendant characterizes the doctrine of res judicata as warranting dismissal under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) under the circumstances, the Court finds that the doctrine warrants dismissal under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) under the circumstances. *fn2 The Court notes that, not only does Plaintiff's Complaint reference and attach a copy of the Second Circuit's Order in Morales v. Holder , No. 06-2599, 2009 WL 3645321 (2d Cir. Nov. 3, 2009), but the Court may take judicial notice of that Order under the circumstances. *fn3 Indeed, Plaintiff himself expressly asks the Court to consider this document on Defendant's motion. (Dkt. No. 18, Attach. 1, at 21.)

Third, in addition to the case cited by Defendant for the point of law that the doctrine of res judicata bars a party from relitigating issues that were or could have been raised in the prior action, the Court relies on several other cases. See Nemaizer v. Baker, 793 F.2d 58, 60 (2d Cir. 1986) ("[A dismissal with prejudice] constitutes a final judgment with the preclusive effect of res judicata not only as to all matters litigated and decided by it, but as to all relevant issues which could have been but were not raised and litigated in the suit.") (internal quotation marks omitted); Tucker v. Arthur Andersen & Co. , 646 F.2d 721, 726-27 (2d Cir. 1981) (" Res judicata prevents the subsequent ...

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