United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Covington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. Banning United States District Judge.
action combines a habeas corpus petition with a demand for
injunctive relief and a federal Bivens action. For the
reasons below, the Court will grant Defendants Jeff Sessions
and Elaine Dukes' Motion to Dismiss, and sua
sponte dismiss the action against the unnamed and
unidentified federal agents.
Factual and Procedural Background
was born in Honduras on July 28, 1995, and arrived in the
United States as a minor with her mother around April 2004.
(Doc. 12 at ¶ 9). According to Plaintiff, she has
resided in Kentucky since 2016, most recently in Florence,
Kentucky. Id. at ¶¶ 9, 11. Plaintiff
further alleges that she has two minor children who were born
in the United States. Id. at ¶ 10. Plaintiff
alleges that she was approved under the Deferred Action for
Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program in March
2015, and was subsequently renewed for a two-year period in
January 2017. Id. at ¶¶ 13.
alleges that on August 17, 2017, she was unlawfully detained
in Louisville, and thereafter detained at an unknown location
until she was released on August 25, 2017. Id. at
¶¶ 12, 16. Plaintiff also asserts that after she
was released, the United States Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (“ICE”) refused to return all of her
state and federal identification documents. Id. at
Plaintiff's detention, she initially filed petition for a
writ of habeas corpus on August 23, 2017, naming Defendants
Sessions, Dukes, and then-interim U.S. Attorney Carleton
Shier. (Doc. # 1). The next day, Plaintiff filed an amended
petition and a motion to stay. (Docs. # 3 and 4). On August
31, 2017, Plaintiff filed her second amended complaint,
adding as defendants several unnamed and unidentified ICE
agents, and indicating that Defendant Shier was named only
for the purpose of service. (Doc. # 12). In addition to the
original petition for a writ of habeas corpus, this latest
complaint sought an injunction requiring the Defendants to
return her state and federal documentation, and alleged that
Defendants had violated her Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth
Amendment Constitutional rights. Id.
Sessions and Dukes filed a Motion to Dismiss this action on
October 30, 2017. (Doc. # 15). The next day, Plaintiff's
counsel served counsel for Defendants Session and Dukes with
Plaintiff's first request for production of documents and
first set of interrogatories. (Doc. # 16-1). Plaintiff
responded to the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. # 16), and
Defendants Sessions and Dukes replied (Doc. # 17). The Court
having heard oral argument on the Motion on December 21, 2017
(Doc. # 23), this matter is now ripe for decision.
Standard of Review
to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction fall into
two general categories: facial attacks and factual
attacks.” United States v. Ritchie, 15 F.3d
592, 598 (6th Cir. 1994). While factual attacks focus on the
factual existence of subject matter jurisdiction, facial
attacks challenge the sufficiency of the pleadings.
Id. In considering a factual attack, “the
court is free to weigh the evidence and satisfy itself of the
existence of its power to hear the case.” Id.
Because mootness is a “threshold jurisdictional issue,
” WJW-TV, Inc. v. City of Cleveland, 878 F.2d
906, 909 (6th Cir.1989) (citing Speer v. City of
Oregon, 847 F.2d 310, 311 (6th Cir.1988)), the Court
reviews the Defendants' Motion on mootness as a factual
attack. Similarly, because “[s]overeign immunity is
jurisdictional in nature, ” F.D.I.C. v. Meyer,
510 U.S. 471, 475 (1994), the Court reviews Defendants'
Motion on Plaintiff's Bivens claim as a factual
Plaintiff's petition for a writ of habeas corpus is
dismissed as moot.
has stated that “[b]y reason of her release from ICE
detention in 8/25/2017, [she] dismissed this [petition for
writ of habeas corpus] as moot insofar as her detention is
concerned.” (Doc. # 12 at 7). It is undisputed that
Plaintiff is no longer in the custody of the United States.
(Doc. # 12 at 5; Doc. # 15-2 at 4). Thus, Defendants'
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's petition for a writ of
habeas corpus is well-taken.
Plaintiff's request for equitable relief in the return of
her documents is denied as moot.
jurisdiction of the federal courts is limited to resolving
“the legal rights of litigants in actual
controversies.” Genesis Healthcare v. Symczyk,
569 U.S. 66, 71 (2013) (quoting Valley Forge Christian
Coll. v. Ams. United for Separation of Church and State,
Inc., 454 U.S. 464, 471 (1982)). An actual controversy
must exist throughout the litigation, not just when the
complaint is filed; thus, if “an intervening
circumstance deprives the plaintiff of a personal stake in
the outcome of the lawsuit … the action can no longer
proceed and must be dismissed as moot. Id. (quoting
Lewis v. Cont'l Bank Corp., 494 U.S. 472,
477-78) (internal citations omitted). “[A] ‘case
becomes moot only when it is ...