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Adab v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

United States District Court, C.D. California

March 23, 2015

MARZIEH ADAB, ET AL
v.
UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES, ET AL

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

CHRISTINA A. SNYDER, District Judge.

Proceedings: PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO CERTIFY INTERLOCUTORY APPEAL (Dkt. No. 26, filed February 17, 2015)

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs Marzieh Adab, Ian Bowles, Bei Guo, Mohammad Saeid Khorram, David Lawler, and Jing Zhang filed this action on June 16, 2014. Dkt. No. 1. ("Compl."). Plaintiffs assert claims against the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"); Jeh Johnson, Secretary, U.S. Dept. Of Homeland Security; Nicholas Colucci, Chief, Immigrant Investor Program, USCIS; and Lori Scialabba, Acting Director, USCIS. Id . The gravamen of plaintiffs' complaint is that defendants acted arbitrarily and capriciously, and violated plaintiffs' due process rights, in rejecting plaintiffs' petitions for conditional legal residents status as alien entrepreneurs.

On October 20, 2014, defendants filed a motion to transfer this action to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Dkt. No. 20. Plaintiff filed an opposition on January 5, 2015, Dkt. No. 21, and defendants replied on January 12, 2015, Dkt. No. 22. The Court heard oral argument on that motion on January 26, 2015, and granted the motion to transfer on February 9, 2015. Dkt. No. 25.

On February 17, 2015, plaintiffs filed a motion to certify the transfer order for interlocutory appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). Dkt. No. 26. Defendants filed an opposition on March 2, 2015, and plaintiffs replied on March 9, 2015. Dkt. Nos. 27, 28. On March 23, 2015, the Court held a hearing. As set forth below, the Court concludes that it lacks jurisdiction over the instant motion, and that even if the Court had jurisdiction, it would not certify an interlocutory appeal.

II. SUMMARY OF THE COURT'S TRANSFER ORDER

The Court's February 9, 2015 order on defendants' motion to transfer first set forth factual background taken from the allegations of the complaint. Plaintiffs are non-resident aliens who applied for immigrant investor "EB-5" visas under a pilot program established to encourage investors to pool their capital through "regional centers." All plaintiffs applied for EB-5 visas, and were denied those visas by defendant USCIS. Plaintiffs' petitions were submitted to the USCIS California Service Center ("CSC") in Laguna Nigel, California, and involved investments in Riverside County, California. Two of plaintiffs' petitions were rejected by the California Service Center; four petitions were rejected by the USCIS Immigrant Investor Program Office ("IPO") located in Washington, D.C. Dkt. No. 25 at 2-3.

Defendants argued alternatively that (1) venue was improper in the Central District of California under 28 U.S.C. § 1406, and (2) transfer to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia was appropriate under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The Court rejected defendants' first argument, finding that venue was proper in this judicial district because some of the adjudication of plaintiffs' petitions took place in the Central District of California, and the investments at issue were directed at Riverside County, California, which is located in this district. Id. at 5-7.

The Court then accepted defendants' argument that transfer was nevertheless appropriate under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). In reaching this conclusion, the Court looked to "(1) the plaintiff's choice of forum; (2) the interests of justice; (3) the convenience of the witnesses; and (4) the convenience of the parties." Id. at 8 (citing Los Angeles Mem'l Coliseum Comm'n v. NFL, 89 F.R.D. 497, 499 (C.D. Cal. 1981)).

On the first factor, the Court found that plaintiffs' choice of forum was entitled to "minimal deference" because no plaintiff resides in the Central District of California, or indeed, in the United States, because plaintiffs had filed a putative class action, and because "many of the relevant events and omissions occurred in the District of Columbia." Id. at 9.

On the second factor, the interests of justice, the Court laid out the following factors for consideration:

(1) the location where relevant agreements (if any) were negotiated and executed, (2) the state that is most familiar with the governing law, (3) the plaintiff's choice of forum, (4) the respective parties' contacts with the forum, (5) the contacts relating to the plaintiff's cause of action in the chosen forum, (6) the differences in the costs of litigation in the two forums, (7) the availability of compulsory process to compel attendance of unwilling non-party witnesses, and (8) the ease of access to sources of proof. Stewart Org. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 29-30 (1988); Jones v. GNC Franchising, Inc., 211 F.3d 495, 498-99 (9th Cir. 2000). Other factors that can be considered are: the ...

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