United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
ALAN BURNS, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Rubia Mabel Morales-Alfaro, who is represented by counsel,
filed a complaint against the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security, various federal officers in their official
capacities, and CoreCivic, sued as the Corrections
Corporation of America, Inc.
a Salvadoran national who is currently in the U.S. on
immigration bond, brings claims arising from conditions of
confinement at the Otay Mesa ICE Detention Center. She was
pregnant when she applied for asylum, and suffered a
miscarriage while in custody. The complaint identifies
diversity as the basis of jurisdiction, alleging that
Defendants are citizens of the District of Columbia,
Maryland, and Tennessee and that Morales-Alfaro currently
resides in Arkansas.
brings claims against all Defendants based on violations of
the U.S. Constitution's Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments
(claims one and two), and against CoreCivic based on various
theories of negligence under California law (Claims three,
four, and five). She seeks compensatory and punitive damages,
as well as unspecified injunctive and equitable relief.
Court is inquired to confirm its own jurisdiction, sua
sponte if necessary, whenever a doubt arises. Mt.
Healthy City School Dist. Bd. of Ed. v. Doyle, 429 U.S.
274, 278 (1977). As the party invoking the Court's
jurisdiction, Morales-Alfaro bears the burden of establishing
it. See Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better
Env't, 523 U.S. 83, 103-04 (1998). Among other
things, she is required to include in her complaint a
“short and plain statement of the grounds for the
court's jurisdiction . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a).
jurisdiction is impossible here, in part because diversity
jurisdiction does not lie against federal agencies, which are
not citizens of any state. See Hancock Fin. Corp. v. Fed.
Sav. & Loan Ins. Corp., 492 F.2d 1325, 1329 (9th
a waiver, the United States and its agencies enjoy sovereign
immunity from suit. Loeffler v. Frank, 486 U.S. 549,
554 (1988). The same is true of federal officers sued in
their official capacities. Nurse v. United States,
226 F.2d 996, 1004 (9th Cir. 2000). Sovereign immunity is
jurisdictional, and the government's consent to being
sued is a prerequisite for jusidiction. United States v.
Mitchell, 463 U.S. 206, 212 (1983). Because the
complaint does not allege waiver of sovereign immunity for
the Department of Homeland Security or any of the officers -
all of whom are sued in their official capacities - the
complaint fails to establish subject matter jurisdiction over
any claims against them.
Morales-Alfaro seeks injunctive relief, she has not pled
facts reasonably suggesting she has standing to do so.
See Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555,
561 (1992). She had already been released on bond when she
filed this action, and has not alleged facts she is
reasonably likely to be returned to a detention center at
all, much less one operated by CoreCivic. See City of Los
Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 111 (1983) (standing
requires showing of “real or immediate threat” of
being subject to challenged practices). Nor has she alleged
she is reasonably likely to be in need of medical care in
such a facility. She has not brought this as a class action,
nor is it clear she could do so. See Dilley v. Gunn,
64 F.3d 1365, 1368 (9th Cir. 1995) (holding that a
prisoner's release from custody generally moots claim for
injunctive relief based on prison conditions, unless a class
action has been certified); Lierboe v. State Farm Mut.
Auto Ins. Co., 350 F.3d 1018, 1022-23 (holding that
class representatives must have standing to bring all claims
by the putative class they purport to represent).
Court might have jurisdiction over claims against CoreCivic,
although the complaint fails to articulate a comprehensible
theory of liability against it. While the Court is not
conducting a screening, Morales-Alfaro should consider these
issues if she amends her complaint.
was allegedly acting on behalf of the federal government, not
under color of state law. The complaint does not clearly
explain whether it CoreCivic being sued as a federal actor or
as a private corporation, or under what theory it would be
liable. According to the complaint, the claims arise under
both the U.S. and California ...