United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
JOHN A. ROSS, District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on Respondents' Motion to Dismiss or, In the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment ("Motion"; ECF No. 4). This Court allowed Petitioner to conduct discovery in order to respond to Respondents' Motion. (ECF No. 11). The matter is now fully briefed and ready for disposition.
On August 24, 2009, Petitioner Gideon Wilson's sister, Boma Wilson Orunaboka, a Nigerian citizen with Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR) in the United States at the time, appeared at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") to interview as part of Ms. Orunaboka's naturalization application. (Respondents' Statement of Uncontroverted Material Facts ("RSUMF"), ECF No. 6, ¶ 1). On August 24, 2009, Dwight Holley, a United States Citizen, also appeared at USCIS with Ms. Orunaboka as her alleged spouse. (RSUMF, ¶ 2). Ms. Orunaboka and Mr. Holley were not married at the time of their August 24, 2009 interviews because they had divorced on March 26, 2009. (RSUMF, ¶ 3). During his USCIS interview on August 24, 2009, Mr. Holley confessed verbally and in writing that his marriage to Ms. Orunaboka was a sham undertaken for the fraudulent basis of assisting Ms. Orunaboka to enter the United States so that she could obtain lawful status and U.S. citizenship thereafter. (RSUMF, ¶ 5). During that interview, Mr. Holley wrote that he "worked with Gideon, " that he "was asked to marry Boma, they would pay for a passport, and pay me some cash." (RSUMF, ¶ 6; Petitioner's Statement of Additional Materials Facts in Dispute ("PSUMF"), ECF No. 12, ¶¶ 6, 52). Also, during Mr. Holley's USCIS interview on August 24, 2009, Mr. Holley stated that he married Ms. Orunaboka to assist her in entering the United States and obtaining citizenship. (RSUMF, ¶ 7). Mr. Holley stated that he received $1, 500.00, purportedly in exchange for marrying Petitioner's sister. (RSUMF, ¶ 8). Mr. Holley stated that Petitioner paid for Holley's passport and travel to Nigeria to facilitate Holley's marriage to Petitioner's sister. (RSUMF, ¶ 9).
On July 27, 2012, USCIS conducted Petitioner's first naturalization interview. (RSUMF, ¶ 10). Petitioner's naturalization interview was conducted by Ms. Geraldine Frison, an Immigration Services Officer II for the USCIS. (PSUMF, ¶ 22). During his naturalization interview, Petitioner verbally reiterated his previous written answer that he had not ever helped anyone enter or try to enter the United States illegally. (RSUMF, ¶ 11). Also during Petitioner's naturalization interview, Petitioner orally confirmed his prior written response that he had never given false or misleading information to any United States Government official while applying for any immigration benefit or to prevent deportation, exclusion, or removal. (RSUMF, ¶ 13). Petitioner also orally confirmed his previous written response that he had never committed a crime or offense for which he was not arrested. (RSUMF, ¶ 15).
On September 25, 2012, USCIS conducted a second interview in conjunction with Petitioner's naturalization application. (RSUMF, ¶ 17). During the interview, the USCIS interviewer asked Petitioner about his addresses of residence and the dates he lived at them and with whom. (RSUMF, ¶ 18).
On or around October 1, 2012, USCIS issued its decision denying Petitioner's naturalization application based upon a finding of lack of good moral character. (RSUMF, ¶ 19). On October 30, 2012, Petitioner filed with the USCIS a Form N-336, Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings, which constitutes an administrative appeal of the naturalization denial decision. (RSUMF, ¶ 20). USCIC held a hearing on January 28, 2013. (RSUMF, ¶ 20). On August 5, 2013, USCIS affirmed its October 1, 2012 denial of Petitioner's naturalization application. (RSUMF, ¶ 21).
STANDARDS OF REVIEW
A. Motion to Dismiss
In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must view the allegations in the Complaint liberally in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Eckert v. Titan Tire Corp. , 514 F.3d 801, 806 (8th Cir. 2008) (citing Luney v. SGS Auto Servs. , 432 F.3d 866, 867 (8th Cir. 2005)). Additionally, the Court "must accept the allegations contained in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party." Coons v. Mineta , 410 F.3d 1036, 1039 (8th Cir. 2005) (citation omitted). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007) (abrogating the "no set of facts" standard for Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) found in Conley v. Gibson , 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief "requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555; Huang v. Gateway Hotel Holdings , 520 F.Supp.2d 1137, 1140 (E.D. Mo. 2007).
B. Motion for Summary Judgment
The Court may grant a motion for summary judgment if "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Citrate , 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Torgerson v. City of Rochester , 643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir. 2011). The substantive law determines which facts are critical and which are irrelevant. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome will properly preclude summary judgment. Id . Summary judgment is not proper if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id.
A moving party always bears the burden of informing the Court of the basis of its motion. Celotex Corp. , 477 U.S. at 323. Once the moving party discharges this burden, the nonmoving party must set forth specific facts demonstrating that there is a dispute as to a genuine issue of material fact, not the "mere existence of some alleged factual dispute." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Anderson , 477 U.S. at 248. The nonmoving party may not rest upon mere allegations or denials of his pleading. Anderson , 477 U.S. at 258.
In passing on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor. Celotex Corp. , 477 U.S. at 331. The Court's function is not to weigh the evidence but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson , 477 U.S. at 249. "Credibility determinations, the weighing of the evidence and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge.'" ...