United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
memorandum opinion and order was filed under seal on June 23,
2017 and is now being unsealed and filed as a public
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
A. FITZWATER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action by plaintiffs Marco Eguchi (“Eguchi”) and
Amanda Eguchi against defendants John F. Kelly, Donald
Neufeld, James McCament, and Mark Hazuda (collectively,
“CIS”),  Eguchi challenges a decision of U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services (“CIS”)
denying his Petition for Alien Worker (I-140) as an alien of
extraordinary ability. Concluding on the parties'
cross-motions for summary judgment that CIS's decision
was arbitrary or capricious, the court grants Eguchi's
motion, denies CIS's motion, and remands this matter to
CIS for further proceedings consistent with this memorandum
opinion and order.
is a Brazilian citizen and professional bull
rider. Since 2012 Eguchi has competed full-time
in the United States with Professional Bull Riders
(“PBR”), the world's premier bull riding
association. In 2015 Eguchi filed with CIS a Form I-140
Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker and a Form I-485
Application to Adjust Status, seeking relief on the basis
that he qualifies as an alien of extraordinary ability who
warrants preferential treatment in visa issuance. CIS later
issued a Request for Evidence (“RFE”) seeking
additional evidence to support Eguchi's petition, with
which Eguchi complied, and denied his petition. Eguchi
appealed to the Administrative Appeals Office, which upheld
the denial of his petition.
now brings this action challenging CIS's decision. The
parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment,
presenting the question whether Eguchi has established that
CIS's decision was arbitrary, capricious, or not
otherwise in accordance with law.
summary judgment movant will not have the burden of proof on
a claim, it can obtain summary judgment by pointing the court
to the absence of evidence on any essential element of the
nonmovant's claim. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). Once it does so, the nonmovant must
go beyond his pleadings and designate specific facts
demonstrating that there is a genuine issue for trial.
See Id. at 324; Little v. Liquid Air Corp.,
37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994) (en banc) (per curiam). An
issue is genuine if the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmovant. Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The
nonmovant's failure to produce proof as to any essential
element renders all other facts immaterial. See TruGreen
Landcare, L.L.C. v. Scott, 512 F.Supp.2d 613, 623 (N.D.
Tex. 2007) (Fitzwater, J.). Summary judgment is mandatory
where the nonmovant fails to meet this burden.
Little, 37 F.3d at 1076.
entitled to summary judgment on a claim on which the moving
party will have the burden of proof, the party “must
establish ‘beyond peradventure all of the essential
elements of the claim[.]'” Bank One, Tex., N.A.
v. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 878 F.Supp. 943, 962
(N.D. Tex. 1995) (Fitzwater, J.) (quoting Fontenot v.
Upjohn Co., 780 F.2d 1190, 1194 (5th Cir. 1986)). This
means that the moving party must demonstrate that there are
no genuine and material fact disputes and that the moving
party is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law.
See Martin v. Alamo Cmty. Coll. Dist., 353 F.3d 409,
412 (5th Cir. 2003). “The court has noted that the
‘beyond peradventure' standard is
‘heavy.'” Carolina Cas. Ins. Co. v.
Sowell, 603 F.Supp.2d 914, 923-24 (N.D. Tex. 2009)
(Fitzwater, C.J.) (quoting Cont'l Cas. Co. v. St.
Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 2007 WL 2403656, at *10
(N.D. Tex. Aug. 23, 2007) (Fitzwater, J.)).
contends that, as a matter of law, CIS's denial of his
I-140 petition was arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not in
accordance with the law.
court reviews CIS decisions under § 706(2)(A) of the
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A).
“An agency decision can be overturned only if a
plaintiff can demonstrate that the decision was
‘arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or
otherwise not in accordance with law.'” Hassani
v. Napolitano, 2009 WL 2044596, at *2 (N.D. Tex. July
15, 2009) (Fitzwater, C.J.) (quoting Boi Na Braza
Atlanta, LLC v. Upchurch, 2005 WL 2372846, at *5 (N.D.
Tex. Sept. 27, 2005) (Lindsay, J.) (quoting §
706(2)(A))). “A decision is arbitrary or capricious
only when it is so implausible that it could not be ascribed
to a difference in view or the product of agency
expertise.” Wilson v. U.S. Dep't of
Agric., 991 F.2d 1211, 1215 (5th Cir. 1993) (internal
quotation marks omitted). “A decision is not arbitrary
or capricious if the agency considers the relevant factors
and ‘articulates a rational relationship between the
facts found and the choice made.'” Willingham
v. Dep't of Labor, 475 F.Supp.2d, 607, 612 (N.D.
Tex. 2007) (Robinson, J.) (quoting Louisiana ex rel.
Guste v. Verity, 853 F.2d 322, 327 (5th Cir. 1988)).
Although the court must ensure that CIS engaged in
“reasoned decisionmaking” in denying his
petition, CIS “is entitled to considerable deference in
its interpretation of the governing statute.” Boi
Na Braza Atlanta, 2005 WL 2372846, at *2 (quoting
Nat'l Hand Tool Corp. v. Pasquarell, 889 F.2d
1472, 1475 (5th Cir. 1989)). “A reviewing court is not
to substitute its judgment for that of the agency, and the
court is to show proper deference to agency expertise.”
Chi-Feng Chang v. Thornburgh, 719 F.Supp. 532, 535
(N.D. Tex. 1989) (Fitzwater, J.). “Even if statutory or
regulatory language is ambiguous, deference is usually given
to the agency's interpretation.” Defensor v.
Meissner, 201 F.3d 384, 386 (5th Cir. 2000). Eguchi thus
faces a high hurdle in attempting to establish that CIS's
denial was arbitrary or capricious.
Immigration and Nationality Act requires that CIS give
priority to employment-based visas to certain classes of
immigrants, including those with “extraordinary
ability.” 8 ...