U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has denied a motion to modify or vacate the court’s order that dismissed the amended lawsuit filed by some alien workers and U.S. permanent residents against Department of Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano and other federal officials for the implementation and enforcement of U.S. immigration laws in the CNMI.
In an order last week, Manglona said the plaintiffs have failed so much as to indicate which of the six grounds set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) their motion stands.
Manglona said that although the plaintiffs refer in passing to their attempted voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit and defendants’ notice concerning dismissal, they leave it entirely to the court to construct an argument for relief based on those documents.
“To say that documents outside the motion may contain grounds for a Rule 60 motion is not adequate to articulate those grounds even minimally,” the judge noted.
According to court records, Manglona dismissed the original lawsuit in May 2012 after the plaintiffs’ counsel, Stephen C. Woodruff, moved to dismiss the case. Manglona allowed the plaintiffs to amend their complaint.
In October 2012, Woodruff filed the amended complaint, this time containing 34 plaintiffs instead of just the seven in the original case. More defendants were also added.
Woodruff asked the court to declare, among other things, that aliens present in the CNMI immediately before and after 12am on Nov. 28, 2009, are to be deemed to have made a lawful entry to the U.S.
Manglona dismissed the amended complaint on Nov. 16, 2012.
On Dec. 12, 2012, Woodruff filed a motion asking the court to modify or vacate its Nov. 16 order dismissing the amended complaint.
In her order last week, Manglona said the Rule 60 motion (dismissal) was not accompanied by affidavits or a memorandum of law.
Manglona said supporting papers are appropriate to a Rule 60 motion in order to advise the court and opposing parties of the particular grounds on which relief is sought.
Manglona said defendants, in their opposition, correctly complained of these omissions and asked the court to order the plaintiffs to submit a memorandum of points and authorities so that defendants could respond meaningfully.
Manglona said plaintiffs did not file a reply.
The motion was noticed for a hearing on “Jan. 17, 2012 [sic] at 9am…or at such other time or date as the court may determine.”
Manglona said a review of the docket sheet shows that the motion was not heard on Jan. 17, 2013 hearing and has never been heard or calendared for a hearing.
Under federal rules, Manglona said, a motion must “state with particularity the grounds for seeking the order.”
Citing precedent, the judge said “where the movant fails to provide any argument or evidence supporting a motion, the district court may disregard the motion.”