United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
DENNIS SAYLOR IV UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the fourth action plaintiff Lili Benalfew has brought
concerning her naturalization as a United States citizen.
Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss the complaint.
Because plaintiff's claims are barred by the doctrine of
claim preclusion and violate an order issued in an earlier
case by Judge Gorton, the motion to dismiss will be granted.
facts are taken from the complaint, materials submitted with
the motion papers, and prior court opinions.
Lili Benalfew appears to have arrived in the United States on
January 27, 1974. (Compl. ¶ 8). On March 16, 2000, she
filed an N-400 application for citizenship. (Id.
¶ 10). In addition to her application, Benalfew appears
to have sent a letter to the Immigration and Naturalization
Service (“INS”) requesting that she be allowed to
take a modified oath of allegiance due to her
“belief” against war. (Id. at 7). On
April 13, 2001, the INS sent Benalfew a letter denying her
application for naturalization because she had
“fail[ed] to demonstrate [a] willingness to assume and
discharge the obligations of the oath of allegiance.”
(Id. at 19). She requested review of the denial. It
appears that a review hearing was conducted on October 25,
2001. (Compl. ¶ 37). The INS denied her appeal.
(Id.; Benalfew v. United States, et al.,
No. 13-cv-12049-NMG). On January 3, 2002, the INS notified
her to “appear for a Naturalization Oath
Ceremony” on January 17, 2002. (Compl. ¶ 38; Pl.
Ex. A at 29).
contends that she attended the naturalization ceremony and
took a modified oath of allegiance that omitted the duty to
bear arms and perform noncombatant services. (Compl. ¶
39; Mem. & Order at 4, 9, Benalfew v. United States,
et al., No. 13-cv-12049-NMG; Pl. Ex. A at
the fourth action Benalfew has brought contending she has
been harmed in some manner by the modified oath she took at
her naturalization ceremony.
filed her first action on July 10, 2009. See Benalfew v.
United States, et al., 09-cv- 11189-DPW. The complaint
in that case alleged, essentially, that because she had taken
a modified oath, she could not hold herself out to be a
United States citizen. The complaint sought to revoke her
naturalization certificate and sought injunctive relief and
damages for emotional distress and lost professional
opportunities allegedly caused by her lack of citizenship.
February 22, 2010, Judge Woodlock dismissed the lawsuit
sua sponte. Essentially, Judge Woodlock held that to
the extent the complaint attempted to raise a claim for
denaturalization pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1451, the court
did not have subject-matter jurisdiction, as the United
States Attorney had not instituted revocation proceedings
against her. In addition, Judge Woodlock held that the United
States and the USCIS were immune from the claims seeking
14, 2011, Benalfew filed a second complaint raising
essentially the same claims. See Benalfew v. USCIS,
No. 11-cv-11238-NMG. On October 28, 2011, Judge Gorton
dismissed the action.
filed a third complaint on August 21, 2013. See Benalfew
v. United States, et al., No. 13-cv-12049-NMG. The
complaint raised almost entirely the same allegations as the
earlier complaints, with several new allegations concerning
her name change in 2013.
November 22, 2013, Judge Gorton sua sponte dismissed
the third complaint in its entirety for essentially the same
reasons Judge Woodlock had in 2010. In concluding his
opinion, Judge Gorton ordered that Benalfew be restricted
from “filing any further Complaints that relate
directly or indirectly to the claims asserted in her three
unsuccessful cases, unless she [was] able to show
that she ha[d] ...