United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
J. McConnell, Jr. United States District Judge
Sonethanong asks the Court to reconsider its Order granting
Defendants' motion to dismiss his Complaint. ECF No. 17.
For the following reasons, his motion is DENIED.
Khongsouvankham brought suit seeking a declaration that he is
a United States citizen, as well as damages, fees, and costs.
ECF No. 1. The Government moved to dismiss (ECF No. 8), and
in an Order dated December 1, 2017, this Court granted the
motion and dismissed the Complaint (ECF No. 16). The Court
concluded that it lacked jurisdiction over Mr.
Khongsouvankham's claim for declaratory relief, that he
failed to state a claim for injunctive relief, and that he
failed to state claims under either 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or
under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S.
388 (1971). ECF No. 16. Mr. Khongsouvankham now asks the
Court to reconsider its Order. ECF No. 17.
STANDARD OP REVIEW
succeed on a motion for reconsideration, "the movant
must demonstrate either that newly discovered evidence (not
previously available) has come to light or that the rendering
court committed a manifest error of law." Palmer v.
Champion Mortg., 465 F.3d 24, 30 (1st Cir. 2006);
see also Global Naps, Inc. v. Verizon New Engl,
Inc., 489 F.3d 13, 25 (1st Cir. 2007) ("As a
general matter, a motion for reconsideration may only be
granted if the original judgment evidenced a manifest error
of law, if there is newly discovered evidence, or in certain
other narrow situations.").
granting of a motion for reconsideration is 'an
extraordinary remedy which should be used
sparingly.'" Palmer, 465 F.3d at 30
(quoting 11 Charles Alan Wright et al., Fed. Practice &
Proc. § 2810.1 (2d ed. 1995)). "[S]uch a motion is
normally not a promising vehicle for revisiting a party's
case and rearguing theories previously advanced and
Khongsouvankham advances numerous claims of error. He
presents no new evidence; thus, the Court reviews its Order
for manifest error of law.
Mr. Khongsouvankham argues this Court erred by failing to
take as true his allegation that he is a United States
citizen. However, that is a legal conclusion that represents
the central issue in this case, and the Court is not required
to accept as true legal conclusions couched as fact. See
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
Mr. Khongsoiivankham alleges that this Court failed to
consider the fact that his mother naturalized when he was
eleven years old, along with related documentation supporting
that claim. This Court did, however, consider that fact, and
accepted it as true. ECF No. 16 at 6. Nonetheless, the Court
held that this fact alone was insufficient to confer
citizenship upon Mr. Khongsouvankham based on the law
applicable to him at the time. Id.
Mr. Khongsouvankham argues that the Court erred by concluding
that his father's naturalization ten months after Mr.
Khongsouvankham's eighteenth birthday defeated his claim
to citizenship as a matter of law. This is not an
impermissible finding of fact; the Court accepted the factual
allegations put forth by Mr. Khongsouvankham as true
(including the date of his father's naturalization) and
determined that, as a matter of law, he could not claim
citizenship under 8 U.S.C. § 1432(a) (1996). 6feeECF No.
16 at 6-7.
Mr. Khongsouvankham claims that the Court improperly applied
the summary judgment standard in granting the
Government's motion to dismiss. The Court, however,
applied the proper standards under Federal Rule of Procedure
12. See id, at 2 (establishing standard), 3
(dismissing Count One for lack of subject-matter
jurisdiction), 4-9 (noting that Mr. Khongsouvankham likely
does not have a private right of action but noting that, even
if he did, all of his non-conclusory allegations accepted as
true would fail to state a claim as a matter of law); 7-8
(dismissing Section 1983 claims against federal defendants
and, broadly construing claims, determining that Mr.
Khongsouvankham did not state a Bivens claim, as Mr.
Khongsouvankham appeared to sue the Defendants in their
official capacities, and that, in any event, he failed to
sufficiently allege any facts that would support individual
Mr. Khongsouvankham claims that the Court could not question
whether it had subject matter jurisdiction over his
declaratory judgment claim because the Complaint invoked
Section 1983 and because diversity of citizenship exists.
Aside from the fact that the matter was before the Court on a
motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction,
"[i]t is black-letter law that a federal court has an
obligation to inquire sua sponte into its own subject matter
jurisdiction." McCulloch v. Velez,364 F.3d 1,
5 (1st Cir. 2004). As the Order explained, Mr.
Khongsouvankham's claims for a declaration of United
States citizenship are properly construed as seeking relief
under 8 U.S.C. § 1503, which governs "[proceedings
for declaration of United States nationality." Mr.
Khongsouvankham cannot circumvent this statute or its
requirements by invoking diversity of citizenship. See
Puig Jimenez v. Glover,255 F.2d 54, 56 (1st Cir. 1958)
(Section 1503 enacted "with the evident intention of
limiting the opportunity of persons claiming to be citizens
to seek a judicial declaration of their rights"). This