United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING IN PART LT. COL. ANDERSON'S MOTION
S. Lasnik, United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on “Defendant Scott
Anderson's 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss . . . .” Dkt.
# 13. Plaintiff filed this action against her
ex-husband and the United States of America based on an
alleged contract and torts arising from its breach. The
question for the Court on a motion to dismiss is whether the
facts alleged in the complaint sufficiently state a
“plausible” ground for relief. Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “All
well-pleaded allegations of material fact in the complaint
are accepted as true and are construed in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party.” Manzarek v. St.
Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 519 F.3d 1025, 1031
(9th Cir. 2008) (internal citation omitted). “Dismissal
is proper only where there is no cognizable legal theory or
an absence of sufficient facts alleged to support a
cognizable legal theory.” Taylor v. Yee, 780
F.3d 928, 935 (9th Cir. 2015) (internal citation omitted).
Although, the Court's review is generally limited to the
contents of the complaint (Campanelli v. Bockrath,
100 F.3d 1476, 1479 (9th Cir. 1996)), it may nevertheless
consider documents referenced extensively in the complaint,
matters of public record, and documents whose contents are
alleged in the complaint and whose authenticity is not
challenged. Northstar Fin. Advisors Inc. v. Schwab
Investments, 779 F.3d 1036, 1042-43 (9th Cir. 2015).
Most of the documents attached to defendant's motion do
not fall into those categories. The Court has, however, taken
judicial notice of the service documents and the Affidavit of
Support Form I-864 that is currently utilized by the United
States Citizenship and Immigration Services and published at
claims against her ex-husband are based on his 2011
submission of a Form I-864 in support of plaintiff's
immigration to the United States. The Form allows persons in
the United States to promise financial support for immigrants
as a means of alleviating the government's concern that
the immigrant will become a public charge. Potential signers
are warned that their signature creates “a contract
between you and the U.S. Government” that they will be
required to provide a financial safety net to the immigrant.
The Form specifically states that failure to provide the
promised support may result in a lawsuit by the intended
beneficiary and/or any agency that provides means-tested
public benefits to the immigrant. In addition, the
circumstances under which the obligation terminates are very
limited. The form twice notified potential signers that
divorce does not terminate the support obligations. See
motion to dismiss, Lt. Col. Anderson argues that the alleged
contract was unconscionable based on “Baines v.
Baines.” Dkt. # 13 at 13. Support obligations under
Form I-864 are regularly upheld in federal court (see
Shumye v. Felleke, 555 F.Supp.2d 1020 1024 (N.D. Cal.
2008)), and defendant offers nothing more than an assertion
that the obligations are unfair because he felt he had to
sign the I-864 so that plaintiff could get a visa, he did
“not realiz[e] what he was signing up for, ” and
he had no reasons to suspect that plaintiff “would
later try to game the system.” Dkt. # 13 at 13.
Defendant acknowledges signing the affidavit of support and
has not identified any term that was so one-sided as to shock
the conscience. See Al-Safin v. Circuit City Stores,
Inc., 394 F.3d 1254, 1261 (9th Cir. 2005). He is
essentially arguing that the perpetual support obligation
imposed by the United States immigration service in exchange
for a visa is unfair. There are policy reasons for putting
the financial onus of support on a sponsor in the immigration
context, however. Defendant has not shown that the contract
was unconscionable or is otherwise unenforceable.
remedy for a breach of an I-864 promise of support is usually
the amount necessary to maintain plaintiff at or slightly
above the federal poverty line minus any income or benefits
the sponsored immigrant received from other sources. If
plaintiff can prove an on-going duty to provide support, the
Court's legal power to compensate plaintiff for past
losses may not be adequate, in which case the Court may use
its broad equitable powers to compel defendant to
specifically perform his promise going forward. See
Crafts v. Pitts, 161 Wn.2d 16, 23-24 (2007). Defendant
has not shown that he is entitled to dismissal of the claim
for specific performance.
negligence and outrage claims do not raise a plausible
inference of liability. To prevail on a negligence claim,
plaintiff must show a duty, the breach of that duty, and
damages resulting therefrom. Plaintiff has not identified any
duty other than an obligation to perform under the contract
created by Form I-864. A plaintiff may pursue a tort claim
against a party with whom she has a contract only if the tort
duty arises independently of the terms of their contract.
Donatelli v. D.R. Strong Consulting Eng'rs,
Inc., 179 Wn.2d 84, 98 (2013). In addition,
plaintiff's allegations in support of her outrage claim
are entirely formulaic, and she has not alleged extreme and
outrageous conduct. Her tort claims therefore fail as a
matter of law and will be dismissed.
defendant argues that plaintiff's claims have not been
adequately pled under Fed.R.Civ.P. 9(b). Plaintiff has
asserted a contract claim and tort claims arising from the
breach of the contract. None of these claims sounds in fraud.
The Court finds that the pleading standard set forth in
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a) therefore applies.
of the foregoing reasons, Lt. Col. Anderson's motion to
dismiss is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
Plaintiff's breach of contract claim against this
defendant may proceed. Her negligence and outrage claims are
 Defendant's motion is
alternatively titled a “Response to Plaintiff's
Motion on Complaint.” Plaintiff has not filed a motion
in this matter, and Lt. Col. Anderson has already filed an
answer to the complaint.
 Although plaintiff's complaint and
response to this motion state that the Form I-864 completed
by Lt. Col. Anderson in 2011 was attached as an exhibit to
the complaint, there is no such exhibit. See Dkt. #
1-1 and Dkt. # 3.
 Plaintiff also asserts that there was
a violation of an Air Force advisory notifying members of the
service that they are expected to provide financial support
to family members. The only duty identified, however, is the
duty to comply with the support obligations of Form I-864.
Dkt. # 1-1 at ¶ 3.2.4. Plaintiff has not alleged facts
giving rise to a plausible inference that she would have a
cause of action directly under Instruction 36-2906. The Court
accepts her ...