United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT AND LEAVE TO AMEND
RICHARD A. JONES, JUDGE
the Court are the motions for summary judgment filed by
Plaintiff Oleg Churyumov and Defendant U.S. Citizenship and
Immigration Services (“USCIS”) and a motion to
amend filed by Churyumov. Dkt. ## 20, 22, 25. For the reasons
below, the Court GRANTS USCIS's motion
and DENIES Churyumov's motions.
Oleg Churyumov challenges the decision by USCIS denying his
petition for an employment-based immigrant visa for aliens of
extraordinary ability. Churyumov is a citizen and native of
Russia who arrived in the United States on February 16, 2016.
CAR 627-32. He completed an immigrant visa petition, Form
I-140, as an alien of extraordinary ability, on or about
February 22, 2016. CAR 633. Churyumov contends that he has an
extraordinary ability in the field of business, specifically
in the hospitality industry. CAR 627-32, 648-49. Churyumov
claims that he is the first in Russia to apply “capsule
technology” in a hostel setting. CAR 648. A
“sleep capsule” is a pod where a guest can sleep,
rest, or watch television and gained popularity in Japan and
China during the twentieth century. Id. On March 7,
2016, USCIS issued a Request for Evidence. CAR 8-15.
Churyumov submitted his response on or about May 16, 2016.
CAR 16-626. USCIS denied his petition in a decision dated
June 6, 2016. CAR 1-7.
found that Churyumov failed to satisfy his burden of proof
pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1361. Notably, USCIS determined
that Churyumov had not established “sustained national
or international acclaim, ” or achievements indicating
that he “is one of that small percentage who has risen
to the very top of the field of endeavor.” CAR 1, 5-6.
USCIS also found that also failed to satisfy the statutory
requirement under 8 U.S.C. § 1153(b)(1)(A)(ii) that he
is coming to the United States to work in his field of
extraordinary ability. CAR 1, 6-7.
9, 2018, Churyumov filed a complaint requesting that this
Court “revoke the USCIS decision and approve
Plaintiff's I-140 form.” Dkt # 1 at 5. He filed his
motion for summary judgment on April 19, 2019. Dkt. # 20.
USCIS filed a response and cross-motion for summary judgment
on May 5, 2019. Dkt. # 21.
review of a final agency action is governed by the APA under
an “arbitrary and capricious” standard. 5 U.S.C.
§ 706(2)(A); Idaho Farm Bureau Fed'n v.
Babbitt, 58 F.3d 1392, 1401 (9th Cir. 1995). In other
words, an agency's decision should be overturned if it
was “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or
otherwise not in accordance with the law.” Id.
In evaluating an agency's decision under this standard,
“[courts] ask whether the agency ‘considered the
relevant factors and articulated a rational connection
between the facts found and the choice made.' ”
Natural Res. Def. Council v. U.S. Dep't of the
Interior, 113 F.3d 1121, 1124 (9th Cir. 1997) (quoting
Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Indians v. U.S. Dep't of
the Navy, 898 F.2d 1410, 1414 (9th Cir. 1990)). The
standard is “highly deferential, presuming the agency
action to be valid and affirming the agency action if a
reasonable basis exists for its decision.”
Indep. Acceptance Co. v. California, 204 F.3d 1247,
1251 (9th Cir. 2000).
the APA, the district court's review is usually limited
to the administrative record. 5 U.S.C. § 706; see
also Cnty. of Los Angeles v. Shalala, 192 F.3d 1005,
1011 (D.C. Cir. 1999) (when reviewing final agency action,
the district court is not managing a “garden variety
civil suit, ” but rather “sits as an appellate
tribunal”). Therefore, the usual “genuine dispute
of material fact” standard for summary judgment does
not apply in an APA case. Rather, summary judgment functions
as a mechanism for determining as a matter of law whether the
administrative record supports the agency's decision and
whether the agency complied with the APA. Occidental
Eng'g Co. v. INS, 753 F.2d 766, 769 (9th Cir. 1985).
Motions for Summary Judgment
to 8 U.S.C. § 1153(b)(1)(A), aliens may apply for a visa
on the basis of “extraordinary ability.” The INA
does not define “extraordinary ability.”
Abilities in the “sciences, arts, education, business,
or athletics” qualify. 8 U.S.C. §
1153(b)(1)(A)(i). “Sustained national or international
acclaim” is a hallmark of extraordinary ability, as are
achievements that “have been recognized in the field
through extensive documentation.” Id. Federal
regulations explain that “extraordinary ability”
is “a level of expertise indicating that the individual
is one of that small percentage who have risen to the very
top of the field of endeavor.” 8 C.F.R. §
alien can prove an extraordinary ability in one of two ways.
The first is “evidence of a one-time achievement (that
is, a major, international recognized award).” 8 C.F.R.
§ 204.5(h)(3). The second way to prove extraordinary