United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER AWARDING ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' Application for
an Award of Attorneys' Fees and Costs Pursuant to the
Equal Access to Justice Act. Dkt. #44. Defendants,
after previously approving Plaintiff Jose Javier Lopez de
Lagar (“Lopez de Lagar”) for L-1A immigration
status, denied his extension petition.
Plaintiffs sued, challenging what they maintained was
an arbitrary and capricious decision. Dkt. #1. Plaintiffs
sought injunctive relief preventing Defendants from treating
Lopez de Lagar and his family as unlawful residents. Dkt.
#13. The Court enjoined Defendants from acting on their
denial of Lopez de Lagar's extension petition and those
of his family. Dkt. #37. Two days later, Defendants reversed
course and approved Lopez de Lagar's, and his
family's, petition. Dkt. #38 at 5-12. The action was
thereafter dismissed. Dkt. #43. Plaintiffs now seek an award
of $79, 505.83 for attorneys' fees and costs expended in
this matter. Dkt. #44 at 2.
Hexacta, Inc. (“Hexacta”), an Argentina company,
relocated Lopez de Lagar to the United States to establish
and head its U.S. Hexacta subsidiary office located in the
Seattle area. See Dkt. #1 at ¶¶ 32-33. In
2017, Hexacta successfully petitioned Defendant U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”)
under Form I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, known as
an L-1A petition, for Lopez de Lagar. Id. at ¶
33. USCIS granted Lopez de Lagar L-1A status under “new
office” regulations for a period of one year-from
January 8, 2018 through January 7, 2019-with an option to
apply for extensions. See id. at ¶¶ 32-34;
see also Dkt. #13; Dkt. #15 at ¶ 7.
of Lopez de Lagar's L-1A status, his wife, Plaintiff
Flavia Paola Sosa, and their three children were granted
derivative L-2 status. Dkt. #1 at ¶ 34. The family moved
to the United States in January 2018. Id. In
December of 2018, Hexacta petitioned for a two-year extension
of Lopez de Lagar's L-1A status. Id. at ¶
41. USCIS issued a Request for Evidence on December 21, 2018,
and Hexacta responded on February 25, 2019. Id. at
¶¶ 42-43. On March 11, 2019, USCIS denied
Hexacta's extension petition, finding Lopez de Lagar was
not a manager or executive in the U.S. Id. at
¶¶ 44-45. USCIS also denied derivative L-2
applications for Lopez de Lagar's family. See
April 12, 2019, Plaintiffs filed the Complaint, challenging
Defendants' denials of the L-1A executive immigration
petition filed on behalf of Lopez de Lagar and the derivative
L-2 applications for Lopez de Lagar's family.
Id. Plaintiffs sought, and were granted, a temporary
restraining order preventing Defendants from giving effect to
their petition denials during the pendency of this action.
Dkt. #17. The temporary restraining order was later replaced
by a preliminary injunction pending resolution of this
matter. Dkt. #37. Two days later, Defendants reversed course
and granted Lopez de Lagar L-1A status and his family
derivative L-2 status. Dkt. #38 at 5-12.
result, the parties agreed that dismissal was appropriate,
but disagreed as to whether Plaintiffs should be awarded
attorneys' fees and costs. Dkts. #39 and #40. The Court
agreed that dismissal was appropriate and allowed Plaintiffs
to seek attorneys' fees and costs. Dkt. #43. This Motion
Legal Standard for Award of Fees Under the Equal Access to
Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”) provides in
Except as otherwise specifically provided by statute, a court
shall award to a prevailing party other than the United
States fees and other expenses, in addition to any costs
awarded pursuant to subsection (a), incurred by that party in
any civil action (other than cases sounding in tort),
including proceedings for judicial review of agency action,
brought by or against the United States in any court having
jurisdiction of that action, unless the court finds that ...