Case: Khairullah v. Garland

3:23-cv-30095 | U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Filed Date: Sept. 18, 2023

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This lawsuit relates to a terrorism watchlist maintained by the United States government. Several Muslim American citizens, permanent residents, and asylees brought this lawsuit alleging that the US government placed names on the list without valid reason, and that the Muslims on the list face scrutiny only because of anti-Muslim discrimination. On September 18, 2023, twelve Muslim-Americans filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against the heads of twenty-nine…

This lawsuit relates to a terrorism watchlist maintained by the United States government. Several Muslim American citizens, permanent residents, and asylees brought this lawsuit alleging that the US government placed names on the list without valid reason, and that the Muslims on the list face scrutiny only because of anti-Muslim discrimination.

On September 18, 2023, twelve Muslim-Americans filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against the heads of twenty-nine US agencies. The plaintiffs were represented by attorneys at the Council on American-Islamic Relations Legal Defense Fund (“CAIR”), and three state chapters of CAIR: Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Michigan. They alleged that they had been placed on the Terrorist Screening Dataset (“TSDS”), known colloquially as the “federal terrorist watchlist.”

The plaintiffs alleged that being on the federal watchlist led to public humiliation, as well as surveillance and harassment when they tried to travel, meaning that they could not attend important life events such as weddings, funerals, and graduations. Being on the watchlist had also caused them to be separated from their children; to be denied jobs, security clearances, U.S. citizenship, visas, gun licenses, and other government benefits; and in some cases to be essentially barred from the United States. They alleged that the use of the watchlist constituted religious discrimination because many of the factors that led to being placed on the watchlist were not grounded in any actual national security justification; rather, they were things like going to a mosque or traveling to Muslim-majority countries. They alleged that the watchlist was in practice a Muslim registry because over 98% of people on the watchlist were Muslim, and that the individuals placed on the list were not allowed to challenge the allegations against them. The plaintiffs alleged that this violated the Fifth Amendment by infringing on their procedural and substantive due process rights and by violating the Equal Protection Clause and the Self-Incrimination Clause. They also alleged violations of the Fourth Amendment’s protections against search and seizure as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Finally, they alleged that the defendants had violated the Administrative Procedure Act because the dissemination of the watchlist was arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, contrary to law, unconstitutional, and beyond the agencies' statutory powers. They requested injunctive relief, monetary damages, attorneys' fees, and a declaratory judgment that the policies and practices surrounding the federal terrorist watchlist were unconstitutional. 

The case was assigned to Judge Mark G. Mastroianni. On February 20, 2024, the defendants moved to transfer the case to the U.S. District Court for the District of D.C., or to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim.

The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint the next month, on March 12. The amended complaint added several plaintiffs, and included two new claims. First, the plaintiffs argued that the watchlist violated the nondelegation doctrine because it delegated legislative power to an executive agency and did not provide an intelligible principle for that agency to follow. Second, the plaintiffs argued that the federal agencies responsible for the watchlist had delegated this responsibility to sub-agencies, which contradicted Congress's intent and therefore violated the Administrative Procedure Act.

The following day, the court denied the motion to transfer or dismiss as moot due to the amended complaint. As of April 18, 2024, this case is ongoing.

Summary Authors

Samantha Houghton (4/15/2024)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/67803896/parties/khairullah/


Judge(s)

Mastroianni, Mark Gerald (Massachusetts)

Attorney for Plaintiff

Dougan, Barbara J. (Massachusetts)

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Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
1

3:23-cv-30095

Complaint for Injunctive Relief, Declaratory Relief, and Damages

Sept. 18, 2023

Sept. 18, 2023

Complaint
29

3:23-cv-30095

First Amended Complaint for Injunctive Relief, Declaratory Relief, and Damages

March 12, 2024

March 12, 2024

Complaint

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/67803896/khairullah/

Last updated April 18, 2024, 10:48 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against All Defendants Filing fee: $ 402, receipt number BMADC-10040221 (Fee Status: Filing Fee paid), filed by Nusratilla Abdukhamidov, Tawhidullah Amini, Naveed Butt, Abdulrahman Cherri, Nidal El-Takach, Moneeb Elhady, Mohamed Khairullah, Michael Migliore, Ahmad Mirzay, Talha Mohamed, Adam Qashou, Ihab Rashad. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Category Form)(Dougan, Barbara) (Entered: 09/18/2023)

1 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

2 Category Form

View on PACER

Sept. 18, 2023

Sept. 18, 2023

Clearinghouse
2

ELECTRONIC NOTICE of Case Assignment. Judge Mark G. Mastroianni assigned to case. If the trial Judge issues an Order of Reference of any matter in this case to a Magistrate Judge, the matter will be transmitted to Magistrate Judge Katherine A. Robertson. (Phillips, Sophie) (Entered: 09/19/2023)

Sept. 19, 2023

Sept. 19, 2023

PACER

Notice of Case Assignment

Sept. 19, 2023

Sept. 19, 2023

PACER
3

MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice for admission of Hannah Mullen Filing fee: $ 125, receipt number AMADC-10042186 by Nusratilla Abdukhamidov, Tawhidullah Amini, Naveed Butt, Abdulrahman Cherri, Nidal El-Takach, Moneeb Elhady, Mohamed Khairullah, Michael Migliore, Ahmad Mirzay, Talha Mohamed, Adam Qashou, Ihab Rashad.(Dougan, Barbara) (Additional attachment(s) added on 9/25/2023: # 1 Affidavit) (Zamorski, Michael). (Entered: 09/19/2023)

Sept. 19, 2023

Sept. 19, 2023

PACER
4

MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice for admission of Lena Masri Filing fee: $ 125, receipt number AMADC-10042485 by Nusratilla Abdukhamidov, Tawhidullah Amini, Naveed Butt, Abdulrahman Cherri, Nidal El-Takach, Moneeb Elhady, Mohamed Khairullah, Michael Migliore, Ahmad Mirzay, Talha Mohamed, Adam Qashou, Ihab Rashad.(Dougan, Barbara) (Additional attachment(s) added on 9/25/2023: # 1 Affidavit) (Zamorski, Michael). (Entered: 09/19/2023)

Sept. 19, 2023

Sept. 19, 2023

PACER
5

MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice for admission of Gadeir Abbas Filing fee: $ 125, receipt number AMADC-10042533 by Nusratilla Abdukhamidov, Tawhidullah Amini, Naveed Butt, Abdulrahman Cherri, Nidal El-Takach, Moneeb Elhady, Mohamed Khairullah, Michael Migliore, Ahmad Mirzay, Talha Mohamed, Adam Qashou, Ihab Rashad.(Dougan, Barbara) (Additional attachment(s) added on 9/25/2023: # 1 Affidavit) (Zamorski, Michael). (Entered: 09/19/2023)

Sept. 19, 2023

Sept. 19, 2023

PACER
6

MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice for admission of Amy Doukoure Filing fee: $ 125, receipt number AMADC-10042537 by Abdulrahman Cherri, Nidal El-Takach, Moneeb Elhady.(Dougan, Barbara) (Additional attachment(s) added on 9/25/2023: # 1 Affidavit) (Zamorski, Michael). (Entered: 09/19/2023)

Sept. 19, 2023

Sept. 19, 2023

PACER
7

MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice for admission of Justin Sadowsky Filing fee: $ 125, receipt number AMADC-10045546 by Nusratilla Abdukhamidov, Tawhidullah Amini, Naveed Butt, Abdulrahman Cherri, Nidal El-Takach, Moneeb Elhady, Mohamed Khairullah, Michael Migliore, Ahmad Mirzay, Talha Mohamed, Adam Qashou, Ihab Rashad.(Dougan, Barbara) (Additional attachment(s) added on 9/25/2023: # 1 Affidavit) (Zamorski, Michael). (Entered: 09/20/2023)

Sept. 20, 2023

Sept. 20, 2023

PACER
8

Summons Issued as to All Defendants. Counsel receiving this notice electronically should download this summons, complete one for each defendant and serve it in accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 4 and LR 4.1. Summons will be mailed to plaintiff(s) not receiving notice electronically for completion of service. (Zamorski, Michael) (Entered: 09/22/2023)

Sept. 22, 2023

Sept. 22, 2023

PACER
9

Judge Mark G. Mastroianni: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered granting 3 Motion for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice Added Hannah Mullen. Attorneys admitted Pro Hac Vice must have an individual PACER account, not a shared firm account, to electronically file in the District of Massachusetts. To register for a PACER account, go the Pacer website at https://pacer.uscourts.gov/register-account. You must put the docket number under ADDITIONAL FILER INFORMATION on your form when registering or it will be rejected.Pro Hac Vice Admission Request Instructions https://www.mad.uscourts.gov/caseinfo/nextgen-pro-hac-vice.htm.A Notice of Appearance must be entered on the docket by the newly admitted attorney. (Zamorski, Michael) Modified on 9/25/2023 (Zamorski, Michael). (Entered: 09/25/2023)

Sept. 25, 2023

Sept. 25, 2023

PACER

Order on Motion for Leave to Appear

Sept. 25, 2023

Sept. 25, 2023

PACER
10

Judge Mark G. Mastroianni: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered granting 4 Motion for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice Added Lena Masri. Attorneys admitted Pro Hac Vice must have an individual PACER account, not a shared firm account, to electronically file in the District of Massachusetts. To register for a PACER account, go the Pacer website at https://pacer.uscourts.gov/register-account. You must put the docket number under ADDITIONAL FILER INFORMATION on your form when registering or it will be rejected.Pro Hac Vice Admission Request Instructions https://www.mad.uscourts.gov/caseinfo/nextgen-pro-hac-vice.htm.A Notice of Appearance must be entered on the docket by the newly admitted attorney. (Zamorski, Michael) Modified on 9/25/2023 (Zamorski, Michael). (Entered: 09/25/2023)

Sept. 25, 2023

Sept. 25, 2023

PACER
11

Judge Mark G. Mastroianni: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered granting 5 Motion for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice Added Gadeir Abbas. Attorneys admitted Pro Hac Vice must have an individual PACER account, not a shared firm account, to electronically file in the District of Massachusetts. To register for a PACER account, go the Pacer website at https://pacer.uscourts.gov/register-account. You must put the docket number under ADDITIONAL FILER INFORMATION on your form when registering or it will be rejected.Pro Hac Vice Admission Request Instructions https://www.mad.uscourts.gov/caseinfo/nextgen-pro-hac-vice.htm.A Notice of Appearance must be entered on the docket by the newly admitted attorney. (Zamorski, Michael) (Entered: 09/25/2023)

Sept. 25, 2023

Sept. 25, 2023

PACER
12

Judge Mark G. Mastroianni: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered granting 6 Motion for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice Added Amy Doukoure. Attorneys admitted Pro Hac Vice must have an individual PACER account, not a shared firm account, to electronically file in the District of Massachusetts. To register for a PACER account, go the Pacer website at https://pacer.uscourts.gov/register-account. You must put the docket number under ADDITIONAL FILER INFORMATION on your form when registering or it will be rejected.Pro Hac Vice Admission Request Instructions https://www.mad.uscourts.gov/caseinfo/nextgen-pro-hac-vice.htm.A Notice of Appearance must be entered on the docket by the newly admitted attorney. (Zamorski, Michael) (Entered: 09/25/2023)

Sept. 25, 2023

Sept. 25, 2023

PACER
13

Judge Mark G. Mastroianni: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered granting 7 Motion for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice Added Justin Sadowsky. Attorneys admitted Pro Hac Vice must have an individual PACER account, not a shared firm account, to electronically file in the District of Massachusetts. To register for a PACER account, go the Pacer website at https://pacer.uscourts.gov/register-account. You must put the docket number under ADDITIONAL FILER INFORMATION on your form when registering or it will be rejected.Pro Hac Vice Admission Request Instructions https://www.mad.uscourts.gov/caseinfo/nextgen-pro-hac-vice.htm.A Notice of Appearance must be entered on the docket by the newly admitted attorney. (Zamorski, Michael) (Entered: 09/25/2023)

Sept. 25, 2023

Sept. 25, 2023

PACER
14

Notice of Appearance

Feb. 6, 2024

Feb. 6, 2024

PACER
15

Extension of Time AND File Excess Pages

Feb. 6, 2024

Feb. 6, 2024

PACER
16

Notice of Appearance

Feb. 7, 2024

Feb. 7, 2024

PACER
17

Summons Returned Executed as to USA

Feb. 7, 2024

Feb. 7, 2024

PACER

Order on Motion for Extension of Time AND Order on Motion for Leave to File Excess Pages

Feb. 8, 2024

Feb. 8, 2024

PACER
19

Extension of Time

Feb. 9, 2024

Feb. 9, 2024

PACER

Order on Motion for Extension of Time

Feb. 12, 2024

Feb. 12, 2024

PACER
21

Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim AND Transfer Case

Feb. 20, 2024

Feb. 20, 2024

Clearinghouse
24

Notice - Other

Feb. 20, 2024

Feb. 20, 2024

PACER
25

Memorandum in Support of Motion

Feb. 23, 2024

Feb. 23, 2024

PACER

Notice of correction to docket made by Court staff

Feb. 23, 2024

Feb. 23, 2024

PACER
27

Miscellaneous Relief

Feb. 27, 2024

Feb. 27, 2024

PACER

Order on Motion for Miscellaneous Relief

Feb. 28, 2024

Feb. 28, 2024

PACER
29

Amended Complaint

March 12, 2024

March 12, 2024

Clearinghouse

Order on Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim AND Order on Motion to Transfer Case

March 13, 2024

March 13, 2024

PACER

Notice of correction to docket made by Court staff

March 13, 2024

March 13, 2024

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Massachusetts

Case Type(s):

Speech and Religious Freedom

Immigration and/or the Border

Public Benefits/Government Services

Key Dates

Filing Date: Sept. 18, 2023

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Fifteen Muslim-Americans placed on the Terrorist Screening Dataset, also called the "federal terrorist watchlist"

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

United States (- United States (national) -), Federal

Defendant Type(s):

Law-enforcement

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)

Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens

Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Right to travel

Due Process: Procedural Due Process

Due Process: Substantive Due Process

Unreasonable search and seizure

Equal Protection

Available Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

None yet

Source of Relief:

None yet

Issues

General/Misc.:

Over/Unlawful Detention

Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)

Religious programs / policies

Search policies

Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues

Watchlist

Discrimination Basis:

Religion discrimination

Immigration/Border:

Asylum - criteria

Deportation - criteria

Detention - criteria

Detention - procedures

Family Separation

Refugees

U.S. citizenship - acquiring

Visas - criteria

Visas - procedures

Policing:

Phone (policing)

Strip search policy (policing)