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RELX, Inc. v. Baran

United States District Court for the District of Columbia

August 5, 2019, Decided; August 5, 2019, Filed

Case No. 19-cv-1993



Plaintiffs RELX, Inc., d/b/a LexisNexis USA ("LexisNexis") and Ms. Subhasree Chatterjee, a Data Analyst for LexisNexis, bring this action against defendant Kathy Baran, Director of the California Service Center, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"), U.S. Department of Homeland Security ("DHS"), and other government officials [**2]  and entities, under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 701, et seq. Plaintiffs allege that defendants violated the Administrative Procedure Act when they denied LexisNexis' H—1B petition on behalf of Ms. Chatterjee. Pending before the Court are plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and defendants' motion to dismiss. Having considered the submissions of the parties,  [*45]  the administrative record, the relevant law, and the arguments of the parties during the motion hearing, the court DENIES defendants' motion to dismiss and GRANTS plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment.

I. Background

A. Statutory and Regulatory Background

The H—1B visa program permits employers to temporarily employ foreign, nonimmigrant workers in specialty occupations. See 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(H). Before obtaining a visa, an employer must obtain certification from the Department of Labor that it has filed a labor condition application in the specific occupational specialty. 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(h)(4). The employer must then file an H—1B visa petition on behalf of the alien worker, which shows that the proffered position satisfies the statutory and regulatory requirements. 8 U.S.C. § 1184(c). A specialty occupation is defined as an occupation that requires "theoretical and practical application of [**3]  a body of highly specialized knowledge" and "attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree in a specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States." 8 U.S.C. § 1184(i)(1). USCIS regulations have further defined four criteria, each sufficiently independent, to determine whether a profession qualifies as a "specialty occupation." Under the regulation an occupation qualifies if:

(1) A baccalaureate or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for entry into a particular position;

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397 F. Supp. 3d 41 *; 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130286 **; 2019 WL 3557699

RELX, INC. d/b/a/ LexisNexis USA, and SUBHASREE CHATTERJEE, Plaintiffs, v. KATHY A. BARAN, In her official Capacity, Director of the California Service Center, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, ET AL., Defendants.


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