Doe et al v. Blinken et al

Filing 10

ORDER signed by Senior Judge William B. Shubb on 11/17/2022: IT IS ORDERED that plaintiffs' motion for leave to proceed under pseudonym 2 and request to seal 7 be, and the same hereby are, GRANTED. Pursuant to Local Rule 141, the unredacted Exhibit B [1-2] shall be SEALED until further order of this Court. cc: Court Ops Supv. Sac. (Argento, E.)

Download PDF
Case 2:22-cv-01841-WBS-CKD Document 10 Filed 11/17/22 Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 ----oo0oo---- 11 12 JOHN DOE and JANE DOE, Plaintiffs, 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 No. 2:22-cv-01841 WBS CKD v. ORDER RE: PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION TO PROCEED UNDER PSEUDONYM AND REQUEST TO SEAL ANTONY J. BLINKEN, in his official capacity as U.S. Secretary of State; JULIE M. STUFFT, in her official capacity as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary and Managing Director for Visa Services, Bureau of Consular Affairs; JONATHAN K. WEBSTER, in his official capacity as Consul General of the U.S. Embassy Abu Dhabi; and UR MENDOZA JADDOU, in her official capacity as Director of USCIS, 22 Defendants. 23 24 25 26 27 ----oo0oo---This mandamus action seeks to compel defendants to issue a decision on plaintiff Jane Doe’s derivative asylum application. Plaintiffs now move unopposed to proceed under 28 1 Case 2:22-cv-01841-WBS-CKD Document 10 Filed 11/17/22 Page 2 of 5 1 pseudonyms and request to seal a document inadvertently filed 2 with an unredacted name. 3 (Docket Nos. 2, 7.) Rule 10(a) provides that “the complaint must name all 4 the parties.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(a). “The normal presumption in 5 litigation is that parties must use their real names.” 6 Kamehameha Sch./Bernice Pauahi Bishop Estate, 596 F.3d 1036, 1042 7 (9th Cir. 2010). 8 “in special circumstances when the party’s need for anonymity 9 outweighs prejudice to the opposing party and the public’s Doe v. However, a party may proceed under pseudonym 10 interest in knowing the party’s identity,” including when 11 necessary to “‘protect a person from harassment, injury, ridicule 12 or personal embarrassment.’” 13 Textile Corp., 214 F.3d 1058, 1067-68 (9th Cir. 2000) (quoting 14 United States v. Doe, 655 F.2d 920, 922 n.1 (9th Cir. 1981)); see 15 also United States v. Stoterau, 524 F.3d 988, 1012 (9th Cir. 16 2008). 17 Does I thru XXIII v. Advanced Plaintiffs argue that it is necessary to proceed under 18 pseudonyms because Jane Doe and their families face a risk of 19 religious persecution In Iran if their real names are used. 20 (Def.’s Mem. (Docket No. 2-1) at 2.) 21 lawful permanent resident of the United States. 22 Doe (“Doe Decl.”) (Docket No. 2-2) ¶ 1.) 23 who converted to Christianity and was granted asylum in 2016 due 24 to a risk of religious persecution if he returned to Iran. 25 ¶¶ 1, 7, 9-10.) 26 currently resides in Iran because her derivative asylum 27 application is pending. 28 secretive” about John Doe’s religious conversion and asylum, Plaintiff John Doe is a (Decl. of John He is a native of Iran (Id. However, plaintiff Jane Doe, John Doe’s wife, (Id. ¶ 2.) 2 Plaintiffs “are very Case 2:22-cv-01841-WBS-CKD Document 10 Filed 11/17/22 Page 3 of 5 1 “even to [their] family members because of the consequences to 2 [Jane Doe].” 3 woman to be married to a non-Muslim man.” 4 if Jane Doe’s family were to learn of her husband’s religious 5 conversion, she would “very likely . . . be forced to divorce 6 [him] under Iranian Law.” 7 government were to learn of John Doe’s conversion, his wife and 8 both plaintiffs’ families residing in Iran would be at risk of 9 religious persecution, including “house raids, physical violence, 10 (Id. ¶ 21.) harassment, and arrests.” 11 It is “illegal in Iran for a Muslim (Id. ¶ 23.) (Id. ¶ 20.) As such, Further, if the Iranian (Id. ¶ 24.) The court finds that the risk of religious persecution 12 to Jane Doe in Iran, outweighs the public’s interest in knowing 13 the parties’ identities. 14 1067-68. 15 their membership in a vulnerable religious minority and the 16 severity of the potential harm, which includes possible 17 harassment and physical violence. 18 214 F.3d at 1069 (The court “conclude[s], based on the extreme 19 nature of the retaliation threatened against plaintiffs coupled 20 with their highly vulnerable status, that plaintiffs reasonably 21 fear severe retaliation, and that this fear outweighs the 22 interests in favor of open judicial proceedings.”) 23 See Does I thru XXIII, 214 F.3d at Plaintiffs’ fear of persecution is reasonable based on See Advanced Textile Corp., The government has found this threat of persecution to 24 be credible, as it granted John Doe asylum. (See Doe Decl. ¶¶ 9- 25 10.) 26 weighs in favor of granting plaintiffs’ request. 27 (finding that district court abused discretion in denying motion 28 to proceed under pseudonym where plaintiffs feared reprisal The risk to plaintiffs’ family members living in Iran also 3 See id. at 1070 Case 2:22-cv-01841-WBS-CKD Document 10 Filed 11/17/22 Page 4 of 5 1 against family members living in China). 2 Plaintiffs have expressed willingness to disclose their 3 true identities to the court and opposing counsel under seal, and 4 do not otherwise request that court filings be sealed. 5 Def.’s Mem. at 2.) 6 significantly obstruct the public’s view of issues . . . or the 7 court’s performance in resolving them.’” 8 944, 946 (9th Cir. 2015) (quoting Advanced Textile Corp., 214 9 F.3d at 1068) (alterations adopted). (See Party anonymity therefore will “not Doe v. Ayers, 789 F.3d There also does not appear 10 to be any risk of prejudice to the defendants, who have not 11 opposed the motion and would be privy to plaintiffs’ true 12 identities. 13 In light of the foregoing, “[n]o factors weigh against 14 concealing plaintiffs’ identities.” 15 214 F.3d at 1069. 16 647 (N.D. Cal. 2019) (noting that the court had previously 17 granted permission to proceed under pseudonyms for Christians and 18 other religious minorities from Iran); Jane Doe 1 v. Nielsen, 357 19 F. Supp. 3d 972, 980 (N.D. Cal. 2018) (same); Doe v. Dordoni, 806 20 F. App’x 417, 418 (6th Cir. 2020) (noting that the district court 21 allowed Christian plaintiff from Saudi Arabia to proceed under 22 pseudonym due to fear of religious persecution). 23 plaintiffs’ motion will be granted. 24 See Advanced Textile Corp., See also Doe v. Risch, 398 F. Supp. 3d 647, Accordingly, IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that plaintiffs’ motion for 25 leave to proceed under pseudonym (Docket No. 2) and request to 26 seal (Docket No. 7) be, and the same hereby are, GRANTED. 27 Pursuant to Local Rule 141, the unredacted Exhibit B (Docket No. 28 1-2) shall be SEALED until further order of this Court. 4 Case 2:22-cv-01841-WBS-CKD Document 10 Filed 11/17/22 Page 5 of 5 1 Dated: November 17, 2022 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.


Why Is My Information Online?