Bloom v. Lauretti et al
ORDER granting in part and denying in part 18 Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction. Signed by Judge Stefan R. Underhill on 2/8/18. (Kaas, E.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
No. 3:17-cv-1367 (SRU)
MARK LAURETTI, et al.,
ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS COUNT II
Jerry Bloom (“Bloom”), a resident of Shelton, Connecticut, brought a two-count action
against Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti (“Lauretti”) for illegally endorsing and promoting religion
and Shelton Police Chief Shawn Sequiro (“Sequiro”) for illegally endorsing and promoting
religion and failure to enforce federal immigration law. Sequiro has moved to dismiss Count
Two of the complaint, on the grounds that Bloom lacks standing to bring that claim. For the
following reasons, I grant in part and deny in part Sequiro’s motion (Doc. #18).
Bloom commenced this action by filing a two-count pro se complaint on August 11,
2017. Compl., Doc. # 1. In Count One, he is suing Lauretti for “illegally endorsing/promoting
religion” by refusing to remove a sign with the message “God Bless Shelton Police” from
outside the Police Station. Id. at 3. In Count Two, he is suing Sequiro on two grounds: (1)
illegally endorsing/promoting religion because he is “aware of the illegal sign;” and (2) failure to
enforce federal immigration law. Id.
In support of his claim that Sequiro failed to enforce federal immigration law, Bloom
alleges the following. On June 2, 2017 he saw six “young [L]atino men” working in Shelton and
tried speaking with them, but there was a language barrier. Id.. Upon hearing one of the men
say “boss not here,” Bloom reported the crew to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”)
and Shelton Police. Id. He believed the men to be illegal aliens and “from what [he] had seen
and heard, a reasonable man could suspect that a crime was being committed.” Id. at 3-4.
Shelton Police refused to investigate and Bloom set up a meeting with Sequiro to discuss the
issue, but Sequiro did not show up for the meeting. Id. at 4. In his request for relief, Bloom
demands that Sequiro and the Shelton Police comply with federal immigration laws and policies.
Sequiro moved, on December 27, 2017, to dismiss the entirety of Count Two, arguing
that Bloom lacks sufficient standing to bring the claim. Mot. to Dismiss, Doc. # 18. He argues
only, though, that Bloom lacks standing to bring a claim that Sequiro has failed to enforce
federal immigration policies. Sequiro does not take issue with Bloom’s standing to bring a claim
regarding the sign outside of the Police Department against Lauretti (Count One) or Sequiro
(Count Two). Accordingly, both First Amendment claims may proceed.
In his motion to dismiss the immigration portion of Count Two, Sequiro argues that
Bloom has failed to sufficiently allege a “concrete or particular injury” that he has faced because
of Sequiro’s alleged failure to enforce immigration policies and failure to meet with Bloom.
Mem. Supp. Sequiro’s Mot. Dismiss, Doc. # 19, at 3. Additionally, Sequiro argues that “the
alleged failure of enforcement of federal immigration law is not [causally] connected to
[Sequiro’s] failure to meet with [Bloom].” Id. at 4. In response, Bloom argues that he has
suffered actual injury to his “patriotism as an American and a veteran” because of Sequiro’s
alleged refusal to enforce immigration laws.
Standard of Review
Standing relates to the subject matter jurisdiction of the court, and a motion to dismiss for
lack of standing is therefore properly brought under Rule 12(b)(1). Connecticut v. Physicians
Health Svcs. Of Conn., Inc., 287 F.3d 110, 114 (2d Cir. 2002). The Second Circuit has stated
that the district court should consider a challenge to subject matter jurisdiction before addressing
other grounds for dismissal. See Rhulen Agency, Inc. v. Alabama Ins. Guaranty Ass’n, 896 F.2d
674, 678 (2d Cir. 1990).
In order to establish standing, a plaintiff must satisfy three elements:
First, the plaintiff must have suffered an injury in fact—an invasion of a legally protected
interest which is (a) concrete and particularized . . . and (b) actual or imminent, not
conjectural or hypothetical. . . . Second, there must be a causal connection between the
injury and the conduct complained of—the injury has to be fairly … trace[able] to the
challenged action of the defendant, and not … the[e] result [of] the independent action of
some third party not before the court. . . . Third, it must be likely, as opposed to merely
speculative, that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision.
Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-61 (1992) (citations omitted) (footnote
omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted). The first element, requiring a showing that the
plaintiff suffered an “injury in fact” requires more than just “an injury to a cognizable interest.”
Id. at 563. The injury in fact element “requires that the party seeking review be himself among
the injured.” Id. It is not enough for a plaintiff to assert a general grievance about the
government, in which his only claimed injury is “to his and every citizen’s interest in proper
application” of the law. Id. at 573-74. A plaintiff lacks standing where the relief sought “no
more directly and tangibly benefits him than it does the public at large.” Id. at 574.
Here, the “legally protected interest” Bloom alleges is his perceived right as an American
citizen to have immigration laws be enforced by the police. He alleges that the improper
application of immigration law by Sequiro, or, rather, the non-application, invades upon his
perceived right. That alleged injury, however, is precisely the type that is insufficient to confer
standing upon a plaintiff. Lujan, 504 U.S. 573-74. He does not have standing to sue merely
because he is a citizen; standing requires something more than that, which he has not sufficiently
alleged. Accordingly, Bloom lacks the requisite standing necessary to bring a claim against
Sequiro for allegedly failing to enforce immigration laws.
Additionally, even if Bloom did have standing to bring the immigration claim, the claim
itself is deficient. In his complaint, a plaintiff is required to set forth a “short and plain statement
of the claim” in order to show that he is entitled to relief. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). “[A] plaintiff’s
obligation to provide the grounds of his entitle[ment] to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions[.]” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal quotation marks
omitted). A plaintiff must allege sufficient facts to “state a claim that is plausible on its face”
and allege that he has a “right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. Here, Bloom cannot
meet this standard for his claim that Sequiro has failed to enforce federal immigration law. As
support for his contention, Bloom relies on nothing more than two speculative assumptions: (1)
that the men he spoke to were undocumented immigrants; and (2) that, even if they were, their
presence necessarily meant that Sequiro was failing to enforce immigration law. Neither of
those two assumptions is supported by any factual allegations, and, accordingly, the claim is
For the reasons set forth above, I GRANT Sequiro’s Motion to Dismiss Count Two of
the Complaint as it relates to the immigration claim (doc. # 18) and DENY Sequiro’s Motion to
Dismiss Count Two to the extent he seeks to dismiss the claim against Sequiro for promoting
Dated at Bridgeport, Connecticut, this 8th day of February 2018.
/s/ STEFAN R. UNDERHILL
Stefan R. Underhill
United States District Judge
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