Baz v. Department of Homeland Security

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DR. KHUSHNOOD ALI BAZ, Plaintiff, v. Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-01013 (CJN) U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, et al., Defendants. MEMORANDUM OPINION Dr. Khushnood Ali Baz challenges the government’s alleged placement of him on the No-Fly List. See generally Am. Compl., Dkt. 21. Defendants move to dismiss, arguing both that Baz lacks Article III standing and that his Amended Complaint fails to state a claim. See generally Defs.’ Mem. in Supp. of Their Mot. to Dismiss Pl.’s Am. Compl., Dkt. 27 (“Mot.”). The Court agrees that Baz lacks Article III standing and will grant Defendants’ Motion. I. Background Baz is a Pakistani citizen who resides in Peshawar, Pakistan. Am. Compl. ¶ 15. He alleges that, for forty years prior to the events relevant to this lawsuit, he traveled frequently to the United States, attending conferences, completing medical internships, and visiting friends and relatives without incident. See id. ¶¶ 54–67. But that ended in February 2016 when Baz was not permitted to board a flight from Toronto to Detroit (after he had flown to Toronto from Pakistan via Dubai). See id. ¶¶ 70–71. 1 Believing that he was on the No-Fly List,1 Baz completed a Traveler Inquiry Form and submitted it, together with supporting documentation, to the Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (“DHS TRIP”), a redress program administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for individuals who think they have been incorrectly included on the No-Fly List. See id. ¶¶ 44–49, 74. DHS responded by providing Baz with a Redress Control Number2 for him to use whenever he made travel reservations with flights into the United States, but DHS did not tell him whether he in fact was on the No-Fly List. Id. ¶ 75. Baz planned another trip to the United States in 2017. See id. ¶ 79. Before leaving Pakistan, Baz advised DHS TRIP of his travel plans and provided it with his Redress Control Number. Id. ¶ 77. DHS’s response stated that Baz should “provide [his Redress Control Number] when making reservations” and that “[w]hen entering the United States from abroad, no additional action is required,” but again DHS did not tell him whether he was on the No-Fly List. Id. ¶ 78. In March 2017, Baz traveled from Pakistan to Dubai but was not permitted to board a connecting flight to Orlando. See id. ¶ 80. Baz again contacted DHS TRIP, inquiring why he had not been informed earlier that he could not fly into the United States. Id. ¶ 81. DHS’s response did not provide specific information about Baz’s No-Fly List status or answer this question, but instead stated that “DHS has researched and reviewed [his] case” and that “DHS 1 The No-Fly List “identifies individuals who are prohibited from flying to, from, or over U.S. territory,” Am. Compl. ¶ 31, and is “a subset of the Watch List,” id., which “is the government’s master repository of known or suspected terrorists,” id. ¶ 29. 2 “The Redress Control ...

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