John Doe v. George Dordoni

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PUBLICATION File Name: 20a0171n.06 No. 19-6016 UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT FILED Mar 25, 2020 JOHN DOE, ) DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk ) Plaintiff-Appellant, ) ON APPEAL FROM THE ) UNITED STATES DISTRICT v. ) COURT FOR THE WESTERN ) DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY GEORGE DORDONI, Individually ) ) Defendant-Appellee ) BEFORE: GRIFFIN, WHITE, and NALBANDIAN, Circuit Judges. HELENE N. WHITE, Circuit Judge. Plaintiff-Appellant John Doe1 appeals from an order granting official immunity to Appellee George Dordoni, a Senior International Student and Scholar Advisor at the WKU International Student Office, and dismissing Doe’s complaint. The district court concluded that Dordoni was entitled to official immunity because the acts he performed in advising Doe were discretionary. Because we conclude that Dordoni’s actions were ministerial, he is not entitled to official immunity, and we REVERSE and REMAND for further proceedings. I. Doe was born in Saudi Arabia, moved with his family to Islamabad, Pakistan, and eventually became a Pakistani citizen. Although his parents are devout Muslims and Doe was 1 The district court allowed Doe to proceed pseudonymously due to his fear of religious persecution. No. 19-6016, Doe v. Dordoni raised in strict adherence to Islam, Doe befriended a Pakistani Christian and became interested in converting to Christianity. In 2013, Doe came to the United States to pursue an engineering degree at Western Kentucky University (“WKU”).2 After arriving, Doe began attending Christian services. Although he initially kept his interest in Christianity a secret, after some time Doe informed his uncle, who later conveyed this information to Doe’s father. This caused Doe’s father to withdraw his financial support. Doe’s father later requested that Doe return to Saudi Arabia because Doe’s father and mother were separating, and his father had an important hearing. Doe’s new financial difficulties and the stress occasioned by the news of his parents’ separation led him to seek Dordoni’s advice about taking a leave of absence while maintaining his status as a student. Following Dordoni’s advice, Doe applied for and was granted a medical leave of absence for the Spring 2015 semester. Before leaving for Saudi Arabia, Doe consulted with Dordoni again. Because of his medical leave of absence, Doe was unsure of his immigration status and wanted to confirm that he could “get back in the country if [he left.]” R. 84-2, PID 499. Dordoni responded that if Doe obtained a corrected3 letter from the counseling center authorizing the leave of absence, Doe “would be able to take a brief leave from the [United States] for the purpose [he described] and return without any entry issues.” Id. at PID 501. Doe obtained that corrected letter and later emailed Dordoni to ask about obtaining a “travel I-20” and a verification letter attesting to Doe’s 2 International students studying in the United States are given a Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant (F-1) Student status). “An I-20 is a document that certifies an international student is currently enrolled at an American university and is ...

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