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DV-2022 Tbilisi Litigation FAQ

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DV-2022 Tbilisi Litigation FAQ

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DV-2022 Tbilisi Litigation FAQ

Why are we suing?

We are looking to assist individuals who have been selected in the DV-2022 program and have submitted all required documentation but are unable to get the State Department to complete processing on the case. This case is for DV-2022 selectees who have already been interviewed and have been put into administrative processing following the interview.  Please note that all plaintiffs should have already responded to any requests from the consulate for further documentation or information. If these cases are not adjudicated by September 30, 2022, the plaintiffs will lose out on their eligibility for a green card based on their selection.   

What is the legal basis for the suit?

The case is seeking a writ of mandamus based on inordinate delays by the State Department. A writ of mandamus is a judge’s order to the government to immediately adjudicate a case that has been unreasonably delayed. Because of the short time-frame left before the end of the fiscal year, we are seeking a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) to force immediate action by the government.

We also believe that USCIS’ delays are thwarting Congress’ intent that where there is demand, all Diversity Visas be used each year. We will request a judge reserve the unused green cards for issuance after October 1st if necessary.

What is the deadline to sign up for the case?

The closing signing up to be in the case will be 5 pm on Monday, September 5, 2022. To sign up before the deadline, plaintiffs must fill out their engagement letter, create a declaration, and make their legal fee payment.

What remedy is the lawsuit seeking? What does a win look like?

Simply speaking, we are seeking to force the government to immediately adjudicate the applications of the plaintiffs in our litigation. We hope the government will speed up the completion of individual cases even before we get in front of a judge to “moot out” plaintiffs. We’ve seen this in similar cases including our various other suits currently in the courts. For others, it will take the judge’s order for their cases to be adjudicated. If the government does not comply with the judge’s order, they risk being held in contempt.

We are also seeking an order from the judge that if the State Department does not meet the September 30th deadline to adjudicate all our plaintiffs’ cases, to reserve DV visas for issuance after 9/30/2022. This lawsuit cannot guarantee approval and if a case is deniable for grounds unrelated to the State Department’s delays, this case will not help.

Where is the case being filed?

We are still evaluating where the case will be filed.

How long will it take to get results?

We could start to see results soon once the case has been filed. That’s because the government often “moots out” cases and gets people out of the litigation by approving their cases quickly. We cannot guarantee that this will happen, of course. But we expect a decision on the TRO before September 30th. We plan on filing the case Friday, September 9th.

Will there be a risk of backlash if I participate in the case?

We have found over the years that the opposite tends to be the case – people who file a lawsuit are likely to get better treatment than people who don’t. Knowing that an applicant is not afraid to sue – something that is time consuming and expensive for the government to have to defend – usually means that the litigant will be treated respectfully. Note that we are filing to speed up processing on these cases. If a case has significant problems, suing the government is not going to solve that. In the 25 mass federal lawsuits we have filed over the past two years, we have not received a single report of retaliation against a plaintiff.

What are the odds of success?

Any lawyer who promises success in litigation is not serving a client well. Litigation is unpredictable by its nature and the State Department is fighting back hard in most of these cases. We also do not know which judge will be assigned to the case. We have had success when it comes to fighting similar cases and we also believe our arguments are strong and have been bolstered by what we have learned in those cases. So, we are optimistic. But we do not believe it is appropriate to quantify that. 

What is the charge to participate in the litigation?

We are charging $7,500 per principal applicant to participate in the case. There is no additional fee to include derivative family members who also have adjustments pending. The fee is a one-time charge, and we will not be billing for additional expenses and legal fees. The fee is due at the outset. We will be tracking our hours for this case and if someone who retains us withdraws shortly after submitting the representation agreement and payment, but before filing, we would be able to offer a partial refund.

However, once the complaint has been drafted and filed with the court all fees will be considered earned and no refunds will be issued after that point. Please note we are moving quickly on this lawsuit and aim to file the complaint on or before September 9th.

NOTE THAT WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO DECLINE TO PROCEED WITH THE CASE IF WE DO NOT HAVE 7 PLAINTIFFS WHO HAVE RETAINED US BY SEPTEMBER 5TH, 2022 . IF WE DECIDE NOT TO PROCEED BECAUSE OF THIS, WE WILL NOTIFY YOU SHORTLY AFTER SEPTEMBER 5TH AND WILL REFUND FEES IN FULL WITHIN 21 DAYS.

Also note that if the court does not agree to hear the case as a group action and it splits the mass case into individual suits in many different courts, we reserve the right to withdraw representation and/or offer a separate retainer agreement with additional fees for representation in individual cases in other jurisdictions.

How will communications work?

We will update our plaintiffs on our weekly livestream at 11 am central time every Tuesday and we will send out periodic emails.

We do NOT have the ability to discuss your individual case situations because of the tremendous time pressure in this case. You should hire a lawyer to represent you on your individual case if you need assistance, and you are welcome to hire any of the three firms co-counseling on this case if you need talk to an immigration lawyer and do not have counsel already. 

What if I already have a lawyer or have filed a mandamus case?

We are not representing you with respect to your individual case and cannot advise on your individual case strategy. If you are represented by counsel, you should talk about the pluses and minuses of joining the lawsuit and whether it makes sense for you. If you are already independently pursuing a mandamus action, you would not be able to be a plaintiff in this case.

What about my petitioner/employer? Do I need their participation or permission to participate in the case?

No. The green card application is your application, not your employer’s. You are welcome to discuss the case with your employer or petitioner and their immigration attorney, but they do not need to hire us or participate in the case.

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