Hughes v. City of Cedar Rapids

Decision Date02 July 2015
Docket NumberNo. 14–CV–111–LRR.,14–CV–111–LRR.
Citation112 F.Supp.3d 817
Parties Gary HUGHES et al., Plaintiffs, v. CITY OF CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa & Gatso USA, Inc., Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of Iowa

James C. Larew, Larew Law Office, Iowa City, IA, Claire M. Diallo, Browne, Diallo & Roy, LLP, Princeton Junction, NJ, for Plaintiffs.

James H. Flitz, Cedar Rapids Attorney's Office, Paul David Burns, Laura Michelle Hyer, Bradley & Riley, Elizabeth D. Jacobi, Cedar Rapids, IA, for Defendants.

ORDER

LINDA R. READE, Chief Judge.

TABLE OF CONTENTS I.INTRODUCTION  825II.PROCEDURAL HISTORY  825III.SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION  825IV.STANDARD OF REVIEW  825V.FACTUAL BACKGROUND  826A.Traffic Camera System  826B.Plaintiffs  8271.Gary Hughes  8272.Arash Yarpezeshkan, Edward G. Robinson and James Louis Sparks  8273.Krisanne M. Duhaime and Gerald Reid Duhaime  8284.David Mazgaj  8285.Susan M. Dumbaugh  8286.Jerry Northrup  8287.Daniel Ray French and Jeffrey V. Stimpson  8288.Roger L. Lee  828VI.ANALYSIS  828A.Standing of Gary Hughes, David Mazgaj and Roger L. Lee  8281.Parties' arguments  8282.Applicable law  8293.Application  829a.Gary Hughes  829b.David Mazgaj  831c.Roger L. Lee  832B.Procedural Due Process Claim Standing  8321.Parties' arguments  8322.Applicable law  8333.Analysis  834C.Mootness of Susan M. Dumbaugh's Claims  835D.Failure to State a Claim for Which Relief Can Be Granted  8361.Waiver  836a.Parties' arguments  836b.Applicable law  837c.Analysis  8372.Substantive due process  838a.Parties' arguments  838b.Applicable law  838   c.Analysis  8403.Equal protection  841a.Parties' arguments  841b.Applicable law  841c.Analysis  8424.Privileges and immunities  843a.Parties' arguments  843b.Applicable law  843c.Analysis  8445.Department of Transportation rules  845a.Parties' arguments  845b.Applicable law  845c.Analysis  8466.Unjust enrichment  848E.Plaintiffs' Remaining Claims  848VII.CONCLUSION  849
I. INTRODUCTION

The matter before the court is Defendants City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Gatso USA, Inc.'s (collectively, "Defendants") "Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint" ("Motion to Dismiss") (docket no. 19).

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On September 2, 2014, Plaintiffs filed a Class Action Petition in the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Iowa, Case No. EQCV081602. Class Action Petition (docket no. 2–2). On October 3, 2014, Defendants removed the case to this court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction. See Joint Notice of Removal (docket no. 2). On December 17, 2014, Plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint (docket no. 18). On January 5, 2015, Defendants filed the Motion to Dismiss. On February 2, 2015, Plaintiffs filed a Resistance (docket no. 28). On February 12, 2015, Defendants filed a Reply (docket no. 29). Neither party requests oral argument on the Motion to Dismiss, and the court finds that oral argument is unnecessary. The Motion to Dismiss is fully submitted and ready for decision.

III. SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION

The court has federal question jurisdiction over Plaintiffs' claims because they arise under the United States Constitution. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331 ("The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.").

The court has supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs' state-law claims because they are so related to the claims over which the court has federal question jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy.1 See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a) ("[T]he district courts shall have supplemental jurisdiction over all other claims that are so related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy....").

IV. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) provides for dismissal on the basis of "lack of subject-matter jurisdiction." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) ; see also Cmty. Fin. Grp., Inc. v. Republic of Kenya, 663 F.3d 977, 979 (8th Cir.2011). "To establish constitutional standing, the ‘person invoking the power of a federal court must’ ‘prove that he has suffered a concrete and particularized injury that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct, and is likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision.’ " Hutterville Hutterian Brethren, Inc. v. Sveen, 776 F.3d 547, 553–54 (8th Cir.2015) (quoting Hollingsworth v. Perry, 570 U.S. ––––, ––––, 133 S.Ct. 2652, 2661, 186 L.Ed.2d 768 (2013) ).

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for dismissal on the basis of "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter ... to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’ " Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) ); accord B & B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Indus., Inc., 569 F.3d 383, 387 (8th Cir.2009). A claim satisfies the plausibility standard "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556, 127 S.Ct. 1955 ). "The plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement,’ but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556, 127 S.Ct. 1955 ).

Although a plaintiff need not provide "detailed" facts in support of his or her allegations, the "short and plain statement" requirement of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2)"demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 ) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007) ("Specific facts are not necessary [under Rule 8(a)(2) ]."). "A pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.’ " Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 ). "Where the allegations show on the face of the complaint [that] there is some insuperable bar to relief, dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate." Benton v. Merrill Lynch & Co., 524 F.3d 866, 870 (8th Cir.2008) (citing Parnes v. Gateway 2000, Inc., 122 F.3d 539, 546 (8th Cir.1997) ).

V. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Viewed in the light most favorable to Plaintiffs, the facts are as follows:

A. Traffic Camera System

In 2011, Defendant City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa ("City") implemented an Automated Traffic Enforcement ("ATE") system pursuant to the Cedar Rapids Code of Ordinances. See Cedar Rapids, Iowa Code of Ordinances § 61.138. The City contracted with Defendant Gatso USA, Inc. ("Gatso") to assist the city in installing and operating the ATE system.

Under the ATE system, a camera captures an image of a vehicle either failing to stop at a red light or traveling faster than the posted speed limit. The City then mails a "Notice of Violation" to the registered owner of the vehicle, as required by the Cedar Rapids Code of Ordinances. See id. § 61.138(d)(1). A Notice of Violation informs the registered owner of the vehicle of the violation. See, e.g., Notice of Violation (docket no. 19–2) at 4. The Notice of Violation informs the registered owner of the vehicle that he or she may either waive the right to a hearing by paying the civil penalty or contest the violation. See id. at 5.

The Notice of Violation states that a vehicle owner who is a resident of the state of Iowa may contest the violation in person at an administrative hearing. See id. A nonresident may contest the violation by filling out a form found at www.viewviolation.com and mailing it to a violation processing center in New York. See id. The Notice of Violation also states that the vehicle's owner "may view the city ordinance at ... http://www.cedar-rapids.org." Id.

The ordinance provides that a person charged with an automated traffic citation may challenge such citation in two ways:

1. By submitting in a form specified by the City a request for an administrative hearing to be held at the Cedar Rapids Police Department before an administrative appeals board (the "Board") consisting of one or more impartial fact finders. Such a request must be filed within 30 days from the date on which Notice of the violation is sent to the Vehicle Owner. After a hearing, the Board may either uphold or dismiss the Automated Traffic Citation, and shall mail its written decision within 10 days after the hearing, to the address provided on the request for hearing. If the citation is upheld, then the Board shall include in its written decision a date by which the fine must be paid, and on or before that date, the Vehicle Owner shall either pay the fine or submit a request pursuant to the next paragraph, (e.)(2.).
2. By submitting in a form specified by the City a request that in lieu of the Automated Traffic Citation, a municipal infraction citation be issued and filed with the Small Claims Division of the Iowa District Court in Linn County. Such a request must be filed within 30 days from the date on which Notice of the violation is sent to the Vehicle Owner. Such a request will result in a court order requiring the Vehicle Owner to file an answer and appearance with the Clerk of Court, as well as setting the matter for trial before a judge or magistrate. If the Court finds the Vehicle Owner guilty of the municipal infraction, state mandated court costs will be added to the amount of the fine imposed by this section.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa Code of Ordinances § 61.138(e). If a vehicle owner elects to have an administrative hearing and loses at such hearing, the City sends a second notice called a Notice of Determination. In such...

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