Kerpen v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth., 1:16cv1307 (JCC/TCB)

CourtUnited States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
Writing for the CourtJames C. Cacheris, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
Docket Number1:16cv1307 (JCC/TCB)
Parties Phil KERPEN, Individually and on behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, et al., Plaintiffs, v. METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON AIRPORTS AUTHORITY, et al., Defendants.
Decision Date30 May 2017

260 F.Supp.3d 567

Phil KERPEN, Individually and on behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON AIRPORTS AUTHORITY, et al., Defendants.

1:16cv1307 (JCC/TCB)

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division.

Signed May 30, 2017


Gene C. Schaerr, Stuart Kyle Duncan, Pro Hac Vice, Schaerr Duncan LLP, Washington, DC, Robert J. Cynkar, McSweeney Cynkar & Kachouroff PLLC, Christopher I. Kachouroff, Pro Hac Vice, Woodbridge, VA, Patrick Michael McSweeney, Pro Hac Vice, McSweeney Cynkar & Kachouroff PLLC, Powhatan, VA, for Plaintiffs.

Leslie W. Kostyshak, Hunton & Williams LLP, Washington, DC, Sona Rewari, Pro Hac Vice, Hunton & Williams, McLean, VA, Dennis Carl Barghaan, Jr., Kimere Jane Kimball, Lauren A. Wetzler, United States Attorney's Office, Alexandria, VA, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

James C. Cacheris, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

This matter is before the Court on the Motions for Partial Summary Judgment [Dkt. 46] and for Leave to File Supplemental Authority [Dkt. 127] filed by Plaintiffs Phil Kerpen, Cathy Ruse, Austin Ruse, Charlotte Sellier, Joel Sellier, and Michael Gingras. Also before the Court are the Motions to Dismiss filed by Defendants Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (WMAA) [Dkts. 90, 91], the District of Columbia [Dkt. 94], Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, and the U.S. Department Of Transportation [Dkts. 85, 86]. Although not a party, the Commonwealth of Virginia has filed a Brief Amicus Curiae in Support of Dismissal [Dkt. 83–1].

Plaintiffs—individuals who "ha[ve] used, and continue[ ] to use" the facilities at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport, and who pay tolls on the Dulles toll road, Am. Compl. [Dkt. 37] ¶¶ 17–22—filed this putative class action on July 5, 2016. The putative class includes "all persons or entities in the United States who used the facilities located on or within the premises" at National and Dulles "leased to MWAA ... and from whom MWAA has exacted a fee, charge, toll or other similar payment from November 2008 to present." Id. ¶ 78.

Plaintiffs challenge MWAA's authority on a variety of constitutional and statutory grounds. Broadly speaking, Plaintiffs contend that (1) MWAA results from an unlawful interstate compact between Virginia

260 F.Supp.3d 571

and the District of Columbia (Counts I—II); (2) the federal government has improperly delegated federal power to MWAA (Counts III—V); (3) the tolls charged by MWAA are illegal exactions (Count VI); (4) MWAA has contravened the lease, and the related federal law, under which it maintains properties owned by the federal government (Counts VII—VIII); (5) MWAA and the federal government have both violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) (Counts IX—X); and (6) MWAA has violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count XI). For the following reasons, the Court will grant Defendants' Motions to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim, deny Plaintiffs' Motions for Partial Summary Judgment and for Leave to File Supplemental Authority, and dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint with prejudice pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).

I. Background

Facts drawn from the allegations of and exhibits to Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint [Dkt. 38] are taken as true for purposes of Defendants' Motions, insofar as those Motions are brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. v. Kolon Indus., Inc. , 637 F.3d 435, 440 (4th Cir. 2011). In addition to Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint, the Court considers matters of public record subject to judicial notice, see Philips v. Pitt Cty. Mem'l Hosp. , 572 F.3d 176, 180 (4th Cir. 2009), and cited by Defendants without objection by Plaintiffs.

A. MWAA's Origins

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport are two of three major airports serving the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Am. Compl. [Dkt. 37] ¶ 26. Both are located in Virginia, id. , and are "the only two major commercial airports owned by the Federal Government." Metro. Washington Airports Auth. v. Citizens for Abatement of Aircraft Noise, Inc. , 501 U.S. 252, 256, 111 S.Ct. 2298, 115 L.Ed.2d 236 (1991) ( CAAN ).

Originally, both National and Dulles were managed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Am. Compl. [Dkt. 37] ¶ 26. Eventually, however, "the Secretary of Transportation concluded that necessary capital improvements could not be financed for either National or Dulles unless control of the airports was transferred to a regional authority with power to raise money by selling tax-exempt bonds." CAAN , 501 U.S. at 257, 111 S.Ct. 2298. In 1984, a commission made up primarily of local, state, and federal representatives from Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia—deemed "the parties principally interested in the operation" of the airports—was tasked with "developing a proposal for transferring" the airports "from federal ownership to a state, local or interstate public entity." 131 Cong. Rec. S9608, S9609 (Apr. 26, 1986).1 The commission ultimately determined that "Washington

260 F.Supp.3d 572

National and Washington Dulles International Airports should be transferred by ... Congress to a single, independent public authority to be created jointly by the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia[.]" 131 Cong. Rec. S9608.

In accordance with this plan, Virginia and the District of Columbia enacted reciprocal legislation creating MWAA in 1985. See D.C. Code §§ 9–901, et seq. ; Va. Code §§ 5.1–152, et seq ; see also Am. Compl. [Dkt. 37] ¶ 28. MWAA was constituted as an independent public body governed by an 11–member board, later expanded to 17 members with "seven appointed by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, four appointed by the Mayor of the District of Columbia, three appointed by the Governor of the State of Maryland, and three appointed by the President of the United States." D.C. Code § 9–904 ; Va. Code § 5.1–155. Virginia and the District individually and jointly conferred "powers and jurisdiction" upon the MWAA, D.C. Code § 9–902 ; Va. Code § 5.1–153, as were necessary to manage, fund, and develop National and Dulles. See D.C. Code § 9–905 ; Va. Code § 5.1–156.

The following year, Congress passed the Metropolitan Washington Airports Act of 1986, codified as 49 U.S.C. §§ 49101, et seq. (Transfer Act). This gave the agreement between the District of Columbia and Virginia the status of federal law. See Tarrant Reg'l Water Dist. v. Herrmann , ––– U.S. ––––, 133 S.Ct. 2120, 2130 n.8, 186 L.Ed.2d 153 (2013). The Transfer Act recognized the "continuing but limited [federal] interest in the operation of" the airports, as well as the "important and growing" role the airports played in "the commerce, transportation, and economic patterns of Virginia, the District of Columbia, and the surrounding region." 49 U.S.C. § 49101(1), (3). In light of the "perceived limited need for a Federal role in the management of these airports and the growing local interest," the Act sought to achieve "a transfer of authority from the Federal to the local/State level that is consistent with the management of major airports elsewhere in the United States." Id. § 49101(7).

Congress found that the federal government's interest could be adequately safeguarded "through a lease mechanism which provides for local control and operation" of the two airports. Id. § 49101(10). Accordingly, the Act authorized the Secretary of Transportation to lease the two airports, "including access highways and other related facilities," id. § 49102, to MWAA as long as MWAA met certain criteria. See id. § 49106. The Transfer Act further prescribed minimum terms to be included in the lease. See id. § 49104. Among other things, the Transfer Act provided that MWAA would "assume responsibility for the [FAA]'s Master Plans for the Metropolitan Washington Airports," id. § 49104(a)(6)(A), which contemplated an extension of the existing Washington Metrorail system to Dulles. See Federal Defs. Exh. 1 [Dkt. 88–1] at 2, 123–24, 131. "On March 2, 1987, the Secretary of Transportation and MWAA entered into a long-term lease complying with all of the conditions specified in the then recently enacted Transfer Act." CAAN , 501 U.S. at 261, 111 S.Ct. 2298.

The Transfer Act also initially provided for a Board of Review composed of nine members of Congress, which was empowered to veto decisions made by MWAA's Board of Directors. See CAAN , 501 U.S. at 255, 111 S.Ct. 2298. The Supreme Court held this to be an unconstitutional encroachment by Congress on the sphere of the executive. See id. at 277, 111 S.Ct. 2298. Congress attempted to modify and reconstitute the Board of Review, but this second attempt was likewise held to be

260 F.Supp.3d 573

unconstitutional. See Hechinger v. MWAA , 36 F.3d 97 (D.C. Cir. 1994). Accordingly, MWAA is now governed solely by its 17–member Board.

The federal government, however, maintains a limited degree of control over the airports through the Secretary of Transportation. The Transfer Act provides that "[i]f the Secretary decides that any part of the real property...

To continue reading

Request your trial
5 practice notes
  • Kerpen v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth., No. 17-1735
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • October 22, 2018
    ...Lease by using toll revenues to build the Silver Line. The district court dismissed all claims. Kerpen v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth. , 260 F.Supp.3d 567, 588 (E.D.Va 2017). Applying Lebron v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation , 513 U.S. 374, 115 S.Ct. 961, 130 L.Ed.2d 902 (1995), the......
  • Am. Trucking Ass'ns, Inc. v. Alviti, No. 19-1316
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • December 5, 2019
    ...348 F.3d 315, 320 (1st Cir. 2003) ; Wallach v. Brezenoff, 930 F.2d 1070, 1072 (3d Cir. 1991) ; Kerpen v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth., 260 F. Supp. 3d 567, 574 (E.D. Va. 2017) ; AAA Ne. v. Port Auth. of N.Y. & N.J., 221 F. Supp. 3d 374, 382 (S.D.N.Y. 2016) ; Klein v. Flanery, 439 S.W.3d 107,......
  • Schindler Elevator Corp. v. Wash. Metro. Area Transit Auth., Civil Action No. 20-3157 (RC)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • December 23, 2020
    ...state cooperative agreement in which the member States have agreed to work in coordination"); Kerpen v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth. , 260 F. Supp. 3d 567, 586–87 (E.D. Va. 2017) (holding interstate airport authority was not "subject to the APA" because it was "not a federal instrumentality"......
  • Schindler Elevator Corp. v. Wash. Metro. Area Transit Auth., Civil Action No.: 20-3157 (RC)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • December 23, 2020
    ...cooperative agreement in which the member States have agreed to work in coordination"); Kerpen v. Metro.Page 9 Wash. Airports Auth., 260 F. Supp. 3d 567, 586-87 (E.D. Va. 2017) (holding interstate airport authority was not "subject to the APA" because it was "not a federal instrumentality")......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • Kerpen v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth., No. 17-1735
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • October 22, 2018
    ...Lease by using toll revenues to build the Silver Line. The district court dismissed all claims. Kerpen v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth. , 260 F.Supp.3d 567, 588 (E.D.Va 2017). Applying Lebron v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation , 513 U.S. 374, 115 S.Ct. 961, 130 L.Ed.2d 902 (1995), the......
  • Am. Trucking Ass'ns, Inc. v. Alviti, No. 19-1316
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • December 5, 2019
    ...348 F.3d 315, 320 (1st Cir. 2003) ; Wallach v. Brezenoff, 930 F.2d 1070, 1072 (3d Cir. 1991) ; Kerpen v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth., 260 F. Supp. 3d 567, 574 (E.D. Va. 2017) ; AAA Ne. v. Port Auth. of N.Y. & N.J., 221 F. Supp. 3d 374, 382 (S.D.N.Y. 2016) ; Klein v. Flanery, 439 S.W.3d 107,......
  • Schindler Elevator Corp. v. Wash. Metro. Area Transit Auth., Civil Action No. 20-3157 (RC)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • December 23, 2020
    ...state cooperative agreement in which the member States have agreed to work in coordination"); Kerpen v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth. , 260 F. Supp. 3d 567, 586–87 (E.D. Va. 2017) (holding interstate airport authority was not "subject to the APA" because it was "not a federal instrumentality"......
  • Schindler Elevator Corp. v. Wash. Metro. Area Transit Auth., Civil Action No.: 20-3157 (RC)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • December 23, 2020
    ...cooperative agreement in which the member States have agreed to work in coordination"); Kerpen v. Metro.Page 9 Wash. Airports Auth., 260 F. Supp. 3d 567, 586-87 (E.D. Va. 2017) (holding interstate airport authority was not "subject to the APA" because it was "not a federal instrumentality")......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT