Kingman Park Civic Ass'n v. Gray, Civil Action No. 13–990 CKK

CourtUnited States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
Citation27 F.Supp.3d 142
Docket NumberCivil Action No. 13–990 CKK
PartiesKingman Park Civic Association, Plaintiff, v. Vincent C. Gray, Defendant.
Decision Date14 May 2014

27 F.Supp.3d 142

Kingman Park Civic Association, Plaintiff
v.
Vincent C. Gray, Defendant.

Civil Action No. 13–990 CKK

United States District Court, District of Columbia.

Signed May 14, 2014


27 F.Supp.3d 148

Frazer Walton, Jr., Law Office of Frazer Walton, Jr., Washington, DC, for Plaintiff.

Alicia Marie Cullen, Chad Alan Naso, Office of Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Washington, DC, for Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

COLLEEN KOLLAR–KOTELLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Plaintiff Kingman Park Civic Association (“Kingman Park”) filed suit against Vincent C. Gray in his official capacity as the Mayor of the District of Columbia, challenging aspects of the District's plan to construct a streetcar line in the northeast quadrant of the District. Presently before the Court is Defendant's [29] Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint or, in the alternative, for Summary Judgment and Plaintiff's [33] Motion to Stay and for Reconsideration of the Court's Order Denying

27 F.Supp.3d 149

Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File a Second Amended Complaint. Upon consideration of the pleadings,1 the relevant legal authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court finds that Plaintiff has standing to challenge the streetcar-related construction on the campus of Spingarn Senior High School, but not the installation of overhead streetcar wires in the Kingman Park neighborhood. However, all counts, except Counts II and VI, of Plaintiff's Complaint must be dismissed because Plaintiff has failed to state a claim for relief or a claim over which this Court has jurisdiction regarding the construction on the Spingarn campus. The Court holds Counts II and VI in abeyance pending Defendant's production of certain documents related to the environmental impact of construction on Spingarn Senior High School. The Court also finds that Plaintiff cannot be granted leave to amend its Amended Complaint to include a Clean Air Act claim because it failed to meet the Clean Air Act's strict pre-suit notice requirements. Accordingly, Defendant's [29] Motion to Dismiss or, in the alternative, for Summary Judgment is GRANTED IN PART and HELD IN ABEYANCE IN PART and Plaintiff's [33] Motion to Stay and for Reconsideration of the Court's Order Denying Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File a Second Amended Complaint is DENIED.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

For the purposes of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, the Court presumes the following facts pled in Plaintiff's Amended Complaint to be true, as required when considering a motion to dismiss.2 See Atherton v. D.C. Office of the Mayor, 567 F.3d 672, 681 (D.C.Cir.2009). The District of Columbia intends to construct a streetcar network extending across 37 miles. Am. Compl. ¶ 10. On or about March 31, 2011, the D.C. Council passed and approved the “Transportation Infrastructure Amendment Act of 2010,” D.C.Code § 9–1171, permitting “Aerial Wires for Streetcars” for the streetcar transit line running along H Street and Benning Road in the northeast quadrant of the District. Id. ¶ 17. Around December 2011, the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (“DDOT”) decided to build a “car barn” on the grounds of Spingarn Senior High School (“Spingarn campus”), located on the 2500 block of Benning Road, Northeast.

27 F.Supp.3d 150

Id . ¶¶ 13, 18. The car barn will be used to house streetcars while not in operation and will also serve as an operations and maintenance facility. Id . ¶ 14. An electrical substation was also proposed to be constructed on the Spingarn campus.3 Id. ¶ 20. Plaintiff and Advisory Neighborhood Commission (“ANC”) 5B Commissioner Bernice Blacknell, whose ANC district includes Spingarn Senior High School, were not notified of DDOT's decision to construct on the Spingarn campus in December 2011. Id . ¶ 18. ANC Commissioner Blacknell was first informed of the proposed construction on the grounds of Spingarn campus in March 2012 at an ANC meeting. Id . ¶ 21. Shortly thereafter, ANC 5B Commissioner Blacknell objected to proposed construction plans and requested the District not construct on the grounds of Spingarn High School. Id. ¶ 22. ANC Commissioner Blacknell also submitted a citizens petition to the District in opposition to the proposed construction on Spingarn campus. Id.

In September 2012, Plaintiff filed an application with the District for the historic landmark designation of Spingarn Senior High School. Id. ¶ 29. In October 2012, ANC 5B issued a resolution sent to the D.C. Historic Preservation Board (“Preservation Review Board”) indicating the Commission's support of Plaintiff's application for historic designation of Spingarn High School and informing the Preservation Review Board of citizen opposition to construction of a car barn on the grounds of the Spingarn campus. Id. ¶ 24 (citing Compl., Pl.'s Ex. 5). In November 2012, the Preservation Review Board accepted Spingarn Senior High School as the site for the new car barn. Id. ¶ 31. Later that same month, the Preservation Review Board designated Spingarn High School as an historic landmark in the District of Columbia Inventory of Historic Sites. Id . ¶ 32. On April 4, 2013, the Preservation Review Board unanimously approved the concept for the streetcar car barn and training center on the Spingarn campus. Id. ¶ 33. On May 2, 2013, the Preservation Review Board gave final approval to the concept and plans for the construction of a car barn and training center on the Spingarn campus. Id. ¶ 36.

B. Procedural History

Plaintiff Kingman Park Civic Association—an unincorporated neighborhood civic association whose members are residents of the Kingman Park neighborhood in Northeast Washington, D.C.—filed suit on June 28, 2013, against District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray in his official capacity challenging the District's plan to construct the streetcar line in the northeast quadrant of the District. Specifically, Plaintiff challenges the construction of the overhead street car wires on H Street and Benning Road and the car barn on the Spingarn campus as violating the Fifth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, the National Historic Preservation Act, the District of Columbia's Comprehensive Plan, District of Columbia Zoning laws, the District of Columbia Environmental Policy Act of 1989, the Federal–Aid Highway Program, the U.S. Department of Transportation Act of 1966, the District of Columbia Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act of 1978,

27 F.Supp.3d 151

D.C.Code § 1–309.10(a)'s “great weight” requirement, and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act. The same day Plaintiff filed suit, Plaintiff also filed a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction. See ECF No. [2]. Plaintiff filed an Amended Motion for Temporary Restraining Order on July 5, 2013, see ECF No. [5], and an Amended Complaint on July 9, 2013, see ECF No. [7]. On July 29, 2013, the Court denied Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and for Preliminary Injunction on the basis that Plaintiff was not likely to succeed on the merits of its claims, nor suffer irreparable injury absent emergency relief, and because the balance of the equities did not favor injunctive relief. See July 29, 2013, Order & Mem. Op., ECF Nos. [16] & [17].

On August 2, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to File a Second Amended Complaint seeking to include a Clean Air Act (“CAA”) claim and a Fair Housing Act claim. See ECF No. [19]. Before the Court ruled on Plaintiff's motion to amend, Plaintiff withdrew its CAA claim, acknowledging that it failed to satisfy the CAA's pre-suit notice requirements. See ECF No. [24], at 1. On August 26, 2013, the Court denied Plaintiff leave to amend its Complaint to include a Fair Housing Act claim. See Aug. 26, 2013, Order & Mem. Op., ECF Nos. [26] & [27]. Four days later, Defendant filed the present Motion to Dismiss or, in the alternative, for Summary Judgment. See ECF No. [29]. Defendant moves the Court to dismiss all ten counts of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint for lack of standing or, alternatively, failure to state a claim. Following the completion of briefing of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss or, in the alternative, for Summary Judgment, Plaintiff filed a motion moving the Court to reconsider its denial of Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint and to stay Defendant's Motion to Dismiss or, in the alternative, for Summary Judgment pending the Court's decision on Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration. See ECF No. [33]. Although Plaintiff claims to be moving the Court to reconsider its prior decision, Plaintiff only seeks leave to amend its Amended Complaint to include the CAA claim which the Court never denied, but Plaintiff voluntarily withdrew. Accordingly, Plaintiff's “Motion for Reconsideration” is in actuality no more than an additional motion for leave to file a second amended complaint. As the parties have fully briefed Plaintiff's “Motion for Reconsideration,” the Court will now consider the propriety of permitting Plaintiff leave to amend its Amended Complaint to include a CAA claim. Since the Court denies Plaintiff leave to...

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3 cases
  • Kingman Park Civic Ass'n v. Gray, Civil Action No. 13–990 (CKK)
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • May 14, 2014
    ...27 F.Supp.3d 142Kingman Park Civic Association, Plaintiff,v.Vincent C. Gray, Defendant.Civil Action No. 13–990 (CKK)United States District Court, District of Columbia.Signed May 14, Mayor's motion granted in part and held in abeyance in part; association's motion denied. [27 F.Supp.3d 148] ......
  • Lewis v. Gov't of D.C., Civil Action No. 15-521 (JEB)
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • December 7, 2015
    ...See Opp. at 17. But because that claim is newly presented, the Court will not address it here. See, e.g. , Kingman Park Civic Ass'n v. Gray , 27 F.Supp.3d 142, 160 n. 7 (D.D.C.2014) (“It is well settled law that a plaintiff cannot amend his or her complaint by the briefs in opposition to a ......
  • Kelleher v. Dream Catcher, L.L.C., Case No. 1:16–cv–02092 (APM)
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • August 15, 2017
    ...rule that "a plaintiff cannot amend his or her complaint by the briefs in opposition to a motion to dis miss." Park Civic Ass'n v. Gray, 27 F.Supp.3d 142, 160 n.7 (D.D.C. 2014). ...

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