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AKI Family Limited Partnership v. City of San Marcos

November 21, 2006

AKI FAMILY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, A NEVADA LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, DBA LAKEVIEW MOBILE ESTATES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF SAN MARCOS, A MUNICIPALITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Jeffrey T. Miller United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION

Defendant moves to dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint ("FAC") pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendant contends that the FAC is barred by res judicata and even if it were not so barred, Plaintiff's claim has not yet ripened into a live controversy. The court ordered the motion submitted without oral argument pursuant to Local Rule 7.1(d)(1). After considering the parties' papers, the court hereby GRANTS the motion for the reasons set forth below.

Preliminarily, the court notes the following procedural wrinkle with respect to the present motion. Defendant filed its motion on October 11, 2006 and sought dismissal of the original complaint which, at that time, was the only complaint filed in this case. Plaintiff then filed a timely opposition and concurrently therewith, the FAC. Plaintiff contends that the FAC moots the present motion with respect to the ripeness issue, but does not address whether the res judicata issue is also rendered moot. Defendant's reply argues that the FAC does not moot the present motion and that the FAC should be dismissed for the same or similar reasons the original complaint should be dismissed as provided in Defendant's Memorandum of Points and Authorities. The court finds that the FAC does not moot the instant motion. The court disregards the original complaint for purposes of deciding the motion, focusing solely on the allegations contained in the FAC.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff AKI Family Limited Partnership ("Plaintiff") owns a mobile park in San Marcos, California. Plaintiff operates the park for senior citizens only, but now wants to change it into an all-ages park.

San Marcos Municipal Code § 16.04.070, enacted by popular vote as "Proposition T" in 1996, requires a mobile park owner to obtain the consent of the mobile park's residents before changing, adding to, deleting, or modifying the mobile park's rules and regulations. See Defs. Request for Judicial Notice, Ex. D. Resolution No. 2001-5721 outlines the specific procedures mobile park owners must follow in order to comply with Section 16.04.070. Id., Ex. E. After the Ordinances were enacted, Defendant filed a complaint pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure § 860 to determine their validity. Id., Ex. F. After publication notice was duly made, no one responded to the complaint and the state court entered judgment in favor of Defendants declaring the Ordinances legal and binding. Id., Exs. G, H.

On May 9, 2006, Plaintiff filed this complaint against defendant City of San Marcos ("Defendant") alleging that section 16.04.070 and Resolution No. 2001-5721 (together "the Ordinances") violate and are preempted by federal and state law. Defendant now moves to dismiss.

II. STANDARD FOR A MOTION TO DISMISS

Defendant brings this motion pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) and 12(b)6. Rule 12(b)(1) allows a court to dismiss a complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

A federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Article III's Cases and Controversies Clause when an action lacks sufficient ripeness to establish a concrete case or controversy. Thomas v. Union Carbide Agric. Products Co., 473 U.S. 568, 579 (1985).

Rule 12(b)(6) allows a court to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Such a dismissal can be based on either the lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dept., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988). In applying this standard, the court must treat all of the plaintiff's factual allegations as true. Experimental Eng'g, Inc. v. United Technologies Corp., 614 F.2d 1244, 1245 (9th Cir. 1980).

III. ANALYSIS

Defendant argues that the FAC is barred by res judicata because a California court has already entered judgment pursuant to an in rem validation proceeding under California Code of Civil Procedure §§ 860-70 that the Ordinances are legal and valid.

Defendant further argues that even if the FAC were not so barred, Plaintiff's claims lack the jurisdictional requirement of ripeness. This is so, Defendant contends, because Plaintiff has not yet availed itself of municipal procedures which would allow it to operate its mobile home park as an all-ages park so long ...


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