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AKI Family Limited Partnership v. City of San Marcos

February 23, 2007

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 THE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION AND WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND

In its Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges two causes of action arising under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq.*fn1 Pending before the court is Defendant's motion to dismiss the SAC in its entirety pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) on the ground that the SAC fails to allege a ripe controversy.

I. BACKGROUND

The following allegations are accepted as true for purposes of the motion. Whisnant v. United States, 400 F.3d 1177, 1179 (9th Cir. 2005). Plaintiff owns a seniors-only mobile park called Lakeview Mobile Estates ("Lakeview" or "the park") in defendant City of San Marcos. Plaintiff desires to convert Lakeview into an all-ages park. On around April 19, 2006, Plaintiff gave written notice to all Lakeview residents of a proposed amendment to the park's rules and regulations which would allow residents of any age to live at the park. SAC ¶ 11. At the time of notice, Plaintiff was aware of the existence of a resident homeowner's association ("HOA") consisting of certain Lakeview residents, but was not aware of any other park committees. Id. ¶12. Thereafter, 85% of the residents signed a petition protesting the proposed amendment. This petition was served on Plaintiff on around August 3, 2006 during an all-residents meeting. Id. ¶ 16. Every resident at the meeting expressed opposition to the proposed amendment and threatened Plaintiff with legal action. Id. ¶ 18.

Section 16.04.070 of the San Marcos Municipal Code (the "Ordinance") provides that

c) Review. No Park Owner shall change, add to, delete or modify the Park Rules and Regulations affecting the residents of a Mobilehome Park unless and until any such change, addition, deletion or modification shall have first been submitted to, reviewed and approved by the Park Rules and Regulations Committee. The term "Park Owner" shall not include any resident-owned mobilehome park.

d) Appeal. In the event that a majority of the members of the "Park Rules and Regulations Committee" does not approve all or part of a proposed change, addition, deletion or modification of the Park Rules and Regulations, a Park Owner shall have the right to appeal by petition to all residents of the Mobilehome Park to seek such approval. Any rejection of the proposed change, addition, deletion or modification may be reversed by a petition bearing the signatures of a majority of the residents of the subject Mobilehome Park approving the proposed change, addition, deletion or modification.

Id. ¶ 25.*fn2 Thus, the Ordinance contemplates a two-step process: first, the park owner must submit the proposed rule change to a Rules and Regulation Committee ("RCC"). Second, if the RCC rejects the proposal, the park owner may appeal to all residents. If a majority of all residents approve the change, then the RCC's decision is reversed and the change is implemented.

This is the second motion to dismiss brought in this case. On November 21, 2006, the court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of ripeness and gave Plaintiff leave to file a SAC within twenty days, which it did. Defendant now moves to dismiss pursuant to Rule12(b)(1) on the ground that SAC still fails to allege a ripe controversy.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

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 is not yet ripe for review. In a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of proving jurisdiction. See Scott v. Breeland, 792 F.2d 926, 927 (9th Cir. 1986). The court must treat all factual allegations as true and construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Experimental Eng'g, 614 F.2d at 1245; see Concha v. London, 62 F.3d 1493, 1500 (9th Cir. 1995). However, the court need not assume the truth of legal conclusions merely because they are cast in the form of factual allegations. Roberts v. Corrothers, 812 F.2d 1173, 1177 (9th Cir. 1987) (citing Western Mining Council v. Watt, 643 F.2d 618, 624 (9th Cir. 1981). Claims should not be dismissed on the pleadings "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); Amfac Mortgage Corp. v. Arizona Mall of Tempe, Inc., 583 F.2d 426, 429 (9th Cir. 1978).

III. DISCUSSION: THIS ACTION IS NOT RIPE

An action is unripe, and therefore has not matured into a proper subject for adjudication, when it involves contingent future events that may or may not occur. Thomas v. Union Carbide Agr. Products Co., 473 U.S. 568, 580-81 (1985). The ripeness doctrine's rationale "is to prevent the courts, through premature adjudication, from entangling themselves in abstract disagreements[.]" Abbott Laboratories v. Gardner, 387 U.S. 136, 148 (1967). Whether a controversy is ripe depends on the "fitness of issues for judicial decision" and the "hardship to the parties of withholding court consideration." Id. at 149.

There are two fatal defects in Plaintiff's conduct as alleged. First, Plaintiff sent the proposed amendment to all park residents rather than making a separate presentation to an RCC. Indeed, the SAC utterly fails to give rise to even a scintilla of an inference that Plaintiff sought to determine whether an RCC existed, if the HOA was acting as the RCC, or if a separate presentation could be made to any group or committee of Lakeview residents. Plaintiff merely blanketed the park with copies of the proposed ...


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