August 31, 2012
POTRERO HILLS LANDFILL, INC.,
BRENTWOOD DISPOSAL SERVICE, INC.,
CONCORD DISPOSAL SERVICE, INC.,
CONTRA COSTA WASTE SERVICE, INC.,
DISCOVERY BAY DISPOSAL, INC.,
OAKLEY DISPOSAL SERVICE, INC., PITTSBURG DISPOSAL AND DEBRIS BOX SERVICE, INC.,
RIO VISTA INTERVENOR SANITATION SERVICE, INC.,
WASTE CONNECTIONS, INC.,
WASTE CONNECTIONS OF CALIFORNIA, INC., AND
WEST COAST RECYCLING AND TRANSFER, INC. PLAINTIFFS,
COUNTY OF SOLANO, DEFENDANT,
SUSTAINABILITY, PARKS, RECYCLING AND WILDLIFE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, SIERRA CLUB, AND
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA RECYCLING ASSOCIATION,
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge: Hon. John A. Mendez
ORDER DENYING SPRAWLDEF'S FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES MOTION
Hearing Date: August 22, 2012 Trial Date: N/A
On April 12, 2012, this Court entered an order dismissing Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint without prejudice and granting leave to amend. Docket No. ("Dkt. No.") 92. Plaintiffs elected not to amend in a notice filed on April 26, 2012. Dkt. No. 93. On May 14, 2012, the Court entered an order of dismissal without prejudice of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint. Dkt. No. 94.
Intervenor Sustainability, Parks, Recycling and Wildlife Legal Defense Fund ("SPRAWDEF") filed a motion on June 26, 2012 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988 seeking attorney's fees from Plaintiffs. Dkt. No. 97. Plaintiffs opposed the motion on August 8, 2012 (Dkt. No. 101) and SPRAWLDEF filed a reply in support of its motion on August 14, 2012 (Dkt. No. 102). A hearing on SPRAWLDEF's motion was held on August 22, 2012.
Based on the briefing and argument on this motion, the Court finds that there is no subject matter jurisdiction over the attorney fee motion. The Court dismissed the First Amended Complaint because the injuries as pled did not establish injury in fact with enough specificity to confer Article III standing or ripeness, and that "Plaintiffs' claim is premature." Dkt. No. 92, Order at 11. Without standing there is no subject matter jurisdiction. Id. at 5-7. Without subject matter jurisdiction over the underlying claim, there is no prevailing party under 42 U.S.C. § 1988 and there is no jurisdiction for an award of attorney fees under the statute. See, e.g., Elwood v. Drescher, 456 F.3d 943, 948 (9th Cir. 2006); Branson v. Nott, 62 F.3d 287, 292-93 (9th Cir. 1994). Accordingly, SPRAWLDEF's motion is denied.
John A. Mendez U. S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
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