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Acumen Communications, Inc. v. City of Covina

United States District Court, C.D. California

March 5, 2017

Acumen Communications, Inc.
v.
City of Covma, et al.

          Present: The Honorable STEPHEN V. WILSON, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

          CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

         Proceedings: IN CHAMBERS ORDER REMANDING CASE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiffs Acumen Communications, Inc. ("Acument") and Metro Two Way LLC "Metro Two War", collectively "Plaintiffs") filed this case on September 18, 2015, agamst ten defendants comprised of various cities, individuals, and the companies Motorola Solutions, Inc. ("MSI" or "Defendant") and Public Safety Technologies, Inc. ("PST"). Dkt. 1. MSI is the sole remaining Defendant. From the beginning of the case, the Court had concerns about its subject-matter jurisdiction. Originally, part of the case seemed to hinge on whether the Federal Communications Act ("FCA") was violated by the actions of PST or MSI. This Court stayed the case pending FCC review of a complaint ostensibly related to PST's actions. Dkt. 55. The FCC made a decision, and the stay was lifted. Dkt. 58. At oral argument Plaintiffs said that these issues were cured and therefore Plaintiff no longer needed an injunction agamst the pmported FCA violations, but rather still seeks relief for "the damage that was done". Dkt. 69, October 31, 2016, Hearing Transcript 13:13-22. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiffs dismissed PST as a defendant. Dkt. 67.

         At a later stams conference, this Court again questioned it subject-matter jurisdiction in light of the developments in this case and ordered supplemental briefing. Dkt. 71. MSI filed supplemental briefing asking this Court to assert jurisdiction and dismiss the claims with prejudice. Dkt. 72. Plaintiffs filed supplemental briefing asking this Court to find it has no subject matter jurisdiction and remand the case to state court. Dkt. 73. For the following reasons, this Court finds it lacks subject matter jurisdiction and REMANDS the case to state court.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The facts of this case are taken from the Fust Amended Complaint ("FAC"). Dkt. 30. Since 2001, certain cities in California have attempted to create region-wide radio systems using federal grant money. MSI already provided telecommunications seivices for some of these cities, including Glendale. The complaint then specifically tracks two Glendora Requests for Proposals ("RFP") over a several month period.

         A. RFP #1 (FAC ¶¶ 32-36)

         Glendora Police Department issued a RFP in July 2012 for mobile and portable radios ("July 2012 RFP"), with a deadline to submit proposals of August 7, 2012. Only PST and a third-party "CDW Government LLC" issued proposals. Plaintiff alleges that CDW did not meet the requirements for a qualified proposer and that "DEFENDANTS"[1] requested CDW to submit a bid to create the illusion of multiple proposers. The PST proposal was chosen, however Plaintiffs allege that Glendora actually purchased then mobile radios from MSI, not PST. Plaintiffs allege that, as the successful bidder, PST should have been the entity to deliver the radios to Glendora.

         B. RFP #3 (FAC ¶¶ 37-45)

         Glendora issued the second RFP which was for a public radio system on October 30, 2012 ("October 2012 RFP"), with a deadline for proposals of November 20, 2012. Plaintiff discusses the "stringent requirements" for the RFP that it alleges prevented any "real proposer" to submit a proposal within the twenty-day timeframe. MSI, however, submitted a proposal on November 20, 2012.[2] Plaintiff alleges that the RFP mandated that "the successful Proposer shall subcontract with [MSI] . . ." and that therefore MSI was selected "as a matter of default". The complaint then alleges that PST licensed certain frequencies to the city of Glendora, which it claims is a practice not allowed by the FCC.

         C. Radio Frequency Interference

         The complaint then describes the broad framework of radio frequency pools. One pool of frequencies is for "Industry/Business", whereas the other is for "Public Safety". The pool used by ICIS and the corresponding cities should have been the Public Safety pool. Plaintiffs allege that MSI could not secure Public Safety frequencies in time to submit its radios to the corresponding cities and for the cities to secure the federal grant money to purchase such radios.[3]

         By using frequencies in the Industry/Business pool instead of the Public Safety pool, MSI interfered with Plaintiffs' businesses that provided radios for taxis, delivery services, and other commercial activities. Plaintiffs allege that MSI and PST knew this interference would occur and ...


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