United States District Court, E.D. California
case is before the court on defendant City of Vacaville's
motion to dismiss plaintiff California River Watch's
complaint. Mot., ECF No. 5. At hearing on June 16, 2017, Jack
Silver and David Weinsoff appeared for plaintiff and Gregory
Newmark appeared for defendant. ECF No. 14. As discussed
below, defendant's motion is DENIED.
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
March 13, 2017, plaintiff filed its complaint. See
Compl., ECF No. 1. Plaintiff, a non-profit organization,
alleges the City of Vacaville's public water system
transports “hexavalent chromium, ” a contaminant
and “hazardous waste, ” in excess of federal and
state maximum contaminant levels. Compl. ¶¶ 2, 15,
19, 22. Plaintiff alleges the City's water is supplied
for customer consumption and in its contaminated state poses
an “imminent and substantial endangerment to public
health or the environment” in violation of the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 6901
et seq. (RCRA). Id. ¶¶ 15, 29.
13, 2017, defendants filed its motion to dismiss
plaintiff's complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), contending:
(1) RCRA's anti-duplication provision bars
plaintiff's suit and (2) plaintiff has otherwise failed
to allege a violation of the RCRA. See Mot. at
11-16. Plaintiff filed its opposition, Opp'n, ECF No. 9,
and defendant filed its reply, Reply, ECF No. 13.
Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a
party may move to dismiss a complaint for “failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” A
court may dismiss “based on the lack of cognizable
legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under
a cognizable legal theory.” Balistreri v. Pacifica
Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).
a complaint need contain only “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), in order to survive
a motion to dismiss this short and plain statement
“must contain sufficient factual matter . . . to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A complaint must include something
more than “an unadorned,
the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation” or
“‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action.'” Id. (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555). Determining whether a complaint will
survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is a
“context-specific task that requires the reviewing
court to draw on its judicial experience and common
sense.” Id. at 679. Ultimately, the inquiry
focuses on the interplay between the factual allegations of
the complaint and the dispositive issues of law in the
action. See Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S.
69, 73 (1984).
making this context-specific evaluation, this court construes
the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff
and accept as true the factual allegations of the complaint.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007). This
rule does not apply to “a legal conclusion couched as a
factual allegation, ” Papasan v. Allain, 478
U.S. 265, 286 (1986), nor to “allegations that
contradict matters properly subject to judicial notice”
or to material attached to or incorporated by reference into
the complaint, Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors,
266 F.3d 979, 988-89 (9th Cir. 2001).
1976, Congress passed RCRA in an effort to end the
environmental and public health risks associated with
mismanagement of hazardous waste. See Hinds Invs., L.P.
v. Angioli, 654 F.3d 846, 850 (9th Cir. 2011). To this
end, RCRA is a “comprehensive environmental statute
that governs the treatment, storage, and disposal of solid
and hazardous waste.” Id. (citing Meghrig
v. KFC W., Inc., 516 U.S. 479, 483 (1996)); see
42 U.S.C. § 6902(b) (articulating RCRA's purpose and
objectives). RCRA gives the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) regulatory authority to govern the use of
“hazardous wastes from cradle to grave, in accordance
with . . . rigorous safeguards and waste management
procedures.” Chi. v. Envtl. Def. Fund, 511
U.S. 328, 331 (1994).
has two non-duplication provisions, see 42 U.S.C.
§ 6905(a)-(b), one of which is relevant here. Section
6905(a) provides that RCRA cannot be used to regulate any
activity or substance,
[W]hich is subject to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act
[33 U.S.C.A. § 1251 et seq.], the Safe Drinking
Water Act [42 U.S.C.A. § 300f et seq.], the
Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 [16
U.S.C.A. §§ 1431 et seq., 1447 et
seq., 33 U.S.C.A. §§ 1401 et seq.,
2801 et seq.], or the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 [42
U.S.C.A. § 2011 et seq.]
42 U.S.C. § 6905(a) (brackets in original; italics
added). For purposes of this motion, defendant contends
plaintiff's case should be dismissed because it is asking
the court to enjoin actions under the RCRA that are ...