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Lewis v. Chase Airport Management Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. California

November 5, 2019

THOMAS J. LEWIS and LETICIA G. LEWIS, Plaintiffs,
v.
CHASE AIRPORT MANAGEMENT INC; COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO; FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION; and DOES 1-100, Defendants.

          ORDER

          WILLIAM Q. HAYES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The following matters are pending before the Court: 1) the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant Chase Airport Management Inc. (ECF No. 4); 2) the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant Federal Aviation Administration (ECF No. 6); and 3) the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant County of San Diego (ECF No. 9).

         BACKGROUND

         On April 2, 2019, Plaintiffs Thomas J. Lewis and Leticia G. Lewis initiated this action by filing a Complaint in the Superior Court of California, County of San Diego. (Def.'s Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1 at 1). On May 22, 2019, Plaintiffs filed the First Amended .Complaint ("FAC") against Defendants Chase Airport Management Inc. ("Chase"); the Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA"); and the County of San Diego ("County"). Id. at 5. Plaintiffs bring claims for (1) negligence; (2) harassment; (3) hostile work environment; (4) hostile living environment; and (5) emotional distress. Id. Plaintiffs seek to "[h]old [Defendants] Doe [P]ilots criminally accountable," declaratory relief, an unspecified sum in compensatory damages, and punitive damages in the amount of $25, 000, 000.00. Id. at 6.

         On June 25, 2019, Defendant Chase filed a Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim. (ECF No. 4). On June 26, 2019, Defendant FAA filed a Motion to Dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (ECF No. 6), supported by a Declaration (George Decl., ECF No. 6-2 at 1-2) and Plaintiffs' Administrative Claim to the FAA (Ex. A to George Decl., ECF No. 6-2 at 4). On the same day, Defendant County filed a Motion for More Definite Statement, or, in the alternative, a Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim and a Motion to Strike Plaintiffs' prayer for punitive damages (ECF No. 9), supported by a Request for Judicial Notice (ECF No. 9-2).

         On July 29, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim (ECF No. 15), supported by attachments (ECF No. 15 at 10-40).

         On July 31, 2019, Defendant County filed a Reply. (ECF No. 16). On August 12, 2019, Defendant FAA filed a Reply. (ECF No. 17).

         On August 15, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a Response in Opposition to Defendant County of San Diego's Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 19). On August 22, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a Response to Defendant FAA's Reply Brief in Support of Defendant FAA's Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 25). On August 30, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a second Response to Defendant FAA's Reply Brief in Support of Defendant FAA's Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 27).

         ALLEGATIONS OF THE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

         Plaintiffs allege that Defendants lack "professionalism, ethical behavior and safe operations" and "[h]ave a professional responsibility to advocate and maintain safety, regulate flights in and out of airport, and ensure all regulations and rules are followed daily." (ECF No. 1 at 6). Plaintiffs allege that

Defendants unnecessarily, dangerously, detoured aircraft to a specific place at a specific time. Our home a[n]d our business. Creating, a deliberate atmosphere of fear ([]kill zone).

Id. Plaintiffs allege that Defendant Chase "annexed our property into airport operation with criminal intent placing us in a kill zone." Id. at 7. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants drove them out of their home and forced the closure of their childcare business. Id. at 9.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a defendant to move for dismissal on grounds that the court lacks jurisdiction over the subject matter. Fed R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1). The burden is on the plaintiff to establish that the court has subject matter jurisdiction over an action. Assoc. of Medical Colleges v. United States, 217 F.3d 770, 778-779 (9th Cir. 2000). In resolving an attack on a court's jurisdiction, the court may go outside the pleadings and consider evidence beyond the complaint relating to ...


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