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BADILLO v. SAMPSON

July 24, 1974

PUBLIC CITIZEN and REPRESENTATIVE HERMAN BADILLO, REPRESENTATIVE GEORGE E. BROWN, REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL J. HARRINGTON, REPRESENTATIVE HENRY HELSTOSKI, REPRESENTATIVE EDWARD I. KOCH, REPRESENTATIVE BENJAMIN S. ROSENTHAL, REPRESENTATIVE FORTNEY H. (PETE) STARK, Plaintiffs
v.
ARTHUR F. SAMPSON, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WADDY

 This cause is before the Court on plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and defendant's motion to dismiss, the parties having submitted their respective points and authorities in support thereof and in opposition thereto, and the Court having considered same and the briefs amici curiae, and having heard oral arguments and taken said motions under advisement. Plaintiffs herein, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, in a non-class action, attack on constitutional grounds certain regulations *fn1" promulgated by defendant Sampson, as Administrator of the General Services Administration, relating to standard contract clauses providing for the allocation of title and patent rights in possible resultant inventions developed under government-financed research and development contracts.

 Plaintiffs are Public Citizen, Inc., a non-profit taxpaying organization supported by public donations, and seven individual Congressmen. All plaintiffs allege injury as taxpayers and consumers; Congressmen plaintiffs allege injury qua members of Congress.

 Defendant is the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) and as such is responsible for the formulation and promulgation of rules and regulations issued by that federal executive agency.

 In the complaint, plaintiffs allege that the subject regulations authorize federal agencies to grant greater rights than a non-exclusive license ("exclusive rights") to patents and inventions developed under federally-financed research and development contracts, including the authority to grant such exclusive rights at the time of entering into such contracts, without Congressional approval as required by Article 4, Section 3, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution. *fn2"

 Plaintiff has moved for summary judgment claiming that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that they are entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Defendant has moved, pursuant to Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that (1) plaintiffs lack standing to sue and (2) the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. This Court finds that all plaintiffs lack standing to sue and that defendant's motion to dismiss should be granted.

 STANDING

 In Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83, 88 S. Ct. 1942, 20 L. Ed. 2d 947 (1968) the Supreme Court of the United States stated:

 
"The fundamental aspect of standing is that it focuses on the party seeking to get his complaint before a federal court and not on the issues he wishes to have adjudicated. The 'gist of the question of standing ' is whether the party seeking relief has 'alleged such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions.' Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 204 [82 S. Ct. 691, 703, 7 L. Ed. 2d 663] (1962). In other words, when standing is placed in issue in a case, the question is whether the person whose standing is challenged is a proper party to request an adjudication of a particular issue and not whether the issue itself is justiciable." 392 U.S. at 99, 88 S. Ct. at 1952.

 STANDING AS TAXPAYERS

 Plaintiffs allege, in paragraph 13 of the complaint, that "all of the plaintiffs are harmed as taxpayers because the patents and inventions will be developed at the government's expense, and the Regulations provide for the granting of exclusive rights thereto, without compensation, at the time of entering into the contract." In Flast, supra, the Supreme Court squarely faced the issue of taxpayer standing and found that

 
"a taxpayer will be the proper party to allege the unconstitutionality only of exercises of congressional power under the taxing and spending clause of Article I, ยง 8, of the Constitution. It will not be sufficient to allege an incidental expenditure of tax funds in the administration of an essentially regulatory statute." 392 U.S. at 102.

 Recently, in the case of Schlesinger v. Reservists Committee to Stop the War, 418 U.S. 208, 94 S. Ct. 2925, 41 L. Ed. 2d 706 (1974), the Court reaffirmed its decision in Flast in agreeing with the holding of Judge Gesell of this Court, Reservists Committee to Stop ...


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