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AMFAC RESORTS v. U.S. DEPT. OF THE INTERIOR

June 25, 2001

AMFAC RESORTS, L.L.C., PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ET AL., DEFENDANTS. NATIONAL PARK HOSPITALITY ASSN., PLAINTIFF, V. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ET AL., DEFENDANTS. HAMILTON STORES, INC., PLAINTIFF, V. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ET AL., DEFENDANTS. ARAMARK SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT SERVICES, INC., PLAINTIFF, V. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Royce C. Lamberth, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Now before the Court are several matters related to the Court's recent rulings. First, Plaintiff Amfac moves the Court to reconsider various aspects of its May 23, 2001 Opinion.*fn1 Second, Amfac moves the Court for a preliminary injunction enjoining the National Park Service from awarding the Grand Canyon concession contract under the current prospectus. Third, Plaintiff National Park Hospitality Association ("NPHA") asks the Court to rule on Claim IV of its complaint.*fn2 The defendants oppose these motions, as does intervenor Delaware North. After a full review of the parties memoranda, the applicable law, and for the following reasons, the Court DENIES both of Amfac's motions, and rules on Claim IV of NPHA's complaint.

I. BACKGROUND

Amfac Resorts has been a concessioner at the Grand Canyon National Park and other national parks for the last 30 years. The concession contracts between the National Park Service ("NPS") and Amfac are set to expire at the end of this year, and Amfac is interested in continuing as a concessioner. In pursuit of this objective, Amfac filed suit on November 22, 2000 alleging that the NPS's regulations concerning concession contracts are arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law.

On April 24, 2001 this Court issued a Memorandum and Order ruling on discovery issues in the case. Amfac and its co-plaintiffs sought discovery from the defendants related the challenged regulations. In denying leave for discovery, the Court began with the general rule that judicial review of agency regulations is "ordinarily `confined to the administrative record'." See Memorandum and Order, Apr. 24, 2001, at 6 (quoting Texas Rural Legal Aid, Inc. v. Texas Legal Servs. Corp., 940 F.2d 685, 698, (D.C. Cir. 1991). The Court went on to explain that, although discovery is sometimes permitted when a party makes a "substantial showing" that the administrative record was incomplete, the plaintiffs had failed to make such a showing. See id. at 13. Accordingly, the Court denied the plaintiffs' joint motion for discovery.

On May 18, 2001, plaintiff Amfac moved for a preliminary injunction enjoining the NPS from implementing the newly-issued prospectus for the Grand Canyon concession contract. Amfac argued in that motion that the Grand Canyon prospectus is arbitrary, capricious, and otherwise unlawful.

On May 23, 2001, approximately one month after issuing its discovery opinion, the Court ruled on the defendants' motion to dismiss, and the parties' cross motions for summary judgment. The Court denied (for the most part) the defendants' motion to dismiss, and granted (for the most part) the defendants' motion for summary judgment. The opinion undertook an extensive analysis of the NPS regulations which implemented the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998. The Court found the NPS's regulations "permissible in all respects save one." Memorandum Opinion, May 23, 2001, at 3. In addition, the Court also held that the plaintiffs were not entitled to discovery pursuant to Rule 56(f).

On June 6, 2001, plaintiff Amfac filed several motions. Amfac moved the Court to reconsider (1) its May 23, 2001 summary judgment rulings, (2) its May 23, 2001 Order dismissing claims, and (3) its May 23, 2001 Rule 56(f) holding. Amfac also moved the Court to order the NPS to file an answer and to produce various documents. The Court will now consider these motions, as well as Amfac's motion for a preliminary injunction. Further, the Court will handle the request for a ruling by plaintiff National Park Hospitality Association.

II. ANALYSIS

A. Amfac's Motion to Reconsider the Court's Summary Judgment Rulings on the Preferential Right of Renewal Issue

1. Standard of Review*fn3

Upon a motion for reconsideration, a court will revise its decision if it finds "(1) an intervening change in controlling law, (2) the availability of new evidence, or (3) the need to correct clear error or manifest injustice." McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. NASA, 109 F. Supp.2d 27, 28 (D.D.C. 2000) (Lamberth, J.). See also Firestone v. Firestone, 76 F.3d 1205, 1206 (D.C. Cir. 1996); EEOC v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 116 F.3d 110, 112 (4th Cir. 1997). "A trial court has broad discretion to grant or deny a motion for reconsideration." McDonnell Douglas, 109 F. Supp.2d at 1206. See also Plaut v. Spendthrift Farm, Inc., 514 U.S. 211, 233-34 (1995); Liljeberg v. Health Servs. Acquisition Corp., 486 U.S. 847, 864 (1988).

2. Amfac's Arguments

Amfac's arguments are annoyingly familiar to the Court; they are the same arguments that the plaintiffs have made for months on end, and they are also the same arguments that the Court has rejected in every instance.

Amfac's first argument is that the Court erred in failing to "consider[] any factual evidence regarding the parties' conduct or intent regarding Amfac's implied right of preference." See Brief for Amfac, June 6, 2001, at 11. As the Court has made clear before, the proper scope of review in this case should be confined to the administrative record. See Memorandum and Order, Apr. 24, 2001, at 6 (stating that judicial review should be "confined to the administrative record"). Accordingly, in making its May 23, 2001 decision, the Court considered all evidence that was in the administrative record, and did not consider evidence that was not in the administrative record. See Memorandum Opinion, May 23, 2001, at 26, 29 (finding that there is "nothing in the administrative record suggesting that the NPS and the plaintiffs entered into a contract through mere conduct", and that "the administrative record provides no indication that the parties had the mutual understanding that the contracts contained the renewal term"). It is of no consequence that this scope of review might have omitted "factual evidence regarding the parties' conduct or intent regarding Amfac's implied right of preference"; the scope of review is entirely proper under established precedent. Amfac's motion on this issue is therefore denied.

Amfac's second argument is that the Court "erred by denying Amfac the opportunity to supplement the NPS rulemaking record." Brief for Amfac, June 6, 2001, at 13. In its April 24, 2001 Opinion, the Court explicitly explained the grounds on which the administrative record could be supplemented.*fn4 See Memorandum and Order, Apr. 24, 2001, at 7-8. Amfac has not provided any evidence, much less argument, that its circumstance is among those enumerated in the April 24, 2001 Opinion. Thus, ...


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