The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICARDO URBINA, District Judge
GRANTING THE DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS
This matter comes before the court on the defendants' motion to
dismiss. The plaintiffs, owners and tenants of properties known
as the "Skyland Area," contend that legislation authorizing the
defendants, the District of Columbia ("D.C.") and the National
Capital Revitalization Corporation ("NCRC"), to exercise eminent
domain over their property is unconsitutional and that the
defendants are therefore unauthorized to take such action. The
defendants assert that they have not yet taken any property from
the plaintiffs and have filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds
that the plaintiffs' claims are not ripe. Because the court
concludes that the plaintiff's claims are not ripe, the court
lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over this case. For this
reason, the court grants the defendants' motion to dismiss. II. BACKGROUND*fn1
Beginning in 2004, D.C. enacted a series of bills pertaining to
the eminent domain power of the NCRC with regard to the Skyland
Shopping Center area in Southeast, D.C. 3d Am. Compl. ¶¶ 2-4.
This legislation authorizes the NCRC to acquire property by
eminent domain, when such action has been approved by at least
two-thirds of the D.C. Council, to assist the NCRC in achieving
revitalization goals. D.C. Official Code § 2-1219.19. On April 5,
2005, the D.C. Council approved the National Capital
Revitalization Corporation Eminent Domain Clarification and
Skyland Eminent Domain Approval Amendment Act of 2004 ("Skyland
Act"), D.C. Legisl. 15-286 (Act 15-679). With the passage of this
bill, the NCRC is authorized to exercise eminent domain power to
acquire and redevelop the Skyland Shopping Center. 3d Am. Compl.
On July 13, 2004, the plaintiffs brought suit to enjoin the
defendants from commencing eminent domain proceedings. See
generally Compl. Three amended complaints later, the plaintiffs
seek a declaratory judgment that the legislation constitutes an
unlawful taking of their property in violation of the
Fifth Amendment's takings and equal protection provisions, 3d Am.
Compl. ¶¶ 104-138, and that the D.C. Council acted beyond its
authority in passing the legislation, 3d Am. Compl. ¶¶ 139-141.
On June 15, 2005, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the
plaintiffs' third amended complaint on the grounds that, inter
alia, the plaintiffs' claims are not ripe. Defs.' Mem. of P. &
A. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss 3d Am. Compl. ("Defs.' Mot. to
Dismiss") at 1-2. The defendants assert that because they have
not yet exercised eminent domain power, none of the plaintiffs' rights have been violated.
Id. The court now turns to the defendants' motion.
A. Legal Standard for a Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule
Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and the law
presumes that "a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction."
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377
(1994); St. Paul Mercury Indem. Co. v. Red Cab Co.,
303 U.S. 283
, 288-89 (1938); see also Gen. Motors Corp. v. Envtl. Prot.
Agency, 363 F.3d 442
, 448 (D.C. Cir. 2004) (noting that "[a]s a
court of limited jurisdiction, we begin, and end, with an
examination of our jurisdiction").
Because "subject-matter jurisdiction is an `Art. III as well as
a statutory requirement[,] no action of the parties can confer
subject-matter jurisdiction upon a federal court.'" Akinseye v.
Dist. of Columbia, 339 F.3d 970, 971 (D.C. Cir. 2003) (quoting
Ins. Corp. of Ir., Ltd. v. Compagnie des Bauxite de Guinea,
456 U.S. 694, 702 (1982)). On a motion to dismiss for lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), the
plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that the court has
subject-matter jurisdiction. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife,
504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992). The court may dismiss a complaint for
lack of subject-matter jurisdiction only if "it appears beyond
doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of
his claim which would entitle him to relief." Empagran S.A. v.
F. Hoffman-Laroche, Ltd., 315 F.3d 338, 343 (D.C. Cir. 2003)
(quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)).
Because subject-matter jurisdiction focuses on the court's
power to hear the claim, however, the court must give the
plaintiff's factual allegations closer scrutiny when resolving a Rule 12(b)(1) motion than would be required for a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion for failure to state a claim. Macharia v. United States,
334 F.3d 61, 64, 69 (D.C. Cir. 2003); Grand Lodge of Fraternal
Order of Police v. Ashcroft, 185 F. Supp. 2d 9, 13 (D.D.C.
2001). Moreover, the court is not limited to the allegations
contained in the complaint. Hohri v. United States,
782 F.2d 227, 241 (D.C. Cir. 1986), vacated on other grounds,
482 U.S. 64 (1987). Instead, to determine whether it has jurisdiction over
the claim, the court may consider materials outside the
pleadings. Herbert v. Nat'l Acad. of Scis., 974 F.2d 192, 197
(D.C. Cir. 1992).
B. The Court Lacks Subject-Matter Jurisdiction
The plaintiffs' principle argument in challenging the
implementation and enforcement of the Skyland Act is that D.C.
improperly delegated eminent domain power to the NCRC by enacting
unconstitutional legislation. 3d Am. Compl. ¶ 5. Therefore, the
plaintiffs claim, "the enactment and execution of the
[legislation] constitute[s] an unconstitutional taking of their
property, in violation of the Fifth Amendment of the
United States Constitution." 3d Am. Compl. ¶ 5. The defendants counter
that the plaintiffs fail to show that this court has
subject-matter jurisdiction because there has not yet been a
taking by eminent domain and the case is therefore not yet ripe.
Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss at 4-5. The court now considers the matter
of ripeness to determine whether it has jurisdiction over the
1. Legal Standard for Ripeness
Article III of the Constitution limits the jurisdiction of
federal courts to cases or controversies. U.S. CONST.
ART. III, § 2, cl. 1. The case-or-controversy requirement reflects the
"common understanding of what it takes to make a justiciable
case." Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Env't, 523 U.S. 83,
102 (1998). Among the various doctrines developed by the courts
to test the fitness of controversies for judicial resolution ...