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Detroit International Bridge Co. v. Government of Canada

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

January 14, 2015

DETROIT INTERNATIONAL BRIDGE COMPANY, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA, et al., Defendants

For Detroit International Bridge Company, a Michigan corporation, Canadian Transit Company, a Canadian special act corporation, Plaintiffs: Amy Lynn Neuhardt, Hamish P.M. Hume, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Heather M. King, Kathleen Simpson Kiernan, BOIES, SCHILLER & FLEXNER, LLP, Washington, DC USA.

For Government of Canada, Defendant: Douglas A. Dozeman, Eugene E. Smary, Scott M. Watson, PRO HAC VICE, WARNER NORCROSS & JUDD LLP, Grand Rapids, MI USA; Sarah Catherine Lindsey, WARNER NORCROSS & JUDD LLP, Southfield, MI USA.

For United States Federal Highway Administration, Victor Mendez, in his official capacity as Administrator of the United States Federal Highway Administration, Ray Lahood, in his official capacity as Secretary of Transportation, United States Coast Guard, Janet A. Napolitano, in her official capacity as Secretary of Homeland Security, United States of America, Robert J. Papp, Jr., Adm., in his official capcity as Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, Defendants: Brian Matthew Collins, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, DC USA; Peter Christopher Whitfield, LEAD ATTORNEY, BAKER HOSTETLER, Washington, DC USA.

For United States Department of State, John Kerry, in his official capacity as Secretary of State, Defendants: Brian Matthew Collins, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, DC USA.

For Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, Defendant: Scott M. Watson, PRO HAC VICE, WARNER NORCROSS & JUDD LLP, Grand Rapids, MI USA.

For Michigan Department of Transportation, Interested Party: Michael James Dittenber, LEAD ATTORNEY, MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, Lansing, MI USA.

Page 118

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ROSEMARY M. COLLYER, United States District Judge.

The Detroit International Bridge Company and its wholly-owned subsidiary, the Canadian Transit Company (CTC) (collectively, DIBC), want to build an adjacent twin span to their Ambassador Bridge (Twin Span) that crosses the Detroit River and connects Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Canada. Despite its best efforts for more than a decade, and lawsuits in both countries, DIBC has yet to receive full permits from either Canada or the U.S. to construct and operate a new bridge. In the meantime, the governments of Canada, the Province of Ontario, the United States, and the State of Michigan have worked in consort to develop plans for a new publicly-owned bridge, the New International

Page 119

Transit Crossing/Detroit River International Crossing (NITC/DRIC) (pronounced Nitsy-Drick), two miles from the Ambassador Bridge. The NITC/DRIC would allegedly destroy the need for a Twin Span and compete with the Ambassador Bridge.

DIBC sues Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada and the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) (Canada), which would operate the NITC/DRIC on the Canadian side of the border. Canada has filed a motion to dismiss in reliance on the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. § § 1602-1611. See Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. 125]. In the alternative to ruling on its motion to dismiss, Canada asks the Court to stay this suit as to Canada because CTC, the owner of the Canadian end of the Ambassador Bridge, has brought substantially the same claims before a court of competent jurisdiction in Ontario, Canada. After having thoroughly considered the motion to dismiss on immunity grounds, this Court finds that a stay is warranted because the scope of CTC's franchise rights should be decided by Canadian courts.

I. BACKGROUND

In its campaign to build a Twin Span, DIBC has sued in the United States and in Canada. The Court refers the reader to its earlier opinions[1] ...


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