United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MEHTA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
seek reconsideration of the court's Memorandum Opinion
and Order denying their Motion to Dismiss (“Motion for
Reconsideration”). See Defs.' Mot. for
Recons., ECF No. 16, Mem in Supp., ECF No. 16-1 [hereinafter
Defs.' Mot.]; Mem. Op. & Order, ECF No. 15
[hereinafter Mem. Op. & Order]. The court ruled that
Plaintiffs had standing to pursue their claims under The
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
(“ACA”), 42 U.S.C. § 18001 et. seq. (2010),
because their Complaint contains sufficient allegations of
financial injury. See Mem. Op. & Order at 4-5.
In so ruling, the court, relying on Haase v.
Sessions, 835 F.2d 902 (D.C. Cir. 1987), declined to
consider an affidavit submitted by Wanda Lessner, an employee
for Defendant CareFirst, which purports to explain that
CareFirst has reimbursed each Plaintiff to the full extent of
its obligations under the ACA and their insurance plans.
See Mem. Op. & Order at 2-4. Defendants now
assert that the court erred by not considering the Lessner
Affidavit. Defs.' Mot. at 3-5. For the reasons that
follow, the court denies Defendants' Motion for
court evaluates Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration
under Rule 54(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
which governs reconsideration of non-final decisions. See
Cobell v. Norton, 355 F.Supp.2d 531, 538-39 (D.D.C.
2005). Rule 54(b) provides that “any order . . . that
adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and
liabilities of fewer than all the parties . . . may be
revised at any time before the entry of a judgment
adjudicating all the claims and all the parties' rights
and liabilities.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). Relief under Rule
54(b) may granted “as justice requires.”
Cobell, 355 F.Supp.2d at 539 (internal quotation
marks omitted). Courts in this district interpret that
abstract phrase narrowly and will grant a motion to
reconsider “only when the movant demonstrates: (1) an
intervening change in the law; (2) the discovery of new
evidence not previously available; or (3) a clear error in
the first order.” Zeigler v. Potter, 555
F.Supp.2d 126, 129 (D.D.C. 2008) (internal quotation marks
omitted). Here, Defendants do not point to either a change in
the law or any new evidence. Accordingly, the court need only
decide whether its prior ruling constituted “clear
argue that the court committed clear error because its
refusal to consider the Lessner Affidavit conflicts with D.C.
Circuit precedent following Haase. Defs.' Mot.
at 3-5. Defendants rely primarily on Coalition for
Underground Expansion v. Mineta, which permits district
courts to consider, “where necessary, ” evidence
submitted by a defendant to resolve a standing challenge. 333
F.3d 193, 198 (D.C. Cir. 2003) (citation omitted). To the
extent that this court's Memorandum Opinion and Order can
be read to interpret Haase as stating a categorical
rule barring defendants from putting forward evidence to
challenge a plaintiff's standing, Mineta clearly
states otherwise. However, even under Mineta's
permissive rule, the court did not commit clear error.
fundamental flaw in Defendants' standing argument
remains: Defendants' factual assertion that
Plaintiffs lack standing is premised entirely on their
legal position that their interpretation of the ACA,
and not Plaintiffs', is the right one. That approach,
however, fundamentally misconstrues the scope of standing
challenges under Rule 12(b)(1). The "standing doctrine
was not intended to provide a vehicle for resolution at the
threshold of fundamentally merit[s] issues."
Saundersv. White, 191 F.Supp.2d 95, 112 n.21 (D.D.C.
2002) (quoting Wooden v. Bd. of Regents of Univ. Sys. of
Ga., 247 F.3d 1262, 1280 (11th Cir. 2001)). To the
contrary, as the Supreme Court stated in Flast v.
Cohen, "[t]he 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." 392 U.S. 83, 99 (1968). The standing
inquiry therefore focuses on the question of whether the
party bringing suit has a sufficiently "personal stake
in the outcome" so as to ensure "concrete
adverseness" between the parties, and not whether the
plaintiff has advanced a legally cognizable claim. See
Id. at 99-100. Here, the court already has ruled that
Plaintiffs have a sufficiently personal stake in the outcome
of this case-i.e. the financial losses alleged in their
Complaint, see Mem. Op. at 4-5-to ensure concrete
adverseness is present. Therefore, they have standing.
Defendants'insistence that their interpretation of the
ACA, combined with the averments of the Lessner Affidavit,
shows Plaintiffs lack standing therefore lacks merit.
the court did not commit clear error in declining to consider
the Lessner Affidavit and denying Defendants' Motion to