United States District Court, District of Columbia
COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, UNITE STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
lawsuit involves claims by pro se Plaintiffs Aaron
and Carolyn Mulvey that Defendants American Airlines Inc.
(“America”), Delta Air Lines Inc.
(“Delta”), Southwest Airlines Co.
(“Southwest”), and United Airlines, Inc.
(“United”) violated the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C.
§§ 1, 3, by “artificially inflating prices
and conspiring with one another to commit fraud on the
plaintiffs.” Complaint, ECF No. 1, ¶ 2;
see Pls.' First Amended Complaint, ECF No. 19
(incorporating by reference the allegations of the
Complaint). Pending before this Court is Defendants American
Airlines, Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc's  Motion to
Dismiss, which alleges that Plaintiffs lack standing under
Article III and antitrust laws. Upon consideration of the
pleadings,  the relevant legal authorities, and the
record as it currently stands, the Court GRANTS Defendants
American Airlines, Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc's 
Motion to Dismiss and dismisses without prejudice
Plaintiffs' claims against these two Defendants.
case was transferred to this Court based upon American, Delta
and United “fil[ing] a Notice of Potential Tag-Along
Action with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
(“JPML”).” Joint Stipulation Extending Time
to Respond to Complaint, ECF No. 4 (extending the time for
Defendants American and Delta to respond to the Complaint);
see In Re Domestic Airline Travel Antitrust
Litigation, 15mc1404 (CKK). In the underlying MDL action
referenced above, Defendants Southwest and American have
entered into Settlement Agreements with the Plaintiffs'
Class Counsel, and notification of the settlements was
provided to putative class members. According to
Plaintiffs' Class Counsel, an opt-out request was
received from the Plaintiffs in this case, Aaron and Carolyn
Mulvey, and accordingly, these Plaintiffs are not part of the
settlement class in the underlying MDL action.
January 25, 2019, Defendants American and Delta filed their
 Motion to Dismiss, On January 31, 2019, this Court issued
an Order notifying the pro se Plaintiffs that they
had until February 25, 2019 to respond to the  Motion to
Dismiss, and furthermore, that such response should include
“either an Amended Complaint, or a precise statement of
the nature of the claims they are making in their Complaint
and the legal grounds in order to assist the Court and
parties in determining [Plaintiffs'] claims.”
Order, ECF No. 16. Plaintiffs responded to the Motion to
Dismiss by filing a two-page First Amended Complaint, which
was accepted by this Court for filing on March 4, 2019,
despite several procedural deficiencies including
Plaintiffs' failure to include a certificate of service,
failure to request leave to amend pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 15
(a)(2), and the questionable timeliness of the filing, which
was received in the Clerk's Office on February 26,
2019. That First Amended Complaint incorporates
by reference the allegations in Plaintiffs' original
Complaint, and it adds the following paragraph:
Plaintiffs hereby supplement Plaintiff's Original
Complaint and additionally allege that they do have Article
III and Antitrust standing. Specifically, the Plaintiffs
purchased airline tickets from both Delta Airlines Co. and
American Airlines, Inc. and have in turn suffered concrete
harm. While the plaintiffs frequently travel on Southwest
Airlines, the plaintiffs purchased airfare from defendants
Delta Airlines Co. and American Airlines, Inc. and have in
turn been harmed. These allegations in supplement to the
plaintiffs' original complaint filed at cause number
3:18-cv-3038, in the Northern District of Texas, establish
that the Plaintiff has both Article III standing and
First Amended Complaint, ECF No. 19, at 1-2. Defendants filed
their  Reply in Support of their Motion to Dismiss or, in
the Alternative, Motion to Dismiss the First Amended
motion to dismiss is filed, a federal court is required to
ensure that it has “the ‘statutory or
constitutional power to adjudicate [the] case[.]'”
Morrow v. United States, 723 F.Supp.2d 71, 77
(D.D.C. 2010) (quoting Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better
Env't, 523 U.S. 83, 89 (1998)). “Federal
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction” and can
adjudicate only those cases or controversies entrusted to
them by the Constitution or an Act of Congress. Kokkonen
v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377
(1994). “In an attempt to give meaning to Article
III's case-or-controversy requirement, the courts have
developed a series of principles termed ‘justiciability
doctrines, '” including the doctrines of standing
and ripeness. Nat'l Treasury Employees Union v.
United States, 101 F.3d 1423, 1427 (D.C. Cir. 1996)
(citing Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737, 750 (1984)).
Standing Under Article III
III of the Constitution limits the ‘judicial power'
of the United States to the resolution of ‘cases'
and ‘controversies.'” Valley Forge
Christian Coll. v. Ams. United for Separation of Church &
State, Inc., 454 U.S. 464, 471 (1982). A case or
controversy exists only if the plaintiff has standing, which
is a “predicate to any exercise of [the Court's]
jurisdiction.” Dominguez v. UAL Corp., 666
F.3d 1359, 1361 (D.C. Cir. 2012). Because standing is a
“threshold jurisdictional requirement, ” a court
may not assume that a plaintiff has standing to proceed to
evaluate a case on its merits. Bauer v. Marmara, 774
F.3d 1026, 1031 (D.C. Cir. 2014). A plaintiff “bears
the burden of showing that he has standing for each type of
relief sought.” Summers v. Earth Island Inst.,
555 U.S. 488, 493 (2009). If standing “is lacking, then
the dispute is not a proper case or controversy, [and] the
courts have no business deciding it or expounding the law in
the course of doing so.” Dominguez, 666 F.3d
at 1361 (alteration in original, quotation omitted).
“[E]very federal court has a special obligation to
satisfy itself of its own jurisdiction before addressing the
merits of any dispute.” Dominguez, 666 F.3d at
1362 (quotation omitted).
establish constitutional standing, a plaintiff bears the
burden of demonstrating that it “(1) suffered an injury
in fact, (2) that is fairly traceable to the challenged
conduct of the defendant, and (3) that is likely to be
redressed by a favorable judicial decision.”
Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, ___ U.S. ___, 136 S.Ct.
1540, 1547 (2016), as revised (May 24, 2016) (citing
Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560-61 (1992)); Andrx Pharm.,
Inc. v. Biovail Corp. Int'l, 256 F.3d 799, 806 &
n.9 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (“As in any civil action for
damages, the plaintiff in a private antitrust lawsuit must
show that the defendant's illegal conduct caused its
injury . . . The plaintiff's first step is to plead an
injury-in-fact.”) At the pleading stage, this requires
Plaintiff to “‘clearly . . . allege facts
demonstrating' each element.” Spokeo, 136
S.Ct. at 1547 (quoting Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S.
490, 518 (1975)). Plaintiff cannot “rely on a bare
legal conclusion” to establish an injury-in-fact.
Maya v. Centex Corp., 658 F.3d 1060, 1068
(9th Cir. 2011); see Martin-Trigona v. Fed.
Reserve Bd., 509 F.2d 363, 367 (D.C. Cir. 1974) (in
determining standing, conclusory statements are insufficient
allegations of an injury in fact).
Injury in Fact
critical question in this case centers around injury in fact,
which is the “‘[f]irst and foremost'”
element of standing. Spokeo, 136 S.Ct. at 1547
(quoting Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better
Env't, 523 U.S. 83, 103 (1998) (alteration in
original)). “To establish injury in fact, a plaintiff
must show that he or she suffered ‘an invasion of a
legally protected interest' that is ‘concrete and
particularized' and ‘actual or imminent, not
conjectural or hypothetical.'” Id. at 1548
(quoting Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560). “For an
injury to be ‘particularized,' it ‘must
affect the plaintiff in a personal and individual
way.'” Id. (quoting Lujan, 504
U.S. at 560 n.1). For an injury to be “concrete,
” it “must be ‘de facto'; that is, it
must actually ...