United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Frankfort
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
GREGORY F. VAN TATENHOVE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
are upset. [R. 22-1 at 3.] They believe that delays caused by
trains idling in railroad crossings are putting their lives
at risk. Id. So, local law enforcement officials
have been tasked with cracking down on the amount of time
trains remain in a railroad crossing by enforcing KRS 277.200
and 525.140. Id. at 2-3. The only subject of those
enforcement efforts-Norfolk Southern-has challenged the
constitutionality of its conviction during the state court
proceedings. Id. at 2.
the wake of those convictions, the largest railroad advocacy
group, the Association of American Railroads, has turned to
this Court to enjoin further prosecutions for rail crossing
violations. [R. 1.] As grounds, AAR claims that the extensive
regulation found in the Federal Railroad Safety Act and the
I.C.C. Termination Act preempts the Kentucky statutes.
Id. In response, the Defendants argue that: AAR
lacks the ability to sue; this Court should abstain from
hearing the case; the case has already been decided; the
Defendants are immune from suit; and the necessary parties
have not been named. [R. 22-1.] They are wrong on all counts
and AAR will get its day in court.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) provides that a defendant
may assert lack of subject-matter jurisdiction as a defense.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). A motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(1) is different than a motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6) because it challenges the Court's power to hear
the case before it. When jurisdiction is challenged under
this rule, the burden is on the plaintiff to prove that
jurisdiction exists. RMI Titanium Co. v. Westinghouse
Elec. Corp., 78 F.3d 1125, 1134 (6th Cir. 1996). In
answering this question, the Court is “empowered to
resolve factual disputes” and need not presume that
either parties' factual allegations are true.
motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) tests the
sufficiency of a plaintiff's complaint. In reviewing a
Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court “construe[s] the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff,
accept[s] its allegations as true, and draw[s] all inferences
in favor of the plaintiff.” DirecTV, Inc. v.
Treesh, 487 F.3d 471, 476 (6th Cir. 2007) (citation
omitted). The Court, however, “need not accept as true
legal conclusions or unwarranted factual inferences.”
Id. (quoting Gregory v. Shelby County, 220
F.3d 433, 446 (6th Cir. 2000)). The Supreme Court explained
that in order “[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.' ” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct.
1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). See also Courier
v. Alcoa Wheel & Forged Products, 577 F.3d 625, 629
(6th Cir. 2009).
Defendants claim AAR has no standing to sue for three
reasons: (1) neither the FRSA or the ICCTA provides a private
right of action; (2) AAR does not have standing; and (3) the
case is not ripe. Each of these allegations is incorrect. The
Court explains each in turn.
does not need a private right of action because it is not
suing under the FRSA or the ICCTA. Instead, it is suing to
enforce the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. And
“it is beyond dispute that federal courts have
jurisdiction over suits to enjoin state officials from
interfering with federal rights” unless that statute
expressly removes jurisdiction. Shaw v. Delta Air Lines,
Inc., 463 U.S. 85, 96 n. 14 (1983); see also Verizon
Maryland, Inc. v. Public Service Commission of Maryland,
535 U.S. 635 (2002) (holding that a private right of action
is unnecessary where the plaintiff seeks declaratory and
injunctive relief on the bases of the Supremacy Clause). It
is beyond dispute that neither act removes
jurisdiction. CSX Transp., Inc. v. City of
Plymouth (Plymouth I), 86 F.3d 626 (6th Cir. 1996);
CSX Transp., Inc. v. City of Plymouth (Plymouth II),
283 F.3d 812 (6th Cir. 2002).
associational standing to raise the claims of its members.
Int'l Union v. Brock, 477 U.S. 274, 281 (1986)
(“Even in the absence of injury to itself, an
association may have standing solely as the representative of
its members”). All AAR must show is that: (1) one of
its members would have standing to sue in its own right; (2)
the relief it seeks is germane to its purpose; and (3) none
of its members need to ...