Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Standing Properly Brought under Rule 12(b)(1) and Decided under 12(b)(6) Standards — Elements of Article III Standing

In re Schering Plough Corp. Intron/Temodar Consumer Class Action, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 9832 (3d Cir. May 16, 2012):

Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1), a court must grant a motion to dismiss if it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction to hear a claim. "A motion to dismiss for want of standing is . . . properly brought pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), because standing is a jurisdictional matter." Ballentine v. United States, 486 F.3d 806, 810 (3d Cir. 2007). In evaluating a Rule 12(b)(1) motion, a court must first determine whether the movant presents a facial or factual attack. Mortensen v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 549 F.2d 884, 891 (3d Cir. 1977). In reviewing a facial challenge, which contests the sufficiency of the pleadings, "the court must only consider the allegations of the complaint and documents referenced therein and attached thereto, in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Gould Elec. Inc. v. United States, 220 F.3d 169, 176 (3d Cir. 2000). ***

In evaluating whether a complaint adequately pleads the elements of standing, courts apply the standard of reviewing a complaint pursuant to a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim: "Court[s] must accept as true all material allegations set forth in the complaint, and must construe those facts in favor of the nonmoving party." Ballentine, 486 F.3d at 810 (citing Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 501 (1975)); see also Baldwin v. Univ. of Pittsburgh Med. Ctr., 636 F.3d 69, 73 (3d Cir. 2011) ("A dismissal for lack of statutory standing is effectively the same as a dismissal for failure to state a claim."). ***

Article III of the Constitution limits the scope of the Federal judicial power to the adjudication of "cases" or "controversies." U.S. Const. art. III, § 2. This "bedrock requirement," Valley Forge Christian Coll. v. Ams. United for Separation of Church & State, Inc., 454 U.S. 464, 471 (1982), protects the system of separated powers and respect for the coequal branches by restricting the province of the judiciary to "decid[ing] on the rights of individuals." Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137, 170 (1803). Indeed, "'[n]o principle is more fundamental to the judiciary's proper role in our system of government than the constitutional limitation of federal-court jurisdiction to actual cases or controversies.'" Raines v. Byrd, 521 U.S. 811, 818 (1997) (quoting Simon v. E. Ky. Welfare Rights Org., 426 U.S. 26, 37 (1976)).

The courts have developed several justicability doctrines to enforce the case-or-controversy requirement, and "perhaps the most important of these doctrines" is the requirement that "a litigant have 'standing' to invoke the power of a federal court." Allen v. Wright, 486 U.S. 737, 750 (1984). "[T]he standing question is whether the plaintiff has 'alleged such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy' as to warrant his invocation of federal-court jurisdiction and to justify exercise of the court's remedial powers on his behalf." Warth, 422 U.S. at 498-99 (citing Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 204 (1962)).

The plaintiff bears the burden of meeting the "irreducible constitutional minimum" of Article III standing by establishing three elements:

First, the plaintiff must have suffered an injury in fact — an invasion of a legally protected interest which is (a) concrete and particularized and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical. Second, there must be a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of— the injury has to be fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant, and not the result of the independent action of some third party not before the court. Third, it must be likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision.

Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-61 (1992) (internal quotations, alterations, and citations omitted).

We have recognized that of the three required elements of constitutional standing, "the injury-in-fact element is often determinative." Toll Bros., Inc. v. Twp. of Readington, 555 F.3d 131, 138 (3d Cir. 2009). To satisfy this requirement, the alleged injury must be "particularized," in that it "must affect the plaintiff in a personal and individual way." Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560 n.1. "[T]he 'injury in fact' test requires more than an injury to a cognizable interest. It requires that the party seeking review be himself among the injured." Id. at 563 (quoting Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727, 734-35 (1972)). The injury must also be "an invasion of a legally protected interest." Id. at 560. Since "standing is not dispensed in gross," Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 358 n.6 (1996), a plaintiff who raises multiple causes of action "must demonstrate standing for each claim he seeks to press." DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno, 547 U.S. 332, 352 (2006). Furthermore, "the standing inquiry requires careful judicial examination of a complaint's allegations to ascertain whether the particular plaintiff is entitled to an adjudication of the particular claims asserted." Allen, 468 U.S. at 752.

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