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Gillespie v. Travelscape LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

August 26, 2014

EILEEN GILLESPIE, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
TRAVELSCAPE LLC; EXPEDIA INC.; and EAN.COM LP, Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

RICARDO S. MARTINEZ, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss under Rule 12(h)(3). (Dkt. #65). Defendants argue that Plaintiff's complaint should be dismissed for lack of standing both individually and on behalf of any class, primarily because she was reimbursed for her alleged damages by her former employer. Id. Alternatively, Defendants argue that Plaintiff cannot prove injury as an essential element of her claims, and therefore this matter must be dismissed. Id. Plaintiff opposes the motion, arguing that the collateral source rule precludes Defendants from introducing evidence of the reimbursement. (Dkt. #69). Plaintiff further argues that there are questions of fact with respect to her damages which also preclude summary judgment in favor of Defendants. Id. For the reasons set forth below, the Court disagrees with Plaintiff, and GRANTS Defendants' motion.

II. BACKGROUND

This case arises out of Defendant Travelscape LLC's alleged unfair business practices, which Plaintiff asserts result in room rate overcharges and the imposition of unfair and deceptive tax recovery charges on hotel room consumers. Dkt. #21 at ¶ ¶ 7-8. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' practices have violated Washington's Consumer Protection Act ("CPA"). Id. at ¶ ¶ 45-69 and 81-85. Plaintiff also alleges that Defendants' actions have resulted in a violation of the Washington Seller of Travel Act ("WSOT") and unjust enrichment. Id. at ¶ ¶ 70-80 and 86-89. She purports to bring all claims as an individual and on behalf of others similarly situated. Id. at ¶ ¶ 32-44. Her Amended Complaint seeks to certify a nationwide class consisting of all persons and entities in the United States who were charged a bundled Tax Recovery Charge and Service Fee when reserving and paying for a hotel room through Travelscape LLC. Id. at ¶ 32. Plaintiff seeks money damages and injunctive relief. Id. at ¶ ¶ B-E.

Defendants deny all of the claims and now seek to dismiss this suit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. (Dkt. #65).

III. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Gunn v. Minton, ___ U.S. ___, 133 S.Ct. 1059, 1064 (2013) (citation omitted). As such, this Court is to presume "that a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction, and the burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction." Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673 (1994) (citations omitted); see also Robinson v. United States, 586 F.3d 683, 685 (9th Cir. 2009); Safe Air for Everyone v. Meyer, 373 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 2004). When analyzing a motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Rule 12(h)(3), as in the instant case, courts apply the same standards for a motion brought under Rule 12(b)(1). Wood v. City of San Diego, 678 F.3d 1075, 1082 (9th Cir. 2012).

A Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction may be either "facial" or "factual." See Safe Air for Everyone, 373 F.3d at 1039. A facial attack on subject matter jurisdiction is based on the assertion that the allegations contained in the complaint are insufficient to invoke federal jurisdiction. Id. "A jurisdictional challenge is factual where the challenger disputes the truth of the allegations that, by themselves, would otherwise invoke federal jurisdiction.'" Pride v. Correa, 719 F.3d 1130, 1133 n.6 (9th Cir. 2013) (quoting Safe Air for Everyone, 373 F.3d at 1039)). When a defendant factually challenges the plaintiff's assertion of jurisdiction, a court does not presume the truthfulness of the plaintiff's allegations and may consider evidence extrinsic to the complaint. See Terenkian v. Republic of Iraq, 694 F.3d 1122, 1131 (9th Cir. 2012); Robinson, 586 F.3d at 685; Safe Air for Everyone, 373 F.3d at 1039. "Once the moving party has converted the motion to dismiss into a factual motion by presenting affidavits or other evidence properly brought before the court, the party opposing the motion must furnish affidavits or other evidence necessary to satisfy its burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction." Savage v. Glendale Union High Sch., 343 F.3d 1036, 1040 fn. 2 (9th Cir. 2003).

Defendants make a factual challenge in the instant motion. As further discussed below, the Court has considered all of the evidence presented in order to determine whether Plaintiff has met her burden of establishing the existence of a case or controversy.

B. Article III Standing

To establish Article III standing, a plaintiff must show (1) a concrete injury that is actual or imminent and not hypothetical; (2) fairly traceable to the defendant's allegedly wrongful conduct; (3) that is likely to be redressed by a favorable decision. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-61, 112 S.Ct. 2130 (1992). To have standing to seek injunctive relief, a plaintiff must also show "a sufficient likelihood that he will again be wronged in a similar way." City of Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 111, 103 S.Ct. 1660 (1983). "A plaintiff must demonstrate standing for each claim" and "for each form of relief sought." DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno, 547 U.S. 332, 352, 126 S.Ct. 1854 (2006).

Defendants challenge Plaintiff's standing in part by relying on evidence from Plaintiff's former employer indicating that Plaintiff was reimbursed for the money she paid to Defendants. Dkts. #66 and #67, and exhibits thereto. Plaintiff argues that this evidence should be stricken from the record based on Washington's "collateral source rule." Dkt. #69 at 5-19. Defendants respond that the collateral source rule does not apply to this motion because the rule does not apply to determine Article III standing. Dkt. #73 at 4-5. The Court first turns to Plaintiff's argument that the collateral source rule precludes the Court's consideration of ...


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