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Jordan v. The City of Lynnwood

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

January 22, 2018

IAN JORDAN, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
THE CITY OF LYNNWOOD, THE CITY OF LYNNWOOD POLICE DEPARTMENT, NICOLA SMITH, the Mayor of the City of Lynnwood in her official and personal capacity, and TOM DAVIS, Chief of Police of the City of Lynnwood in his official and personal capacity, Defendants.

          ORDER

          HONORABLE RICHARD A. JONES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants, the City of Lynnwood, the City of Lynnwood Police Department, Nicola Smith, and Tom Davis' Motions to Dismiss. Dkt. ## 14, 16. Plaintiffs, Ian Jordan, Sarah Anni MacDonald, and Bruce Allen Cunningham, oppose the Motions. Dkt. ## 18, 20. Having considered the submissions of the parties, the relevant portions of the record, and the applicable law, the Court finds that oral argument is unnecessary. For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS Defendant Lynnwood's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. # 16) and DENIES as moot Defendants Nicola Smith and Tom Davis' Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. # 14).

         II. BACKGROUND

         The following is taken from Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint, which is assumed to be true for the purposes of this motion to dismiss. Sanders v. Brown, 504 F.3d 903, 910 (9th Cir. 2007).

         Plaintiffs bring this class action against Defendants for alleged violations of their due process rights under federal and state law. Plaintiffs also bring claims of unjust enrichment, wrongful prosecution, and negligence against Defendants. Plaintiffs all received traffic camera tickets issued by Defendant City of Lynnwood (“Lynnwood”) and paid the resulting fines. Dkt. # 10 ¶¶ 4-6. Lynnwood is a municipal corporation organized under the laws of the State of Washington. Defendant City of Lynnwood Police Department (“Lynnwood Police Department”) is the police department organized and run by Lynnwood. Defendant Nicola Smith is the Mayor of Lynnwood. Tom Davis is Chief of Police of Lynnwood. Dkt. # 10 ¶ 7.

         Lynnwood operates traffic enforcement cameras at eleven (11) locations within its jurisdiction. Dkt. # 10. Lynnwood is authorized to operate traffic enforcement cameras pursuant to Washington state statute RCW 46.64.170. RCW 46.63.170(a) states that: “Beginning one year after June 7, 2012, cities and counties using automated traffic safety cameras must post an annual report of the number of traffic accidents that occurred at each location where an automated traffic safety camera is located as well as the number of notices of infraction issued for each camera and any other relevant information about the automated traffic safety cameras that the city or county deems appropriate on the city's or county's website.” Between June of 2013 and October of 2016, Lynnwood did not post this information. Dkt. # 10.

         RCW 46.64.170(b) provides that traffic safety cameras are restricted to intersections of two arterials with traffic control signals that have yellow change interval durations, railroad crossings, and school speed zones. Plaintiff Jordan was ticketed at the intersection of 196th St. SW and 36th Ave W in Lynnwood. Plaintiffs allege that this is not an intersection of “two arterials” as required by state statute. Id. Plaintiffs allege that Lynnwood did not have the legal authority to operate a traffic camera program because it was out of compliance with RCW 46.64.170, and that the issuance of traffic camera tickets while Lynnwood was out of compliance was a violation of Plaintiffs' federal and state due process rights. Id.

         After a traffic camera captures a vehicle in an alleged traffic violation, a Notice of Infraction is issued. Dkt. # 10. The Notice of Infraction sets out the specific fines imposed and the deadlines for payment. The alleged violator is given the option of scheduling a mitigation hearing on the infraction, which is conducted by the Lynnwood Municipal Court. Id. After their cases are adjudicated in Municipal Court, they can either appeal the adjudication to the Superior Court pursuant to RCW 46.64.090(a), or file a motion to vacate their judgments in the Municipal Court pursuant to IRLJ 6.7(a). Doe v. Fife Mun. Court, 74 Wn.App. 444, 448 (1994).

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. FRCP 12(b)(1)

         Federal courts are tribunals of limited jurisdiction and may only hear cases authorized by the Constitution or a statutory grant. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). The burden of establishing subject-matter jurisdiction rests upon the party seeking to invoke federal jurisdiction. Id. Once it is determined that a federal court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court has no choice but to dismiss the suit. Arbaugh v. Y & H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006); Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3) (“If the court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.”).

         A party may bring a factual challenge to subject-matter jurisdiction, and in such cases the court may consider materials beyond the complaint. PW Arms, Inc. v. United States, 186 F.Supp.3d 1137, 1142 (W.D. Wash. 2016) (citing Savage v. Glendale Union High Sch., 343 F.3d 1036, 1039 n. 2 (9th Cir. 2003); see also McCarthy v. United States, 850 F.2d 558, 560 (9th Cir. 1988) (“Moreover, when considering a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) the district court is not restricted to the face of the pleadings, but may review any evidence, such as affidavits and testimony, to resolve factual disputes concerning the existence of jurisdiction.”).

         B. ...


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