Congratulations to Senior Attorney Tara Ryniec on recently prevailing in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit!
By: Kopka Pinkus Dolin
Congratulations to Senior Attorney Tara Ryniec on recently prevailing in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The reviewing Court affirmed the District Court’s order granting their motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. R. 12(b)(1) for lack of standing and 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. Plaintiff filed suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District, for claims arising out of the demolition of property in the City of Chicago. Plaintiffs alleged violations of their constitutional right to equal protection pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985 and 1986, in addition to claims of federal takings, substantive due process, and equal protection under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiffs also bootstrapped a variety of state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367, which included violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, negligence, respondeat superior, promissory estoppel, and requests for declaratory judgment. Plaintiffs filed three amended complaints, all of which were confronted by motions to dismiss by all defendants pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). Tara asked the District Court to take judicial notice of evidence that Plaintiffs did not own the demolished property, and thus lacked standing within the meaning of § 1982. In essence, Tara raised a factual challenge, which called plaintiffs’ standing into question and dissolved the presumption of correctness accorded to Plaintiffs’ complaint. In doing so, Tara placed a burden on Plaintiffs to come forward with competent proof that standing existed. However, Plaintiffs misapprehended the challenge as a facial challenge and likewise failed to meet their burden of presenting such proof. With no legally protected interest, Plaintiffs were unable to demonstrate a constitutionally recognized injury, and thus lacked standing. The District court dismissed the case without prejudice, and Plaintiff appealed to the Seventh Circuit, hoping for a better outcome. But the Seventh Circuit affirmed the District Court’s order dismissing Plaintiffs’ claims in holding that the core-component of standing is an essential and unchanging part of the case-and-controversy requirement of Article III. In succeeding on the issue of standing, the District Court was unable to ever assert subject-matter jurisdiction over the merits of Plaintiffs complaint, as challenged under 12(b)(6).