of Essex County, and others similarly situated, to restrain
defendants from moving the patients from ECHC to an alternative
site in Newark or elsewhere. (Complt. ¶ 8.) Plaintiffs also seek
to restrain defendants from purchasing and renovating part of the
United Hospital campus and from selling the present site on which
ECHC sits. (Id.)
Plaintiffs assert violations of the Protection and Advocacy for
Mentally Ill Individuals Act of 1986 (hereinafter "PAMII"),
42 U.S.C. § 9501, 10801, and 10841, the Americans with Disabilities
Act of 1990, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 12132, New Jersey statutory
and common law and the New Jersey Constitution. They contend that
the proposed purchase of the United Hospital property and the
proposed move of the ECHC patients to the new facility is a per
se violation of the patients' rights because: (1) the
recreational space is insufficient (complt. ¶ 15); (2) there may
be electronic surveillance of the new facility (complt. ¶ 15); (3)
patients may be subject to monitoring in the form of ankle
bracelets (complt. ¶ 15); (4) a 12 to 15 foot fence may be
erected around the new facility (complt. ¶ 15); and (5) the
urban setting of the new facility threatens the safety of the
ECHC patients (complt. ¶ 17, 18).
The defendants have moved to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Fed. R.Civ.P.
12(b)(1) because: (1) plaintiffs lack statutory standing; (2)
plaintiffs lack Article III standing; and (3) the case is not
ripe for adjudication. Defendants also move to dismiss pursuant
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a cause of action
upon which relief can be granted.
I. Standard of Review
In evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim, a court may consider only the complaint, exhibits
attached to the complaint, matters of public record, and
undisputedly authentic documents if the plaintiff's claims are
based upon those documents. Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White
Consol. Industries, 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993), cert.
denied, 510 U.S. 1042, 114 S.Ct. 687, 126 L.Ed.2d 655 (1994).
Motions to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to
state a cause of action result in a determination on the merits
at an early stage of plaintiff's case. Mortensen v. First
Federal Savings and Loan Ass'n, 549 F.2d 884, 891 (3d Cir.
1977). As a result, "plaintiff is afforded the safeguard of
having all its allegations taken as true and all inferences
favorable to plaintiff will be drawn." Id. In order to grant a
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court must find that plaintiffs
will be unable to prevail even if they prove all of the
allegations in the complaint, basing its decision solely on the
legal sufficiency of the complaint. Id.
In evaluating a motion to dismiss under 12(b)(1) for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction, the Court must first determine
whether defendant's motion attacks the complaint as deficient on
its face, or whether defendant's motion attacks the existence of
subject matter jurisdiction in fact. Mortensen, 549 F.2d at
891. Where defendant's 12(b)(1) motion facially attacks the
complaint, the Court must take all allegations in the complaint
as true. Id. Where however, defendant attacks the Court's
subject matter jurisdiction in fact, no presumptive truthfulness
attaches to plaintiff's allegations and the Court may weigh the
evidence to satisfy itself that subject matter jurisdiction
exists in fact. Id. at 891. Plaintiff bears the burden of proof
that subject matter jurisdiction does in fact exist. Id.
Here, the defendants challenge the complaint on its face. As
such, the allegations of plaintiffs' complaint are taken as true
in this Court's 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) analyses.
II. Article III Case or Controversy Requirement
Article III, section 2 of the United States Constitution
mandates the existence
of a "case or controversy" between the parties as a prerequisite
to jurisdiction. U.S. Const. Art. III, § 2; see also Whitmore v.
Arkansas, 495 U.S. 149, 154-155, 110 S.Ct. 1717, 1723, 109
L.Ed.2d 135 (1990). This requirement is equally applicable to
actions seeking injunctive or declaratory relief. Philadelphia
Fed'n of Teachers v. Ridge, 150 F.3d 319, 322-323 (3d Cir.
1998). The doctrines of standing, ripeness and mootness are all
part and parcel of the case or controversy inquiry, and serve to
limit the judiciary's competence to adjudicate disputes between
parties. Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737, 750, 104 S.Ct. 3315,
3324, 82 L.Ed.2d 556 (1984).
The instant action fails to present an actual case or
controversy on two alternative grounds: The action before the
Court is not ripe for adjudication and plaintiffs do not have
standing to bring this action.
The ripeness doctrine functions to prevent federal courts
"through avoidance of premature adjudication, from entangling
themselves in abstract disagreements." Abbott Laboratories v.
Gardner, 387 U.S. 136, 148, 87 S.Ct. 1507, 1515, 18 L.Ed.2d 681
(1967), overruled on other grounds, Califano v. Sanders,
430 U.S. 99, 97 S.Ct. 980, 51 L.Ed.2d 192 (1977). In determining
whether a case is ripe for adjudication, the Court looks to the
(1) the fitness of the issues for judicial resolution and (2) the
hardship to the parties of withholding court consideration.
Abbott Laboratories, 387 U.S. at 149, 87 S.Ct. at 1515; see
also Ohio Forestry Association, Inc. v. Sierra Club,
523 U.S. 726, 733, 118 S.Ct. 1665, 1670, 140 L.Ed.2d 921 (1998); Texas v.
United States, 523 U.S. 296, 300-301, 118 S.Ct. 1257, 1260, 140
L.Ed.2d 406 (1998). Under the first prong of this test, the Court
considers whether the issues presented are purely legal, as
opposed to factual, and the degree to which the Court's
determination is final. In doing so, the Court considers the
following factors: (i) whether the claim involves uncertain and
contingent events that may not occur as anticipated or at all;
(ii) the extent to which a claim is bound up in the facts; and
(iii) whether the parties to the action are sufficiently adverse.
Philadelphia Fed'n of Teachers, 150 F.3d at 323. In the second
prong of the inquiry, the Court looks at whether the challenged
action creates a direct and immediate dilemma for the parties.
Id. at 323.*fn2
Taking all of plaintiffs' allegations as true, this action is
not ripe for adjudication because plaintiffs' complaint asks this
Court to reject a "plan" to move ECHC's patients that is in its
infancy and replete with uncertain and contingent events that may
not occur any time in the near future or at all. See Texas, 523
U.S. at 300, 118 S.Ct. at 1259. Plaintiffs assert that defendants
have chosen to purchase two buildings but that "[t]he details of
the purchase are not precisely known due to the many changes in
the form of the purchase." (Complt. ¶ 12.) Plaintiffs further
assert that defendants "have indicated they will move the
patients from the present site to the two buildings being
purchased" (complt. ¶ 14), that they are "advised that these
plans provide for a 12 or 15 foot berm or fence" (complt. ¶ 15),
and that they "believe there has been reference" to electronic
surveillance or ankle bracelets (complt. ¶ 15).
Plaintiffs claims are clearly "bound up in the facts," many of
which are purely conjecture, and the alleged dispute between
these parties is contingent upon too many unknowns to adequately
confer jurisdiction upon this Court. Moreover, since a decision
by this Court will not affect the legal relationship between
these parties, this Court does not believe that the parties are
sufficiently adverse. Finally, denying judicial review at this
time is not a hardship to any party as it will not create a
direct and immediate dilemma to the plaintiffs or to the ECHC
patients. Adjudicating this case now, based upon plaintiffs'
speculation as to what might happen in the future, will result in
a disposition that may never be viable, useful or grounded in
B. Article III Standing
Plaintiffs' complaint also fails because not one of the
plaintiffs has standing to bring the action before the Court. In
order to establish Article III standing:
"[A] litigant first must clearly demonstrate that he
has suffered an `injury in fact.' That injury . . .
must be concrete in both a qualitative and temporal
sense. The complainant must allege an injury to
himself that is `distinct and palpable,' . . . as
opposed to merely `abstract' . . . and the alleged
harm must be actual or imminent, not `conjectural' or
`hypothetical.'" Whitmore, 495 U.S. at 155, 110
S.Ct. at 1723 (citations omitted).
The Court's 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, 104 S.Ct.
at 3325. It requires the Court to determine "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 v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 498-499,
95 S.Ct. 2197, 2205, 45 L.Ed.2d 343 (1975) (citations omitted).
Additionally, as an organization, in order for plaintiff NAMI to
file suit on behalf of its members it must show that "(1) the
organization's members would have standing to sue on their own,
(2) the interests the organizations seeks to protect are germane
to its purpose, and (3) neither the claim asserted nor the relief
requested requires individual participation of its members."
Public Interest Research Group of New Jersey, Inc. v. Magnesium
Elektron, Inc., 123 F.3d 111, 119 (3d Cir. 1997) (citations
Here, plaintiffs plead no "injury in fact" to themselves at
all. Rather, they impermissibly attempt to raise the rights of
the individual patients at ECHC. See Allen, 468 U.S. at 751,
104 S.Ct. at 3324 (standing doctrine prohibits a litigant from
raising another party's rights); Warth, 422 U.S. at 499, 95
S.Ct. at 2205 (jurisdiction can only be invoked when plaintiff
himself has suffered threatened or actual injury). Plaintiff NAMI
has not alleged that any one of its members has suffered an
injury in fact, actual or imminent. Nor have individual
plaintiffs Ashley Goodman, John Gaykowski or Arthur Siebelist.
While Mr. Goodman's adult child is a patient at ECHC, the
complaint fails to allege that Mr. Goodman is suing on his
child's behalf or even that he has the right to do so.
Plaintiffs here are concerned citizens. While this is an
admirable and important function, it is insufficient to confer
standing on these plaintiffs to adjudicate this case against
these defendants in federal court.*fn3 As this Court is
"powerless to create its own jurisdiction by embellishing
otherwise deficient allegations of standing," Whitmore, 495
U.S. at 155-156, 110
S.Ct. at 1723, plaintiffs' complaint is dismissed on this
III. Statutory Standing
In determining whether subject matter jurisdiction exists,
threshold inquiries for the Court are whether the federal
statutes upon which plaintiffs base their claims create any
enforceable rights or duties and, if so, whether they create a
private right of action. See e.g., National R.R. Passenger Corp.
v. National Ass'n of R.R. Passengers, 414 U.S. 453, 456, 94
S.Ct. 690, 692, 38 L.Ed.2d 646 (1974); Student Coalition for
Peace v. Lower Merion School, 776 F.2d 431, 438 (3d Cir. 1985).
Plaintiffs have asserted violations of the Protection and
Advocacy for Mentally Ill Individuals Act of 1986, 42 U.S.C. § 9501,
10801, and 10841 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of
1990, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 12132. Since neither enforceable
rights and duties nor a private right of action are created by
42 U.S.C. § 9501, 10801, and 10841, plaintiffs' claims for
violation of same are dismissed.
42 U.S.C. § 10841, entitled "Restatement of Bill of
Rights for Mental Health Patients," was enacted in 1986 and
restates the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 9501, the mental health
"Bill of Rights."*fn4 This section provides in pertinent part
"It is the sense of Congress that, as previously
stated in title V of the Mental Health Systems Act
[42 U.S.C.A. 9501 et seq.], each State should review
and revise, if necessary, its laws to ensure that
mental health patients receive the protection and
services they require, and that in making such review
and revision, States should take into account the
recommendations of the President's Commission on
Mental Health and the following:"
"(1) A person admitted to a program or facility for
the purpose of receiving mental health services
should be accorded the following:"
(A) The right to appropriate treatment and related
services in a setting and under conditions that —
(i) are the most supportive of such person's
personal liberty; and
(ii) restrict such liberty only to the extent
necessarily consistent with such person's treatment
needs, applicable rules of law, and applicable
"(G) The right to a humane treatment environment
that affords reasonable protection form harm and
appropriate privacy as to such person with regard to
This Court agrees with the Court of Appeals for the First
Circuit and the District Court for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania that the Restatement of Bill of Rights for Mental
Health Patients does not create any judicially enforceable rights
or duties. Monahan v. Dorchester Counseling Center, Inc.,
961 F.2d 987, 994 (1st Cir. 1992); Brooks v. Johnson & Johnson,
Inc., 685 F. Supp. 107, 109 (E.D.Pa. 1988); see also Croft v.
Harder, 730 F. Supp. 342, 351 (D.Kan. 1989)(42 U.S.C. § 9501
creates no substantive federal rights). As the Brooks Court
pointed out, "this section neither requires not prohibits any
action on the part of the states or any other party." Brooks,
685 F. Supp. at 108. The plain language of the statute indicates
that the language is merely precatory, setting forth "the sense
of Congress," that the "State should review and revise, [its
laws] if necessary." 42 U.S.C. § 10841; see Monahan, 961 F.2d
at 994-995; Brooks,
685 F. Supp. at 109. The legislative history of the statute
supports the same conclusion, indicating that section 10841 is a
statement of Congressional viewpoint that encourages each state
to review and revise its laws. See Brooks, 685 F. Supp. at 108
(citing S.Rep. No. 109, 99th Cong., 2d Sess. at 9, reprinted in
1986 U.S.Code Cong. Admin. News at 1369). Moreover, section 10851
expressly states that section 10841 "shall not be construed as
establishing any new rights for mentally ill individuals."
42 U.S.C. § 10851.*fn5
This Court also finds that the Restatement of Bill of Rights
for Mental Health Patients does not create a private right of
action, express or implied.*fn6 Brooks, 685 F. Supp. at
109-110. Indeed, a provision of the Mental Health Systems Act
that expressly included a private right of action was not
ultimately included in the Act as originally enacted, or as
reenacted as section 10841. See S.Rep. No. 712, 96th Cong., 2d
Sess., at 122-123, reprinted in 1980 U.S.Code Cong. & Admin. News
at 3372, 3488. Thus, Congress considered and rejected a private
right of action. See Brooks, 685 F. Supp. at 109-110.
Additionally, PAMII expressly provides for advocacy of patients'
rights under § 10805, through state systems established under §
10803. Where, as here, "a statute expressly provides a particular
remedy or remedies, a court must be chary of reading others into
it." Middlesex County Sewerage Authority v. National Sea
Clammers Ass'n, 453 U.S. 1, 13, 101 S.Ct. 2615, 2622, 69 L.Ed.2d
Since neither enforceable rights and duties nor a private right
of action are created by the Restatement of Bill of Rights for
Mental Health Patients, the first count of plaintiffs' complaint
is dismissed on these alternative grounds.*fn7
The parties do not dispute that Title II of the ADA creates a
private right of action. See 28 C.F.R. § 35.170, 35.172 (West
1999). However, plaintiffs' ADA claims are infirm because
plaintiffs do not have standing to assert the rights of ECHC's
patients and no claim is stated under the Americans with
Disabilities Act. See infra Section IV.
IV. The Americans With Disabilities Act
Though the Court need not reach this issue, plaintiffs have
failed to state a cause of action for violation of the Americans
with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 12132. The
Americans with Disabilities Act states in pertinent part:
"Subject to the provisions of this title, no
qualified individual with a disability shall, by
reason of such disability, be excluded from
participation in or be denied the benefits of the
services, programs, or activities of a public entity,
or be subject to discrimination by any such entity."
42 U.S.C. § 12132.