Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Nicholas E. Purpura, et al v. Kathleen Sebelius et al.

April 21, 2011

NICHOLAS E. PURPURA, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS
v.
KATHLEEN SEBELIUS ET AL. DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wolfson, United States District Judge:

NOT FOR PUBLICATION [16, 26]

OPINION

Presently before the Court is a motion by Defendants Kathleen Sebelius, Timothy F. Geithner and Hilda L. Solis, individually and in their official governmental capacities (collectively "Defendants"), to dismiss the Complaint of Plaintiffs, pro se, Nicholas E. Purpura and Donald R. Laster, Jr. for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1).*fn1 This action is one of many challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("ACA" or "Act"), brought by various individuals and organizations throughout the country. In the Complaint, Plaintiffs allege that the Act violates numerous Constitutional provisions and conflicts with several federal statutes. As a result, Plaintiffs seek a declaration that the Act is unconstitutional and ask this Court to enjoin Defendants from its enforcement.

In response, Defendants filed the instant Motion to Dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) arguing that the Complaint does not establish Plaintiffs' standing to challenge the Act. Specifically, Defendants contend that the Complaint " reveals nothing about plaintiffs other than their names, their addresses, their affiliations with various political groups in New Jersey, and their disapproval of the challenged statute." Defs' Br. at 1. The Court has considered the motion without oral argument pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 78.*fn2 For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion is GRANTED and the Complaint is DISMISSED.

I. BACKGROUND

On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub. L. No 111-148, 124 Stat. 199(2010), amended by Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-152, 124 Stat. 1029 (2010). The Act, a broad piece of health care reform legislation, was enacted to "provide affordable health insurance, and to reduce the number of uninsured Americans 'and the escalating costs they impose on the healthcare system.'" New Jersey Physicians, Inc. v. Obama, No.10-1489, 2010 WL 5060597, at *1 (D.N.J. Dec. 8, 2010) (SDW) (quoting Thomas More Law Ctr. v. Obama, 720 F. Supp. 2d 882, 886 (E.D. Mich. 2010)).

As part of the effort to provide health insurance to uninsured Americans, the Act includes a requirement to maintain minimum essential coverage ("Individual Mandate") which provides that "[a]n applicable individual shall for each month beginning after 2013 ensure that the individual, and any dependent of the individual who is an applicable individual, is covered under minimum essential coverage for such month." 26 U.S.C. § 5000(A)(a) (2010).*fn3 *fn4 According to Congress, the Individual Mandate is essential because absent such a "requirement, many individuals would wait to purchase health insurance until they needed care," and such a result would undermine the Act's purpose of lowering the number of uninsured Americans. Act §§ 1501(a)(2)(G), 10106(a).

Importantly, if an individual fails to obtain minimum essential coverage, "a monetary penalty will be imposed and included in that taxpayer's tax return." Id. § 5000A(b). The Act, however, provides various exceptions to the penalty including that no penalty shall be imposed upon: (1) individuals who cannot afford coverage; (2) individuals whose income falls below the tax filing threshold; (3) members of Indian tribes; (4) those without health coverage for only short time periods; and (5) those who "have suffered a hardship with respect to the capability to obtain coverage under a qualified health plan." Id. § 5000A(e).

On September 20, 2010, Plaintiffs filed a fifteen count Complaint against the Defendants alleging numerous constitutional violations arising from the passage, and eventual enforcement, of the Act.*fn5 At the outset, the Court is compelled to note that the Complaint contains a litany of conclusory allegations concerning the Act's allegedly illegal, unconstitutional and fraudulent nature. For example, in Counts One and Fourteen, Plaintiffs allege that the Act violates Articles One and Six of the Constitution since "the Senate bills were originated completely independent of any House bill [and] the Senate may not originate revenue rasing bills." Compl. ¶ 20. In Count Six, Plaintiffs allege that Act violates Article II of the Constitution because it was not signed into law by a person eligible to be President of the Untied States. Compl. ¶¶ 55-61. In Count Eleven, Plaintiffs allege that the Act violates the First Amendment because it allegedly exempts "practitioners of the Islamic or Muslim religion and the Amish religious sects," Compl. ¶ 90.*fn6 In Count Twelve, Plaintiffs allege that the Act violates unspecified anti-trust laws.

Compl.¶ 94. In Count Thirteen, Plaintiffs allege that the Act violates Title VII and the Fourteenth Amendment because it allegedly "allocates $2.55 billion in federal funding to historically black and minority serving colleges," and because it taxes tanning salons which "punishes one class of citizen" and "'exempts citizens of color' that have no need or desire to purchase said services." Compl. ¶¶ 105, 107. In addition, the Court understands Plaintiffs to assert at least seven counts challenging the minimum essential coverage provision of the Act. See, e.g., Compl. ¶¶ Counts Two, Three, Four, Seven, Nine, Ten, and Fourteen. Glaringly absent from the Complaint, however, are any factual allegations concerning how Plaintiffs Purpura and Laster will be affected by the Act or any of its provisions. At best, in their opposition to Defendants' motion, Plaintiffs contend that they are "personally effected [sic] by the 'Act'" since "Mr. Purpura is 68 years of age and loses "Medicare Advantage["]; whether he chooses or not to use it, privacy of his medical records; a violation of Amendment 4; Mr. Laster is handicapped and will now be tax [sic] on medical devices that cross State lines, and will suffer the restrictions to certain drugs, to[sic] that might not meet the cost accounting decision by government bureaucrat." Pls.' Opposition at n.6. Although these "facts" were not included in the Complaint or by Affidavit or Certification attached to any of Plaintiffs' filings, the Court will accept these facts as true for the purpose of deciding this motion.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

"It is a principle of first importance that federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction."

13 Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Edward H. Cooper, Federal Practice and Procedure § 3522 (2d ed.1984). Accordingly, federal courts are duty-bound to ensure that they have jurisdiction over the matters before them. As noted previously, the instant motion was filed as one to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction; thus, the Plaintiffs bear the burden of establishing this Court's jurisdiction. Kehr Packages, Inc., v. Fidelcor, Inc., 926 F.2d 1406, 1409 (3d Cir. 1991).

Challenges to subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) may be "facial" or "factual." Taliaferro v. Darby Twp. Zoning Bd., 458 F.3d 181, 188 (3d Cir.2006) (citations omitted). Facial attacks "contest the sufficiency of the pleadings, and the trial court must accept the complaint's allegations as true." Turicentro, S.A. v. American Airlines, Inc., 303 F.3d 293, 300 n. 4 (3d Cir.2002) (citing NE Hub Partners, L.P. v. CNG Transmission Corp., 239 F.3d 333, 341 n. 7 (3d Cir.2001)); see also In re Kaiser Group Int'l Inc., 399 F.3d 558, 561 (3d Cir.2005) (In evaluating "facial" subject matter jurisdiction attacks, the court ordinarily accepts all well-pleaded factual allegations as true, and views all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor). Essentially, a "facial" challenge by the defendant contests the adequacy of the language used in the pleading. Turicentro, 303 F.3d at 300 n.4. Factual challenges, on the other hand, attack the factual basis for subject matter jurisdiction; that is, in a factual challenge to jurisdiction, the defendant argues that the allegations on which jurisdiction depends are not true as a matter of fact. See Turicentro, 303 F.3d at 300. As such, the court is not confined to the allegations in the complaint, but may look ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.