FRANCO v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
422 F.Supp.2d 216 (2006)
United States District Court, District of Columbia.
March 22, 2006.
The plaintiffs are owners and tenants of property located in the Skyland Shopping Center ("Skyland Center") in Southeast Washington, D.C. The Skyland Center is an 11.5 acre shopping center comprised of several individually owned parcels containing a range of local, regional, and national businesses. Am. Compl. ¶ 11. Plaintiff Samuel Franco is the fee simple owner of 2838 Alabama Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. 20020 ("Property 1"). Am. Compl. ¶ 2. Adjacent to that property, plaintiffs Samuel Franco, Nathan Franco, and Allen Franco are lessees of 2834 Alabama Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. 20020 ("Property 2"). Id. In addition, plaintiff D Mart operates a retail business on the combined grounds of both properties. Id.
In 2004, the District of Columbia passed a series of legislation ("Skyland Legislation") which authorized NCRC to "acquire and assemble land, real property . . . through condemnation of property by eminent domain in furtherance of the public purposes." D.C.Code § 2-1219.19. Action taken pursuant to this statute is subject to an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the D.C. Council. Id. On April 5, 2005, the National Capital Revitalization Corporation Eminent Domain Clarification and Skyland Eminent Domain Approval Act of 2004 ("Skyland Act") became law. Am. Compl. at 10. Pursuant to the Skyland Act, the D.C. Council found the revitalization of the Skyland area to be "necessary and desirable for the public" and authorized NCRC to exercise eminent domain power to redevelop the Skyland Center. D.C.Code § 2-1219.19.B. Procedural History
On May 25, 2005, the plaintiffs filed suit seeking declaratory judgment that the Skyland Legislation is unconstitutional and asking the court to permanently enjoin the defendants from commencing eminent domain proceedings. See generally Am. Compl. After the Supreme Court's decision in Kelo v. City of New London, Conn., ___ U.S. ___, 125 S.Ct. 2655, 162 L.Ed.2d 439 (2005), the plaintiffs amended their complaint to add Fifth Amendment violations and separate violations of the D.C. Home Rules Act. Id. ¶¶ 51-93.
On July 8, 2005, NCRC filed a condemnation proceeding in D.C. Superior Court to acquire Property 1, owned exclusively by plaintiff Samuel Franco. On July 11, 2005, plaintiff Samuel Franco removed that action to this court. On November 28, 2005, the court determined that the plaintiff had waived his right to remove the case and remanded it back to the D.C. Superior Court. No condemnation proceedings have yet commenced for Property 2.
On August 1, 2005, the defendants filed a joint motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' amended complaint on the grounds that the court does not have subject-matter jurisdiction and that the plaintiffs have failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss III. ANALYSIS
Am. Compl. ("Defs.' Mot.") at 2. In addition, the defendants assert that the plaintiffs' complaint can be heard in Superior Court, and that this court, therefore, should abstain from proceeding with the instant suit. Defs.' Mot. at 2. The court now turns to the defendants' motion.