EBEL, Circuit Judge.
An Oklahoma statute makes abortion providers liable for any subsequent medical costs that may be required because of an abortion performed on a minor without parental consent or knowledge. Seeking to challenge the constitutionality of that statute, Nova Health Services ("Nova"), an abortion provider, brought this action for injunctive and declaratory relief against various officials who oversee certain public health care facilities in Oklahoma. These public officials have not attempted to recover any medical costs from Nova under the challenged statute, although it is possible that they may seek to do so sometime in the future.
The district court held that there was a justiciable case or controversy between the parties and entered summary judgment against the defendants. The court issued declaratory and injunctive relief against the defendants, declaring that the Oklahoma statute imposed an unconstitutional burden on a woman's ability to obtain an abortion and was excessively vague.
We now hold that Nova lacked standing to bring this lawsuit because it has not shown that the injury it may have suffered due to the challenged Oklahoma law was caused by these particular defendants or that it would be redressed by a judgment
Absent a genuine case or controversy between the parties, it is not constitutionally permissible for the federal courts to decide the issues presented. Accordingly, we VACATE the order of the district court against the defendants in this appeal,
Prior to June 2001, Nova offered abortions to minors without requiring that they first notify a parent. According to Nova, it "saw approximately one to two minors a month who had not consulted with a parent regarding their abortion." When a prospective minor patient stated that she had not talked to a parent about the abortion, Nova would encourage her to do so but would ultimately leave that decision to the patient. In "many cases," the minor eventually would choose to consult with a parent about the abortion.
In June 2001, Oklahoma enacted a law providing that:
Okla. Stat. tit. 63, § 1-740. Although this law applies only to abortions performed on minors without parental "consent or knowledge," Nova responded by deciding that, in the future, it would require minors to produce in-person parental consent in order to obtain an abortion there. Since § 1-740 came into effect, Nova alleges that it has "turn[ed] away young women who have valid and compelling reasons for not involving their parents in their decision." More specifically, Nova asserts that between July 2001 and January 2002 at least 31 minors declared that they would not bring a parent to the clinic to give consent.
Less than a week after § 1-740 came into effect, Nova filed the instant lawsuit in federal district court seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. The four defendants in this appeal are Oklahoma public officials whose functions include overseeing certain state medical institutions. Nova alleged in its complaint that each of these institutions provide some form of medical treatment services, but the record does not detail the scope of their activities.
Dean Gandy is the Executive Director of the University Hospitals Authority, which oversees Oklahoma Memorial Hospital and Children's Hospital of Oklahoma. See Okla. Stat. tit. 63, § 3204. Terry L. Cline is the Commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, which manages state institutions designed to treat mental illness and drug and alcohol dependency. See
Before the district court, Nova argued that § 1-740 is unconstitutional because it lacks an exception for abortions performed in medical emergencies, lacks a judicial bypass procedure, and is impermissibly vague. The defendants argued, among other things, that Nova failed to demonstrate Article III standing. The district court denied the defendants' motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment, and granted Nova's motion for summary judgment. The defendants listed above appealed. For the reasons discussed below, we VACATE the judgments against these defendants and DISMISS for lack of standing.
As an irreducible constitutional minimum, a plaintiff must satisfy three criteria in order for there to be a "case or controversy" that may be resolved by the federal courts. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560, 112 S.Ct. 2130, 119 L.Ed.2d 351 (1992). First, the plaintiff must have suffered an "injury in fact"—an invasion of a legally protected interest that is both (a) concrete and particularized and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical. Id. Second, there must be a causal connection between that injury and the challenged action of the defendant—the injury must be "fairly traceable" to the defendant, and not the result of the independent action of some third party. Id. Finally, it must be likely, not merely speculative, that a favorable judgment will redress the plaintiff's injury. Id. at 561, 112 S.Ct. 2130.
We review questions of standing de novo. Utah v. Babbitt, 137 F.3d 1193, 1203 (10th Cir.1998). As the party seeking to invoke federal jurisdiction, the plaintiff (here Nova) has the burden of establishing each of these three elements of Article III standing. See Lujan, 504 U.S. at 561, 112 S.Ct. 2130. At the summary judgment stage, the plaintiff must set forth by affidavit or other evidence specific facts that, if taken as true, establish each of these elements. Id. "A federal court is powerless to create its own jurisdiction by embellishing otherwise deficient allegations of standing." Whitmore v. Arkansas, 495 U.S. 149, 155-56, 110 S.Ct. 1717, 109 L.Ed.2d 135 (1990).
Standing is determined as of the time the action is brought. See Smith v. Sperling, 354 U.S. 91, 93 n. 1, 77 S.Ct. 1112, 1 L.Ed.2d 1205 (1957); see also Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Envtl. Servs., 528 U.S. 167, 180, 120 S.Ct. 693, 145 L.Ed.2d 610 (2000) ("[W]e have an obligation to assure ourselves that [plaintiff] had Article III standing at the outset of the litigation.") (emphasis added); Focus on the Family v. Pinellas Suncoast
A. Injury In Fact
As noted above, an injury in fact must be actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical. Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560, 112 S.Ct. 2130. "Allegations of possible future injury do not satisfy the requirements of Art. III. A threatened injury must be `certainly impending' to constitute injury in fact." Whitmore, 495 U.S. at 158, 110 S.Ct. 1717. "An Article III injury ... must be more than a possibility.... The threat of injury must be both real and immediate." Essence, Inc. v. City of Federal Heights, 285 F.3d 1272, 1282 (10th Cir.2002) (quotation omitted).
There is evidence in the record that, before § 1-740 came into effect, one or two minors each month would seek abortions at Nova without first consulting with a parent. In light of this past demand for abortions without parental involvement, Nova certainly could have expected to lose some business under its new policy demanding that minors obtain in-person parental consent. Further, there is evidence in the record that Nova actually turned away 31 minors who sought abortions between July 2001 and January 2002, after § 1-740 came into effect, because they refused to comply with Nova's new parental consent policy.
This evidence is enough, for summary judgment purposes, to support a conclusion that it was imminent at the time Nova brought this action that it would lose some minor patients. See Singleton v. Wulff, 428 U.S. 106, 113, 96 S.Ct. 2868, 49 L.Ed.2d 826 (1976) (identifying abortion providers' injury as a direct financial impact on their practice); Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179, 188, 93 S.Ct. 739, 35 L.Ed.2d 201 (1973) (physicians may establish injury in fact when challenging abortion regulations by showing a "sufficiently direct threat of personal detriment"); Salem Inn, Inc. v. Frank, 522 F.2d 1045, 1047 n. 10 (2d Cir. 1975) (standing established when plaintiff suffered economic loss due to compliance with a challenged ordinance).
Accordingly, Nova has sufficiently demonstrated at this stage of the litigation that it faced a concrete and imminent injury in fact. More specifically, as of June 2001, Nova faced an imminent likelihood that it would lose some minor patients seeking abortions.
We next turn to whether Nova's injury in fact—the imminent threat that
To invoke federal jurisdiction, a plaintiff must show that his or her injury is "fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant, and not the result of the independent action of some third party not before the court." Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560, 112 S.Ct. 2130 (quotation omitted). As other courts have noted, Article III's causation requirement demands "something less than the concept of `proximate cause.'" See Focus on the Family, 344 F.3d at 1273. Yet Article III does at least require proof of a substantial likelihood that the defendant's conduct caused plaintiff's injury in fact. See Utah v. Evans, 536 U.S. 452, 464, 122 S.Ct. 2191, 153 L.Ed.2d 453 (2002); Franklin v. Massachusetts, 505 U.S. 788, 803, 112 S.Ct. 2767, 120 L.Ed.2d 636 (1992); Duke Power Co. v. Carolina Envtl. Study Group, Inc., 438 U.S. 59, 74-78, 98 S.Ct. 2620, 57 L.Ed.2d 595 (1978).
As explained above, § 1-740 makes abortion providers liable for any subsequent medical costs necessitated by an abortion that was performed without parental consent or knowledge. Okla. Stat. tit. 63, § 1-740. In addition to allowing certain minors the right to recover their post-abortion medical expenses, it appears that the statute also enables suits by medical facilities that incur certain treatment costs that their patients fail to reimburse.
Nova has produced some evidence that the enactment of § 1-740 coerced it into requiring at least some sort of parental involvement prior to performing an abortion on a minor. In turn, there is evidence that Nova's new policy made it imminent that it would lose some minor patients.
We hold that Nova has failed to show the required causal connection between its injury and these defendants. First, there is no evidence that the defendants have done or have threatened to do anything that presents a substantial likelihood of causing Nova harm. Nova submitted evidence that its refusal to offer abortions absent parental consent was a response to the enactment of § 1-740, not a response to any actions of these particular public officials. Additionally, nothing in the record suggests that the conduct of any of these defendants substantially caused Nova to stop offering abortions to minors without parental involvement. Therefore, it is at best merely speculative whether these defendants caused Nova's decision to require parental consent, with a concomitant prospective loss of patients that flowed from that decision. The plaintiff's burden of demonstrating causation is not satisfied when "[s]peculative inferences are necessary to connect [its] injury to the challenged actions." See Simon v. E. Ky. Welfare Rights Org., 426 U.S. 26, 45-46, 96 S.Ct. 1917, 48 L.Ed.2d 450 (1976).
In other words, Nova has "confus[ed] the statute's immediate coercive effect on the plaintiff[ ] with any coercive effect that might be applied by the defendants." See Okpalobi v. Foster, 244 F.3d 405, 426 (5th Cir.2001) (en banc) (emphasis in original) (holding that a state's governor and attorney general were not proper defendants when they had no power to enforce the challenged statute). Nothing in the record distinguishes these particular defendants from anyone else who could possibly have a claim someday under § 1-740 (including, for example, minors themselves who might seek an abortion without parental notification and who might incur subsequent medical costs).
It may be true that these defendants potentially have the power to sue Nova under § 1-740, in the event that they happen to (1) incur medical costs (2) not reimbursed by the patient (3) that were required because of an abortion (4) performed by Nova (5) on a minor (6) without parental consent or knowledge. In this respect, § 1-740 is not unlike a multitude of other state tort laws under which these defendants might someday have a cause of action. Yet if these defendants' latent power to litigate were enough to support standing, anyone who might someday have a claim under § 1-740 could be summoned preemptively before the federal courts to defend the constitutionality of that statute. Article III does not allow a plaintiff who wishes to challenge state legislation to do so simply by naming as a defendant anyone who, under appropriate circumstances,
Furthermore, it makes no difference in this case that each of the defendants are public officials sued in their official capacities. In Wilson v. Stocker, we noted that an official who is charged with enforcing a state statute on behalf of the entire state is a proper defendant, so long as the plaintiff shows an appreciable threat of injury flowing directly from the statute. 819 F.2d 943, 947 (10th Cir.1987) (finding standing to sue the Oklahoma Attorney General to challenge a state criminal statute he was charged with enforcing). Other courts have reached similar conclusions. See Mobil Oil Corp. v. Attorney General of Va., 940 F.2d 73, 74-75, 76 n. 2 (4th Cir.1991) (finding standing to sue "the state's enforcement officer (the Attorney General)" who had authority to enforce a petroleum franchise law by seeking "stiff civil remed[ies]"); Corporate Health Ins., Inc. v. Texas Dep't of Ins., 215 F.3d 526, 532 (5th Cir.2000) (finding standing to sue the state Attorney General, who could enforce the challenged act on the state's behalf through regulatory oversight responsibility, and noting that "[t]his is not a case in which private suits are the only means of enforcing [the statute]"), abrogated on other grounds by Rush Prudential HMO, Inc. v. Moran, 536 U.S. 355, 122 S.Ct. 2151, 153 L.Ed.2d 375 (2002).
In contrast, the defendants in this case are not charged with enforcing § 1-740 on Oklahoma's behalf. Rather, they are simply able to bring a civil suit under that statute (along with any other potentially relevant state law) in their proprietary capacities as directors of certain public medical institutions. Wilson deals only with suits against "state enforcement officers" to challenge the laws they execute as a representative of the state. See Wilson, 819 F.2d at 947. Wilson did not vest all public officials with standing to litigate the constitutionality of any state legislation that might be the basis of a future lawsuit in which the state agency might be a civil litigant seeking compensatory damages.
In sum, although Nova has shown that it suffered an injury in fact, it has failed to demonstrate that its injury was caused by "the challenged action of the defendant[s], and not the result of the independent action of some third party not before the court." Cf. Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560, 112 S.Ct. 2130 (quotation omitted). Therefore, Article III does not permit us to decide the merits of Nova's claims.
Article III further requires that the plaintiff demonstrate a substantial likelihood that the relief requested will redress its injury in fact. Ash Creek Mining Co. v. Lujan, 969 F.2d 868, 875 (10th Cir.1992). The plaintiff must show that a favorable judgment will relieve a discrete injury, although it need not relieve his or her every injury. Larson v. Valente, 456 U.S. 228, 243 n. 15, 102 S.Ct. 1673, 72 L.Ed.2d 33 (1982).
We hold that Nova has failed to show that a judgment against the defendants in this action would likely redress its lost patients injury. As noted above, the record contains evidence that the enactment of § 1-740 created the imminent possibility that Nova would be reasonably coerced into turning away prospective minor patients who would not obtain parental consent. Yet the record cannot support a conclusion that a judgment enjoining only these defendants from filing suit to recover
In this case, like many, "redressability and traceability overlap as two sides of a causation coin." See Cache Valley Elec. Co. v. Utah Dep't of Transp., 149 F.3d 1119, 1123 (10th Cir.1998) (quotation omitted). Even if these defendants were enjoined from seeking damages against Nova under § 1-740, there would still be a multitude of other prospective litigants who could potentially sue Nova under that act. Most significantly, a judgment in Nova's favor would do nothing to prevent lawsuits against Nova by the minor patients who actually require subsequent medical care, or by any doctors or non-defendant hospitals and medical clinics who may treat them.
Consequently, nothing in the record suggests that a judgment against these defendants would materially reduce the coercive effect of § 1-740 that Nova claims prevented it from offering abortions to minors without parental consent. In turn, such a judgment would likely do nothing to prevent Nova from losing minor patients in the future, and thus would not be substantially likely to redress Nova's injury in fact. See Essence, 285 F.3d at 1280 (at the summary judgment stage, mere allegations of redressability are not enough to support standing).
Finally, we reject Nova's argument that a favorable declaratory judgment against these defendants would redress its injury by deterring other potential litigants from relying on § 1-740, even in state court. As an initial matter, Nova's argument is entirely speculative. More fundamentally, it overlooks the principle that it must be the effect of the court's judgment on the defendant that redresses the plaintiff's injury, whether directly or indirectly. See Ash Creek Mining Co., 969 F.2d at 875 (the redressability inquiry looks to whether "the relief requested will redress the injury claimed") (emphasis added); Cox v. Phelps Dodge Corp., 43 F.3d 1345, 1348 (10th Cir.1994) ("[W]hat makes a declaratory judgment action `a proper judicial resolution of a `case or controversy' rather than an advisory opinion is the settling of some dispute which affects the behavior of the defendant toward the plaintiff.'") (superceded by statute on other grounds) (emphasis added) (quoting Hewitt v. Helms, 482 U.S. 755, 761, 107 S.Ct. 2672, 96 L.Ed.2d 654 (1987)). "If courts may simply assume that everyone (including those who are not proper parties to an action) will honor the legal rationales that underlie their decrees, then redressability will always exist. Redressability requires that the court be able to afford relief through the exercise of its power, not through the persuasive or even awe-inspiring effect of the opinion explaining the exercise of its power." Franklin v. Massachusetts, 505 U.S. 788, 825, 112 S.Ct. 2767, 120 L.Ed.2d 636 (1992) (Scalia, J., concurring) (emphasis omitted).
Article III's standing requirements guarantee that both plaintiffs and defendants have "such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions." See Duke Power Co., 438 U.S. at 72, 98 S.Ct. 2620 (quotation omitted).
Our decision that Nova's injury is not fairly traceable to the defendants in this action and not likely redressable by a judgment against these defendants reflects this fundamental policy. The incentives of these defendants—hospital directors and university administrators—to defend a politically divisive abortion statute is not particularly strong, at least at the present time when these defendants have no actual or imminent claims against Nova under the statute. Article III sensibly requires the federal courts to refrain from determining the validity of that legislation until the issue reaches us as part of a genuine case or controversy between adverse parties—i.e., in a case presenting a claim of concrete and actual or imminent injury traceable to the named defendants which is redressable by the authority of a judgment against those defendants. No such case or controversy is presented in this litigation.
We VACATE the judgment of the district court against the defendants in this appeal, and DISMISS for lack of standing.
BRISCOE, Circuit Judge, concurring & dissenting:
I concur in the majority's conclusion that Nova has failed to demonstrate Article III standing for its claim seeking injunctive relief. I respectfully dissent, however, from the majority's conclusion that Nova lacks standing to pursue its claim for declaratory relief. In my view, Nova has shown that the conduct of these defendants is causally connected to Nova's injury and, further, that our declaring § 1-740 unconstitutional would redress its injuries.
The majority correctly states that, to prove causation, a plaintiff must show his or her injury is "fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant, and not the result of the independent action of some third party not before the court." Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560, 112 S.Ct. 2130 (emphasis added). However, the majority applies a heightened standard to determine if Nova has established causation, stating, "Article III does at least require proof of a substantial likelihood that the defendant's conduct caused plaintiff's injury in fact." Maj. Op. at 1156 (emphasis added). The majority concludes Nova cannot establish causation because Nova is unable to show "the required causal connection between its injury and these defendants" because "there is no evidence that defendants have done or have threatened to do anything that presents a substantial likelihood of causing Nova harm." Id. at 14 (emphasis added). Further, the majority views Nova's suing of state officials in their official capacities as irrelevant to the causation analysis because § 1-740 does not explicitly charge these defendants with enforcement of § 1-740. The majority reasons that, since these defendants are not responsible for enforcing § 1-740, Nova's injuries are not fairly traceable to them.
I find no support for the majority's conclusion that Nova must show a "substantial likelihood" that defendants' conduct caused Nova's injuries in this case. The reason this conclusion lacks support is apparent. In a case such as this where the plaintiff seeks pre-enforcement review of a statute's constitutionality, it is often the case that the defendant has not enforced (or even threatened to enforce) the statute. As this court explained in Wilson v. Stocker, 819 F.2d 943, 947 (10th Cir.1987), the lack of enforcement alone does not prevent a plaintiff from proving causation.
Wilson, 819 F.2d at 946-47 (internal citations omitted). To require that a plaintiff seeking to prove causation must first show that there was a substantial likelihood that defendants caused plaintiff's injury abandons this line of cases, which directly address standing in the context of declaratory judgment actions. This result forces Nova to confront the Hobson's choice the Declaratory Judgment Act was intended to prevent: impose a parental involvement requirement that may potentially harm its patients, or face unlimited strict civil liability. See Okpalobi v. Foster, 244 F.3d 405, 435 (5th Cir.2001) (Benavides, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part).
I also disagree with the majority's conclusion that these defendants are somehow improper defendants because they are not directly charged with enforcement of the statute. Nova seeks declaratory relief. As the majority correctly notes, "a plaintiff challenging the constitutionality of a state statute has a sufficiently adverse legal interest to a state enforcement officer sued in his representative capacity to create a substantial controversy when ... the plaintiff shows an appreciable threat of injury flowing directly from the statute." Id. at 947 (emphasis added); see also Planned Parenthood v. Wasden, 376 F.3d 908, 919 (9th Cir.2004) (noting the fact that defendants, attorney general and county prosecutor were empowered to enforce Idaho parental consent statute was sufficient to establish causation); Planned Parenthood v. Farmer, 220 F.3d 127, 147 (3d Cir.2000) (noting because Pennsylvania's partial birth abortion ban was "so vague as to be impervious to a readily susceptible narrowing construction, [and thus] effectuat[ed] a ban on the conventional types of abortions," the act by its existence presented an imminent injury which was more than fairly traceable to the state's potential enforcement of the act). In this case, Nova claims, and the majority agrees, that the statute's mere existence presents an "appreciable threat of injury" based on the fact minors will not obtain abortions from Nova as a result of § 1-740. Therefore, as I read Wilson, whether Nova has established its injury is causally related to these defendants sued in their official capacities turns on whether § 1-740 authorizes these defendants to sue Nova on behalf of the state — and clearly it does.
Section 1-740 provides: "Any person who performs an abortion on a minor without parental consent or knowledge shall be liable for the cost of any subsequent medical treatment such minor might require because of the abortion." Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 63, § 1-740. On its face, the statute creates liability for an abortion provider who performs an abortion on a minor without parental consent for any subsequent medical treatment the minor may require because of the abortion, but it places no limitations on the class of potential plaintiffs that may sue abortion providers to recover those medical expenses. Thus, unlike the statutes at issue in Hope Clinic v. Ryan, 249 F.3d 603 (7th Cir.2001) (limiting right to sue to maternal grandparents of aborted fetus), and Okpalobi v. Foster, 244 F.3d 405 (5th Cir.2001) (limiting right to sue to mother of aborted fetus), § 1-740
Here, Nova seeks declaratory relief against four state officials sued in their official capacities, each of whom is authorized by § 1-740 to sue Nova for costs the State of Oklahoma incurs on behalf of minors who obtain abortions from Nova without parental consent. Nova decided to stop providing abortions to minors who did not have parent consent based on its fear that Oklahoma state officials, acting in their official capacities, would attempt to recover under § 1-740.
To establish redressability, a plaintiff must show it is likely that a favorable court decision will redress the injury to the plaintiff. See Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560, 112 S.Ct. 2130. Nova seeks a declaratory judgment, stating § 1-740 is unconstitutional because it is facially vague. The majority reasons that a favorable declaratory judgment will not redress Nova's injuries because, even if we declare § 1-740 unconstitutional, that declaration is only valid against these four defendants. Therefore, the majority concludes Nova lacks standing because it is unable to obtain a declaration as to the statute's constitutionality against every potential party that might use § 1-740 to sue Nova. I disagree.
A plaintiff seeking declaratory relief establishes redressability if the practical consequence of a declaration "would amount to a significant increase in the likelihood that the plaintiff would obtain relief that directly redresses the injury suffered." Utah v. Evans, 536 U.S. 452, 464, 122 S.Ct. 2191, 153 L.Ed.2d 453 (2002); see also Franklin v. Massachusetts, 505 U.S. 788, 803, 112 S.Ct. 2767, 120 L.Ed.2d 636 (1992) (stating "we may assume it is substantially likely that the President and other executive and congressional officials would abide by an authoritative interpretation of the census statute and constitutional provision by the District Court, even though they would not be directly bound by such a determination"); Duke Power, 438 U.S. at 75 n. 20, 98 S.Ct. 2620 ("Our recent cases have required no more than a showing that there is a `substantial likelihood' that the relief requested will redress the injury claimed."). As regards the present case, we may assume future parties that would
Nova has been injured by the fact that, as a result of enactment of § 1-740, it has faced an imminent likelihood that it would lose some patients who are minors seeking abortions. The relief Nova requests is a declaration that § 1-740 is unconstitutional because it is so vague that it violates due process. If we declare § 1-740 unconstitutional, there is a substantial likelihood that the precedential value of our opinion will prevent future parties from attempting to recover under § 1-740. Nova will be able to offer abortions to minors without the fear that parties will use § 1-740 to sue Nova. Thus, the declaration Nova requests sufficiently redresses Nova's injury by granting it a substantial basis for confidence in the legality of its conduct. See Roe, 410 U.S. at 166, 93 S.Ct. 705.
Because Nova has demonstrated an injury-in-fact, causation, and redressability, I conclude Nova has standing in its individual capacity to sue defendants Gandy, Cline, Halligan, and Boren.
Additionally, Nova's mere possible future exposure to civil liability under § 1-740 is too remote to constitute an actual or imminent injury in fact. Nova could only be subject to liability under § 1-740 if it performs an abortion on a minor without parental consent or knowledge, if that minor requires subsequent medical treatment because of that abortion, and if the minor does in fact obtain such treatment. Although such a chair, of events would indeed be possible, any threat of this kind of injury is far from immediate.
"At some point, standing may be denied because the injury seems solely — or almost soely — attributable to the plaintiff.... Standing is defeated only if it is concluded that the injury is so completely due to the plaintiff's own fault as to break the causal chain." 13 Fed. Prac. & Proc. Juris.2d § 3531.5, Causation (2004); see also Pennsylvania v. New Jersey, 426 U.S. 660, 664, 96 S.Ct. 2333, 49 L.Ed.2d 124 (1976) ("No [party] can be heard to complain about damage inflicted by its own hand." ); Rodos v. Michaelson, 527 F.2d 582, 584-85 (st Cir.1975) (no standing when injury was caused by plaintiffs' unreasonable overreaction to an abortion statute); Petro-Chem Processing, Inc. v. EPA, 866 F.2d 433, 438 (D.C.Cir.1989) (addressing the self-inflicted nature of an injury under the rubric of causation).
For other reasons, as explained below, Nova failed to demonstrate the required causal connection between its injury and the defendants in this action. Therefore, it is not necessary for us to address here whether Nova's overreaction to § 1-740 would have broken a properly established causal chain.