Def.'s Mem. at 8. Because the Court rejects Bell Atlantic's argument as to
the section 251 claim, its argument as to the section 202(a) claim is
rejected as well.
Bell Atlantic next argues that the Trinko partnership lacks standing to
bring the Communications Act claims because the rights created by
sections 251 and 202 do not belong to plaintiff, but instead belong to
the competing local carriers. Thus, Bell Atlantic maintains, any injury
suffered by plaintiff and other class members is indirect and derivative
of the injury suffered by the competing local carriers through
defendant's alleged violation of those rights.
"The doctrine of standing incorporates both constitutional and
prudential limitations on federal court jurisdiction." Wight v.
Bankamerica Corp., 219 F.3d 79, 86 (2d Cir. 2000) (quoting Lamont v.
Woods, 948 F.2d 825, 829 (2d Cir. 1991)); Comer v. Cisneros, 37 F.3d 775,
787 (2d Cir. 1994). The constitutional dimension, which derives from the
"case or controversy" requirement of Article III, see Sullivan v.
Syracuse Hous. Auth., 962 F.2d 1101, 1106 (2d Cir. 1992), "requires the
party invoking the power of a federal court to have at least a `personal
stake in the outcome of the controversy.'" Wight, 219 F.3d at 86 (quoting
Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 498 (1975)); see also Allen v. Wright,
468 U.S. 737, 751 (1984).
There are also several judicially created "prudential" requirements.
Lamont, 948 F.2d at 829. These rules of judicial self-restraint are
applied to further preserve a "`proper — and properly limited
— role of the courts in a democratic society.'" Allen, 468 U.S. at
750 (quoting Warth, 422 U.S. at 498); see also Sullivan, 962 F.2d at
1106. "Foremost among the prudential requirements is the rule that a
party must `assert his own legal rights and interests, and cannot rest his
claim to relief on the legal rights or interests of third parties.'"
Wight, 219 F.3d at 86 (quoting Warth, 422 U.S. at 499). Properly
understood, the "prudential" limit on standing to raise the claims of
another is a canon of statutory interpretation that raises a presumption
against such standing, which presumption Congress is free to override.
Fair Employment Council of Greater Washington Inc. v. BMC Marketing
Corp., 28 F.3d 1268, 1278 (D.C. Cir. 1994).
Applying these principles to this case, plaintiff has satisfied the
constitutional standing requirements. As discussed above, the Trinko
partnership has alleged injuries to itself and other class members, which
injuries give it the "personal stake in the outcome of the controversy"
that Article III demands. See Warth, 422 U.S. at 498.
The prudential standing requirements are another matter. Section 251
imposes duties on incumbent carriers only as to local competitors, and
those rights are triggered only when a competing carrier requests
interconnection 47 U.S.C. § 251, 252. Thus, the Trinko partnership's
section 251 claim is not a claim for damages resulting from a violation
of its rights. but rather a claim for damages resulting from a violation
of a third party's rights, i.e., the rights of the Trinko partnership's
local telephone company. Because the rule that a party cannot rest his
claim to relief on the legal rights or interests of third parties is the
"foremost" tenet of prudential standing, Wight, 219 F.3d at 86, the
Trinko partnership's section 207 claim based on a violation of section
251 must be dismissed.
The duties imposed on carriers by section 202(a), on the other hand, do
not apply only to "competitors", but instead apply more broadly to "any
particular person, class of persons, or locality" to which that carrier
provides service. 47 U.S.C. § 202(a). Thus, if plaintiff and other
class members receive service from Bell
Atlantic, it owes them duties of
non-discrimination pursuant to section 202(a) even if Bell Atlantic is
acting on behalf of its competitors pursuant to an interconnection
agreement. If defendant has breached such duties, the Trinko
partnership's damages flowing from that breach arise from a violation of
its rights, and not the rights of any third party.
The complaint, however, contains no allegation that the Trinko
partnership or any other class member receives any service directly from
Bell Atlantic. Instead, the Trinko partnership alleges that Bell Atlantic
has failed to provide non-discriminatory service to its competitors.
E.g., Compl. ¶ 31. Accordingly, plaintiffs section 207 claim based on
violations of section 202(a) is dismissed with leave to replead the
direct provision of services by Bell Atlantic to the Trinko partnership
and other class members on discriminatory terms.
3. Other Arguments
Having dismissed plaintiffs Communications Act claims for lack of
standing, the Court need not address Bell Atlantic's arguments that the
Trinko partnership has failed to sufficiently plead damages and that its
claims are barred by the filed tariff doctrine.
C. Tortious Interference Claim
As this Court has dismissed all of plaintiffs federal claims, there
remains no independent basis for federal jurisdiction over the remaining
state law claim for tortious interference. That claim, therefore, is
dismissed. See 18 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3); Carnegie-Mellon Univ. v.
Cohill, 484 U.S. 343, 350 (1988); Baylis v. Marriott Corp., 843 F.2d 658,
665 (2d Cir. 1988). Accordingly, the Court need not address Bell
Atlantic's arguments that the Trinko partnership has failed to state a
claim for tortious interference and that the claim is also barred by the
filed tariff doctrine.
For the reasons set forth above, the motion to dismiss the complaint is
granted. Plaintiff may replead its Communications Act claim based on
defendant's alleged violation of 47 U.S.C. § 202(a) as well as its
supplemental claim for tortious interference with contract within 20 days
of this Opinion and Order.
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