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Alan Kachalsky, Christina Nikolov, Eric Detmer, Johnnie Nance v. Susan Cacace

September 2, 2011

ALAN KACHALSKY, CHRISTINA NIKOLOV, ERIC DETMER, JOHNNIE NANCE,
ANNA MARCUCCI-NANCE, AND SECOND AMENDMENT FOUNDATION, INC., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
SUSAN CACACE, JEFFREY A. COHEN, ALBERT LORENZO, ROBERT K. HOLDMAN, AND COUNTY OF WESTCHESTER, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Seibel, J.

OPINION AND ORDER

Before the Court are the Motion to Dismiss of Defendants Susan Cacace, Jeffrey A. Cohen, Albert Lorenzo, and Robert K. Holdman (the "State Defendants"), (Doc. 30);*fn1 the Motion to Dismiss of Defendant County of Westchester (the "County"), (Doc. 33); the Motion for Summary Judgment of Plaintiffs Alan Kachalsky, Christina Nikolov, Eric Detmer, Johnnie Nance, Anna Marcucci-Nance, (together, the "Individual Plaintiffs"), and Second Amendment Foundation, Inc. ("SAF"), (Doc. 39); and the State Defendants' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. 42).

I.BACKGROUND

For purposes of deciding the Motions to Dismiss, I assume the facts (but not the conclusions) as alleged in the First Amended Complaint to be true, and for purposes of deciding the Motion and Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, the following facts are undisputed, except where noted.

The instant case presents a facial and as-applied constitutional challenge to New York Penal Law ("NYPL") Section 400.00(2)(f), which provides that licenses to "have and carry concealed" handguns "shall be issued" to "any person when proper cause exists for the issuance thereof." Plaintiffs claim that the statute violates their rights under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as recognized in the Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), and made applicable to the states in McDonald v. City of Chicago, 130 S. Ct. 3020 (2010). To give proper context to Plaintiffs' claims, a brief description of New York's handgun licensing scheme is warranted.

A.New York's Handgun Licensing Scheme

The NYPL provides for the licensed possession of handguns in New York State. Article 265 of the NYPL imposes a general ban on the possession of firearms, see N.Y. Penal Law § 265.01(1), which includes handguns, id. § 265.00(3)(a), but creates various specific exemptions from that ban, see id. § 265.20, including "[p]ossession of a pistol or revolver by a person to whom a license therefor has been issued as provided under [NYPL] section 400.00,"*fn2 id. § 265.20(3); see Matter of O'Connor v. Scarpino, 83 N.Y.2d 919, 920 (1994) (§ 400.00 "is the exclusive statutory mechanism for the licensing of firearms in New York State"). Section 400.00(1) sets out the eligibility requirements for handgun permit applicants and provides, generally, that applicants must: be at least twenty-one years of age; be of good moral character; not have been convicted of a felony or a serious offense; not have suffered any mental illness or been confined to an institution for such illness; not have had a handgun license previously revoked or been the subject of a family court order; not exhibit "good cause . . . for the denial of the license"; and, for applicants in Westchester County, have "successfully completed a firearms safety course and test." N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(1). Section 400.00(2) sets out the various types of licenses available, providing that "[a] license for a pistol or revolver . . . shall be issued" under various circumstances, including, for example, to "have and possess in his dwelling by a householder," to "have and possess in his place of business by a merchant or storekeeper," and to "have and carry concealed" by various city and state judges, bank or express messengers, and corrections officers. Id. § 400.00(2)(a)--(e).

The provision at issue in this case is Section 400.00(2)(f), which provides that a license "shall be issued to . . . have and carry concealed, without regard to employment or place of possession, by any person when proper cause exists for the issuance thereof." Id. § 400.00(2)(f). There is no provision for a license to carry an unconcealed weapon, so for applicants who want to carry a weapon and do not fit in one of the occupational categories, the only way to obtain a license to carry a handgun-whether openly or not-is to meet the requirements, including "proper cause," of the licensing provision for concealed weapons. Though not defined in the NYPL, the term "proper cause" as used in Section 400.00(2)(f) has been interpreted by New York state courts to mean "a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community or of persons engaged in the same profession." Bando v. Sullivan, 735 N.Y.S.2d 660, 662 (3d Dep't 2002) (internal quotation marks omitted); Kaplan v. Bratton, 673 N.Y.S.2d 66, 68 (1st Dep't 1998) (internal quotation marks omitted); Williams v. Bratton, 656 N.Y.S.2d 626, 627 (1st Dep't 1997) (internal quotation marks omitted); Klenosky v. N.Y. City Police Dep't, 428 N.Y.S.2d 256, 257 (1st Dep't 1980), aff'd, 53 N.Y.2d 685 (1981); see Bach v. Pataki, 408 F.3d 75, 80 (2d Cir. 2005).

The application process for licenses under Section 400.00(2)(f), often called "full-carry permits," is administered locally. See N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(3)--(4). Applications for full-carry permits in Westchester County request information concerning, for example, discharge from employment or the armed forces for cause, criminal history, treatment for alcoholism or drug use, history of mental illness, previous firearm licenses, and physical conditions that could interfere with safe and proper use of a handgun. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 16--17; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶¶ 16--17.)*fn3 An applicant must also provide four references to attest to his or her good moral character. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 16; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 16.) Applications are submitted to the Pistol Licensing Unit of the Westchester County Department of Public Safety for investigation consistent with NYPL Section 400.00(4). (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 15, 18; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶¶ 15, 18.) See N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(4) (outlining investigatory procedures). As part of this investigation, the Pistol Licensing Unit reviews the information provided and conducts a series of background checks with the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Instant Criminal Background system, and the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 18--20; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶¶ 18-- 20.)

Once the investigation is complete, an investigation summary is compiled and, along with the application, submitted to a County Police lieutenant, the Chief Inspector of Administrative Services, and the Commissioner or a Deputy Commissioner for review. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 21; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 21.) Based upon that review, the Chief Inspector and Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner generate a recommendation as to whether the full-carry permit should be approved or disapproved, (see, e.g., Pls.' MSJ Exs. C, E, G),*fn4 and the file is submitted to a state licensing officer*fn5 for a final determination, (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 22; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 22). Licensing officers have considerable discretion in deciding whether to grant a license application, see, e.g., Vale v. Eidens, 735 N.Y.S.2d 650, 652 (3d Dep't 2002); Kaplan, 673 N.Y.S.2d at 68; Fromson v. Nelson, 577 N.Y.S.2d 417, 417 (2d Dep't 1991); Marlow v. Buckley, 482 N.Y.S.2d 183, 184 (4th Dep't 1984), particularly in determining whether an applicant has demonstrated "proper cause" under Section 400.00(2)(f), see Bach, 408 F.3d at 79--80 & n.8, and their decisions will not be disturbed unless determined to be arbitrary and capricious, O'Brien v. Keegan, 87 N.Y.2d 436, 439--40 (1996).

B.The Parties

Individual Plaintiffs are all United States citizens who reside in Westchester County. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 1--5; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶¶ 1--5.) Plaintiff SAF is a non-profit membership organization incorporated under the laws of the State of Washington, with its principal place of business in Bellevue, Washington. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 6; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 6.) It claims to have over 650,000 members and supporters nationwide, including in Westchester County, to engage in education, research, publishing, and legal action focusing on the Second Amendment, and to expend resources encouraging the exercise of the right to bear arms, as well as advising and educating its members, supporters, and the general public about policies relating to the public carrying of handguns in New York. (Pls.' 56.1 ¶¶ 25--26.)*fn6 The State Defendants are judges on various courts within the New York State Unified Court System and, at the times of Individual Plaintiffs' full-carry permit applications, described below, served as handgun licensing officers under NYPL Section 265.00(10).*fn7 (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 7--10; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶¶ 7--10.)

C.Plaintiffs' Permit Applications

In May 2008, Plaintiff Kachalsky applied for a full-carry permit to be able to carry a concealed handgun while in public. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 25; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 25.) In his application, Kachalsky asserted that he believed he satisfied Section 400.00(2)(f)'s "proper cause" requirement because he was a U.S. citizen and therefore entitled to "the right to bear arms" under the Second Amendment, "we live in a world where sporadic random violence might at any moment place one in a position where one needs to defend oneself or possibly others," and he was "a law-abiding citizen" who had neither "been convicted of a crime" nor "assaulted or threatened to assault another person." (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 26; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 26.) Upon reviewing Kachalsky's application and completing a corresponding investigation, the Department of Public Safety recommended that the permit be denied. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 27; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 27.) The application, investigation file, and recommendation were forwarded to Defendant Cacace, who, acting as licensing officer, reviewed those materials and issued a decision and order, dated October 8, 200, denying Kachalsky's application. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 28--29; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶¶ 28--29.) Cacace observed that Kachalsky failed to state "any facts which would demonstrate a need for self protection distinguishable from that of the general public," and that "based upon all the facts and circumstances of this application, it is my opinion that proper cause does not exist for the issuance of an unrestricted 'full carry' pistol license." State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 30; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 30.)

On February 6, 2009, Kachalsky filed a petition under Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules with the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, appealing his permit denial. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 31; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 31; Tomari Decl. Ex. L.)*fn8 By Order dated September 8, 2009, the Appellate Division affirmed the denial, holding that Kachalsky "failed to demonstrate 'proper cause' for the issuance of a 'full carry' permit. Accordingly, the respondent's determination was not arbitrary or capricious and should not be disturbed." Kachalsky v. Cacace, 884 N.Y.S.2d 877, 877 (2d Dep't 2009). Kachalsky thereafter sought leave to appeal to the New York State Court of Appeals, (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 32; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 32), but on February 16, 2010, the court dismissed his appeal sua sponte "upon the ground that no substantial constitutional question [was] directly involved," Kachalsky v. Cacace ("Kachalsky II"), 14 N.Y.3d 743, 743 (2010).

In March 2009, Plaintiff Nikolov applied for a full-carry permit. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 35; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 35.) In her application, Nikolov asserted that she believed she satisfied Section 400.00(2)(f)'s "proper cause" requirement because she was a "law-abiding citizen," she possessed a concealed weapon permit in the State of Florida and had neither brandished nor discharged her weapon outside of shooting ranges there, she had completed three firearms safety courses with the National Rifle Association within the previous three years, her experience as a pilot and flight instructor gave her the "calm demeanor . . . essential when either involved in or a witness to a potentially dangerous situation," and she was a transgender female subject to ahigher likelihood of being the victim of violence. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 36; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 36.) Upon reviewing Nikolov's application and completing a corresponding investigation, the Department of Public Safety recommended that the permit be denied. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 37;

Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 37.) The application, investigation file, and recommendation were forwarded to Defendant Cohen, who, acting as licensing officer, reviewed those materials and issued a decision and order, dated October 2, 2008, denying Nikolov's application. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 38--39; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶¶ 38--39.) Cohen observed that "[c]onspicuously absent" from Nikolov's application "is the report of any type of threat to her own safety," and "notwithstanding her accomplishments and unblemished record, it cannot be said that the applicant has demonstrated that she has a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general public." (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 39; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 39; see Tomari Decl. Ex. O.)

In June 2010, Plaintiff Nance applied for a full-carry permit. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 47;

Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 47.) At that time, Nance was licensed to have a handgun for the purpose of target shooting only. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 46; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 46.) In his application, Nance asserted that he believed he satisfied Section 400.00(2)(f)'s "proper cause" requirement because he was a "citizen in good standing in the community," he was "steadily employed and stable," he was "of good moral character," and the permit would facilitate his efforts to become involved with competitive shooting and gun safety instruction. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 48; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 48.) Upon reviewing Nance's application and completing a corresponding investigation, the Department of Public Safety recommended that the permit be denied. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 49; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 49.) The application, investigation file, and recommendation were forwarded to Defendant Holdman, who, acting as licensing officer, reviewed those materials and issued a decision, dated September 9, 2010, denying Nance's application. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 50; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 50.) Holdman observed that Nance had "not provided the court with any information that he faces any danger of any kind that would necessitate the issuance of a full carry firearm license; [and had not] demonstrated a need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general public or of other persons similarly situated." (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 53; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 53.)

As with Nance, in June 2010, Plaintiff Marcucci-Nance applied to amend her pistol permit from a target-shooting permit to a full-carry permit. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 54--55; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶¶ 54--55.) In her application, she cited the same reasons as Nance for why she believed she satisfied Section 400.00(2)(f)'s "proper cause" requirement, (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 56; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 56), and her application was similarly addressed: after an investigation, the Department of Public Safety recommended denial, and Holdman, to whom the application materials were forwarded, denied the application on September 9, 2010, citing the same concerns as he did with respect to Nance. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 57--60; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶¶ 57--60.)

Finally, in July 2010, Plaintiff Detmer applied for a full-carry permit. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 41; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 41.) Like Nance and Marcucci-Nance, Detmer was at that time licensed to have a handgun for the purpose of target shooting only. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 40; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 40.) In his application, Detmer asserted that he believed he satisfied Section 400.00(2)(f)'s "proper cause" requirement because he was a federal law enforcement officer with the U.S. Coast Guard who, while on duty, regularly carried a .40-caliber pistol, and, as part of his training, had completed various courses concerning the use of his pistol. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 42; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 42.) The Department of Public Safety reviewed Detmer's application, conducted its investigation, recommended denial, and subsequently forwarded the file to Defendant Lorenzo, who, acting as licensing officer, reviewed those materials and denied the application. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 44--45; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶¶ 44--45.) Lorenzo informed Detmer of this decision by letter dated September 27, 2010, in which he noted simply that there was "no justification" for issuing a full-carry permit. (State Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 45; Pls.' Resp. 56.1 ¶ 45.)

Individual Plaintiffs state that they have not re-applied for full-carry permits because they believe such acts would be futile, and that they would carry handguns in public but for their fear of arrest, prosecution, fine, and/or imprisonment. (Kachalsky Decl. ¶¶ 3--4; Nikolov Decl. ¶¶ 3-- 4; Nance Decl. ¶¶ 5--6; Marcucci-Nance Decl. ¶¶ 5--6; Detmer Decl. ¶¶ 6--7.)*fn9

D.Plaintiffs' Claims

As late as 2005, the Second Circuit, in rejecting a constitutional challenge to New York's handgun licensing scheme, held that the "Second Amendment's 'right to keep and bear arms' imposes a limitation on only federal, not state, legislative efforts." Bach, 408 F.3d at 84. Three years after that, in 2008, the Supreme Court issued its watershed decision District of Columbia v. Heller,*fn10 in which it undertook an exhaustive review of the text and history of the Second Amendment and concluded for the first time that the Second Amendment conferred an individual, as opposed to collective, right to keep and bear arms. 554 U.S. at 595. The question before the Court in Heller was the constitutionality of several District of Columbia statutes that generally prohibited the possession of handguns and required any other lawful firearms in the home to be inoperable-i.e., unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock or similar device. Id. at 574--75. The Court held that the "ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does [the] prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense." Id. at 635. Two years later, in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the Supreme Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause incorporates the Second Amendment right recognized in Heller, thereby extending that right as against the states. 130 S. Ct. at 3050.

On July 15, 2010, less than a month after the Supreme Court issued its decision in McDonald, Kachalsky, Nikolov, and SAF filed the Complaint in the instant action. (Doc. 1.) On November 8, 2010, they joined Detmer, Nance, and Marcucci-Nance in filing a First Amended Complaint ("FAC"), (Doc. 18), the operative complaint for the purposes of the instant motions. In it, Plaintiffs assert claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") for violations of the Second Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Specifically, they claim that Section 400.00(2)(f)'s "proper cause" requirement violates the Second Amendment both facially and as applied to them, and that it classifies individuals on the basis of "irrelevant, arbitrary, and speculative criteria in the exercise of a fundamental right." (FAC ¶¶ 41, 43.) Plaintiffs seek to enjoin enforcement of Section 400.00(2)(f)'s "proper cause" requirement, as well as an order directing Defendants to issue Plaintiffs permits, declaratory relief consistent with the requested injunctive relief, costs, and fees. (Id. at 11.) Defendants filed Motions to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint, (Docs. 30, 33); Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. 39); and the State Defendants filed a Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. 42).

II.DISCUSSION

A.Motions to Dismiss

Defendants' Motions to Dismiss largely concern threshold issues. As such, I consider these motions first. While Defendants briefly touch upon the question of Section 400.00(2)(f)'s constitutionality in these motions, they address that issue in far greater detail in briefing submitted in connection with the Motion and Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. I therefore consider Defendants' constitutional arguments in conjunction with those motions.

1.Legal Standards

Defendants bring their Motions to Dismiss under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and 12(b)(6), for failure to state a claim.

a.Rule 12(b)(1)

"A case is properly dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) when the district court lacks the statutory or constitutional power to adjudicate it." Makarova v. United States, 201 F.3d 110, 113 (2d Cir. 2000). "A plaintiff asserting subject matter jurisdiction has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that it exists." Id. Defendants argue that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction because Plaintiffs lack standing and the case is not ripe for adjudication. I discuss the individual standards for those doctrines below.

b.Rule 12(b)(6)

To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)(quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. "While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (alteration, citations, and internal quotation marks omitted). While Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 "marks a notable and generous departure from the hyper-technical, code-pleading regime of a prior era, . . . it does not unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1950.

In considering whether a complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted, the court may "begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth," and then determine whether the remaining well-pleaded factual allegations, accepted as true, "plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief." Id. Deciding whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief is "a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. "[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not 'show[n]'-'that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Id. (second alteration in original) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)).

c.Documents the Court May Consider

When deciding a motion to dismiss, the Court is entitled to consider the following:

(1) facts alleged in the complaint and documents attached to it or incorporated in it by reference, (2) documents "integral" to the complaint and relied upon in it, even if not attached or incorporated by reference, (3) documents or information contained in [a] defendant's motion papers if plaintiff has knowledge or possession of the material and relied on it in framing the complaint, (4) public disclosure documents required by law to be, and that have been, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and (5) facts of which judicial notice may properly be taken under Rule 201 of the Federal Rules of Evidence.

Weiss v. Inc. Vill. of Sag Harbor, 762 F. Supp. 2d 560, 567 (E.D.N.Y. 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted); accord Chambers v. Time Warner, Inc., 282 F.3d 147, 152--53 (2d Cir. 2002). A document is considered "integral" to the complaint where the plaintiff has "reli[ed] on the terms and effect of [the] document in drafting the complaint." Chambers, 282 F.3d at 153 (emphasis omitted). Such reliance "is a necessary prerequisite to the court's consideration of the document on a dismissal motion; mere notice or possession is not enough." Id. If a document outside of the complaint is to form the basis for dismissal, however, two requirements must be met in addition to the requirement that the document be "integral" to the complaint: (1) "it must be clear on the record that no dispute exists regarding the authenticity or accuracy of the document"; and (2) "[i]t must also be clear that there exist no material disputed issues of fact regarding the relevance of the document." Faulkner v. Beer, 463 F.3d 130, 134 (2d Cir. 2006).

2.Analysis

a.Standing and Ripeness

i.Standards

Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution restricts federal court jurisdiction to "Cases" and "Controversies." U.S. Const. art. III, § 2; Vt. Right to Life Comm., Inc. v. Sorrell, 221 F.3d 376, 381 (2d Cir. 2000). "Constitutional standing is the threshold question in every federal case, determining the power of the court to entertain the suit." Leibovitz v. N.Y. City Transit Auth., 252 F.3d 179, 184 (2d Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks omitted). To establish standing within the meaning of Article III, first, the plaintiffs "must have suffered an injury in fact-an invasion of a legally protected interest which is (a) concrete and particularized, and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical." Second, "there must be a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of-the injury has to be fairly . . . trace[able] to the challenged action of the defendant, and not . . . the result [of] the independent action of some third party not before the court." Third, "it must be likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision." Moreover, the "party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing these elements."

Field Day, LLC v. Cnty. of Suffolk, 463 F.3d 167, 175 (2d Cir. 2006) (alterations in original) (quoting Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560--61 (1992)).

The ripeness doctrine "is drawn both from Article III limitations on judicial power and from prudential reasons for refusing to exercise jurisdiction." Nat'l Park Hospitality Ass'n v. Dep't of Interior, 538 U.S. 803, 808 (2003) (internal quotation marks omitted). Its purpose is to "ensure that a dispute has generated injury significant enough to satisfy the case or controversy requirement of Article III" and "prevent[] a federal court from entangling itself in abstract disagreements over matters that are premature for review because the injury is merely speculative and may never occur." Dougherty v. Town of N. Hempstead Bd. of Zoning Appeals, 282 F.3d 83, 90 (2d Cir. 2002). In determining whether a claim that challenges a law is ripe for review, the Court must consider whether the issue is fit for adjudication as well as the hardship to the plaintiff that would result from withholding review. Abbott Labs. v. Gardner, 387 U.S. 136, 149 (1967), overruled on other grounds, Califano v. Sanders, 430 U.S. 99 (1977); Marchi v. Bd. of Coop. Educ. Servs., 173 F.3d 469, 478 (2d Cir. 1999). "Standing and ripeness are closely related doctrines that overlap 'most notably in the shared ...


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