Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

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.

O'Connell v. Walsh

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

December 30, 2015




I. Introduction

Plaintiff Robert O’Connell (“O’Connell”) filed this lawsuit challenging certain requirements in the application process for obtaining a license to carry a firearm as a violation of his Second Amendment right. Defendant Mayor of the City of Boston Martin Walsh (“Walsh”) has moved to dismiss O’Connell’s claim. D. 11. For the reasons discussed below, the Court ALLOWS Walsh’s motion to dismiss without prejudice.

II. Standard of Review

On a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court determines if the facts alleged “plausibly narrate a claim for relief.” Schatz v. Republican State Leadership Comm., 669 F.3d 50, 55 (1st Cir. 2012) (internal citation omitted). To that end, the Court must conduct a two-step, context-specific inquiry. See García-Catalán v. United States, 734 F.3d 100, 103 (1st Cir. 2013). First, the Court closely reads the complaint to distinguish the factual allegations from the conclusory legal allegations. Id. Factual allegations must be accepted as true, while conclusory legal conclusions can be disregarded. Id. Second, the Court must determine whether the factual allegations present a “reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Haley v. City of Boston, 657 F.3d 39, 46 (1st Cir. 2011). In sum, the complaint must provide sufficient factual allegations for the Court to find the claim “plausible on its face.” García-Catalán, 734 F.3d at 103 (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).

III. Factual Background

The following facts are taken from the complaint, D. 1, and are accepted as true for the purposes of this motion. The factual allegations in O’Connell’s complaint consist primarily of a description of the process for obtaining a license to carry a firearm. Id. at 1-2. O’Connell alleges that applying for a license in Boston requires a person to report to Boston Police Headquarters, pay a nonrefundable fee of $100, interview with a police officer, qualify at the Boston Police Department Firearms Range and complete a firearm safety course. Id. at 1, 4. O’Connell characterizes the requirements as “very time consuming thus expensive and hence unacceptable.” Id. at 3. O’Connell alleges that “[a]n applicant has to take time off from work.” Id. O’Connell states that he wants a firearm for “protection.” Id. O’Connell does not allege that he has applied for a license, that any of these requirements hindered him from submitting an application for a license or that he was denied a license. Although the remedy he seeks is a different firearm application process, D. 1 at 4, his claim, in essence, seeks a declaratory judgment that the current process is unconstitutional as he alleges that “[t]he City is placing obstacles, which are burdensome, in a citizen[’s] path to exercising their [Second] Amendment right to own a firearm.” Id. at 3.

IV. Procedural History

O’Connell instituted this action on January 16, 2015. D. 1. Walsh subsequently moved to dismiss. D. 11. The Court heard the parties on the pending motion and took the matter under advisement. D. 15.

V. Discussion

A. O’Connell’s Claim is Not Ripe

Walsh challenges O’Connell’s standing. D. 12 at 5-6. “In general, standing and ripeness inquiries overlap.” McInnis-Misenor v. Maine Med. Ctr., 319 F.3d 63, 69 (1st Cir. 2003). “The overlap is most apparent in cases that deny standing because an anticipated injury is too remote.” Id. Because this “case may be resolved based on the prudential aspects of the standing and ripeness doctrines” and “the cases dealing with ripeness present a closer fit” the Court focuses its analysis on ripeness. Id. at 71.

Ripeness turns upon the existence of “an ‘actual’ controversy, ” which “is a sine qua non of any assumption of federal jurisdiction.” Verizon New England, Inc., v. Int’l Bhd. of Elec. Workers, Local No. 2322, 651 F.3d 176, 188 (1st Cir. 2011) (internal citation omitted). The ripeness doctrine guards against “premature adjudication, ” keeps courts “from entangling themselves in abstract disagreements” and provides courts the “benefit [gained] from a focus sharpened by particular facts” in a fully developed case. Doe v. Bush, 323 F.3d 133, 138 (1st Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

Ripeness analysis requires an assessment of whether “there is a substantial controversy, between parties having adverse legal interests, of sufficient immediacy and reality to warrant the issuance of a declaratory judgment.” McInnis-Misenor, 319 F.3d at 70 (internal citation omitted). In conducting that inquiry, the Court considers 1) fitness for judicial review and 2) hardship to the parties if judicial review is withheld. Verizon, 651 F.3d at 188. The fitness prong is concerned with “questions of finality, definiteness, and the need for further factual development.” Id. “The critical question [for fitness] . . . is whether the claim involves uncertain and contingent events that may not occur as anticipated or may not occur at all.” McInnis-Misenor, 319 F.3d at 70 (internal citation omitted). The occurrence of the event at issue is particularly important where the case turns on factual issues that could be “affected by further . . . development.” ...

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.