Novak v. United States, No. 13-16383 (9th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, individuals and a corporation who reside in Hawaii, filed suit alleging that the Jones Act's cabotage provisions, 46 U.S.C. 12112(a)(2)(A) and 55102(b)(1), which prohibit foreign competition in the domestic shipping market, impair interstate trade between Hawaii and the rest of the United States to such an extent that they violate the Constitution. The district court dismissed the action with prejudice. The court concluded that plaintiffs have alleged more than generalized grievances and have demonstrated an “injury in fact,” but have not met their burden to show causation or redressability, the other two elements of Article III standing. The court further concluded that although plaintiffs, could establish standing if they amended their complaint, any amendment would be futile because plaintiffs’ challenge to the Jones Act would fail on the merits. In this case, an amended complaint would be subject to dismissal for failure to state a claim because the enactment of the Jones Act was not beyond the authority assigned to Congress under the Commerce Clause. The court rejected plaintiffs' Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment claim, and held that the district court did not violate plaintiffs' procedural due process right by ruling on the government's motion to dismiss without an oral hearing. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.