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Capital City Cab Service, Inc. v. Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority

April 18, 2007

CAPITAL CITY CAB SERVICE, INC., AND AYAL SALAME, PLAINTIFFS
v.
SUSQUEHANNA AREA REGIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Judge Kane

MEMORANDUM

Before the Court is Plaintiffs' motion for leave to file a second amended complaint. (Doc. No. 28.) The parties have briefed the motion, and it is ripe for disposition. For the following reasons, the motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural Background

On November 27, 2006, this Court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' amended complaint (Doc. No. 11) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Doc. No. 26.) In the order, the Court allowed Plaintiffs ten (10) days to file a motion for leave to amend pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a). (Doc. No. 26.) On December 5, 2006, Plaintiffs filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint (Doc. No. 28) and filed a brief in support of the motion on December 19, 2006 (Doc. No. 29). Plaintiffs' proposed second amended complaint includes two counts: a federal antitrust claim and an equal protection claim. Plaintiffs' complaint seeks injunctive as well as monetary relief. Defendants filed a brief in opposition on January 3, 2007 (Doc. No. 32), and Plaintiffs replied on January 12, 2007 (Doc. No. 33).

B. Factual Background

Most of the pertinent factual allegations in this case are addressed in the Court's November 27, 2006, order. (Doc. No. 26.) Because Plaintiffs proposed second amended complaint includes several new allegations that require elaboration, a brief summary is necessary.

Capital City Cab Services, Inc. ("Capital City"), is a taxicab company located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and owned by Plaintiff Ayal Salame. Salame is an Israeli-born United States citizen. In 2004, Defendants Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority ("SARAA") and American Taxi, a competitor of Capital City, entered into an exclusive operating agreement at Harrisburg International Airport ("HIA") after a competitive-bidding process. That agreement, according to Plaintiffs, substantially limits Capital City's ability to compete for outbound fares from the airport because American Taxi has exclusive access to the garage facilities as well as the queue. In the second amended complaint, Plaintiffs additionally allege that American Taxi and Alfred Testa, who served as the Director of Aviation at SARAA during the time relevant to this case, worked in concert to ensure that American Taxi would win the contract by manipulating insurance requirements throughout the bidding process.

Salame and many of Capital City's taxicab drivers are Muslim. Many of the drivers speak Arabic as their primary language, but are United States citizens or legal residents. Plaintiffs allege that Testa refused to allow Capital City's drivers to conduct prayer rituals at HIA.*fn1 Plaintiffs also claim that Testa, on multiple occasions, stated that "he wanted 'no Arabs at his airport' and for Capital City to send 'only American cab drivers down here (to HIA for fares).'" (Proposed Second Am. Compl. ¶ 45.)

Plaintiffs also assert that American Taxi was the only white-owned taxicab company in the metropolitan market. Defendant American Taxi is owned and managed by Josie and James Salinger. Non-parties United Cab and Keystone Cab are owned by Maher Saber, an Egyptian national. Penn Central Taxi is owned by Manuel Cardona, who is Puerto Rican.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) allows a party to amend its pleading after a responsive pleading has been filed "by leave of court or by written consent of the adverse party; and leave shall be freely given when justice so requires." Courts have discretion to deny a motion for leave to amend, Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962), but "[l]eave to amend must generally be granted unless equitable considerations render it otherwise unjust," Arthur v. Maersk, Inc., 434 F.3d 196, 204 (3d Cir. 2006). Such equitable considerations include "undue delay, bad faith, dilatory motive, prejudice, and futility." In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1434 (3d Cir. 1997).

When evaluating the last consideration, futility, the court must apply "the same standard of legal sufficiency as applies under Rule 12(b)(6)." Id. Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is proper when, taking all factual allegations and inferences as true, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Markowitz v. Northeast Land Co., 906 F.2d 100, 103 (3d Cir. 1990). Thus, if "under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to ...


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