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Castleman v. Tennessee Valley Authority

July 28, 2006

WILLIAM L. CASTLEMAN AND GUENLEN G. CASTLEMAN, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Harry S. Mattice, Jr. United States District Judge

Judge Mattice

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiffs William and Guenlen Castleman bring this action against Defendant Tennessee Valley Authority ("TVA"), alleging an unconstitutional taking in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Before the Court is TVA's Motion to Dismiss, which seeks the dismissal of Plaintiffs' complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Plaintiffs have not filed a response in opposition to Defendant's motion, and the Court deems Plaintiffs to have waived opposition to such motion. E.D.TN. LR 7.2.

For the reasons explained below, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED.

I. STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of a complaint that fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The purpose of Rule 12(b)(6) is to permit a defendant to test whether, as a matter of law, the plaintiff is entitled to relief even if everything alleged in the complaint is true. Mayer v. Mylod, 988 F.2d 635, 638 (6th Cir. 1993). A complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); Arrow v. Fed. Reserve Bank, 358 F.3d 392, 393 (6th Cir. 2004). The complaint must contain either "direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements to sustain a recovery . . . ." Scheid v. Fanny Farmer Candy Shops, Inc., 859 F.2d 434, 436 (6th Cir. 1988) (internal quotations and citations omitted). The Court must determine not whether the plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the plaintiff is entitled to offer evidence to support his claims. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). In making this determination, the Court must construe the complaint in the light most favorable to plaintiff and accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations. Arrow, 358 F.3d at 393; Mixon v. Ohio, 193 F.3d 389, 400 (6th Cir. 1999). The Court need not accept as true mere legal conclusions or unwarranted factual inferences. Id.

II. FACTS

Viewing the complaint in the light most favorable to Plaintiffs and accepting as true all well-pleaded factual allegations, the relevant facts are as follows.

Plaintiffs William and Guenlen Castleman are owners of property located along Tims Ford Lake. (Court Doc. No. 1, Compl. ¶¶ 1, 4.) In February 1985, the Castlemans submitted a request to the then-Director of the Tennessee Elk River Development Agency ("TERDA"), the organization that managed Tims Ford Lake on behalf of TVA, seeking a site survey and a private use water facilities permit ("Permit") allowing the construction of a boat dock along the lake. (Id. ¶¶ 4-5.) In March 1985, the property was inspected by C. Phillip Hayes, a site surveyor for TERDA. (Id. ¶ 6.) After the inspection, TERDA approved the issuance of the Permit and the construction of the boat dock, contingent on the construction of a permanent residence on the Castlemans' property. (Id. ¶ 7.) The Permit apparently did not issue at that time.

In August 2004, Plaintiffs renewed their request for the issuance of the Permit. (Id. ¶ 8.) By letter dated August 30, 2004, TVA informed the Castlemans that their property abuts a parcel of reservoir property that is zoned for Natural Resource Conservation pursuant to the Tims Ford Reservoir Land Management and Disposition Plan (the "Plan") and that requests for Permits on lands that are zoned for that purpose are not granted. (Id. ¶ 10; id. Ex. B.) The letter also stated that certain water use facilities for which permits had already been issued prior to the adoption of the Plan were "grandfathered" by TVA and allowed to remain, pursuant to the already-issued TERDA permits. (Id. Ex. B.) The Castlemans, however, did not secure a TERDA permit, so their request could not be "grandfathered." (Id.)

Plaintiffs allege that in October 2005 TVA again denied their request for a Permit, relying on the terms of the Plan. (Id. ¶ 9.)

III. ANALYSIS

Plaintiffs allege in their complaint that TERDA's approval of the site survey and contingent approval of the Permit vested Plaintiffs with a property interest and that TVA's subsequent refusal to issue the Permit constitutes an unconstitutional taking. (Id. ΒΆΒΆ 13, 15.) Defendant TVA seeks the dismissal of Plaintiffs' complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) on three bases: (1) that Plaintiffs' complaint is deficient because it fails to allege the satisfaction of all conditions precedent; (2) that Plaintiffs did not ...


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