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Chicago Terminal Railroad Co. v. Burgoyne, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

March 22, 2017

CHICAGO TERMINAL RAILROAD COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
BURGOYNE LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge

         This matter is before the court on Defendant Burgoyne LLC's (Burgoyne) motion to dismiss. For the reasons stated below, the motion to dismiss is granted in part, denied in part, and the state law claims are dismissed without prejudice.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Chicago Terminal Railroad, Company (CTM) alleges that in August and September of 2016, Burgoyne installed two fences across CTM's railroad track. Burgoyne's fences allegedly prevent CTM from accessing 4, 500 feet of railroad track extending south to an area in Chicago, Illinois known as Goose Island. On November 15, 2016, CTM filed the complaint in this action alleging claims under 49 U.S.C. § 10501 (Section 10501)(Count I), 49U.S.C. § 10903 (Section 10903)(Count II), 49U.S.C § 11101 (Section 11101)(Count III), 49 U.S.C § 11121 (Section 11121)(Count IV), a claim alleging a violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, 815 ILCS § 510/1 et seq. (Count V), and a claim for Declaratory Judgment (Count VI). Burgoyne now moves to dismiss all claims.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         In ruling on a motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (Rule 12(b)(6)), the court must draw all reasonable inferences that favor the plaintiff, construe the allegations of the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and accept as true all well-pleaded facts and allegations in the complaint. Appert v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Inc., 673 F.3d 609, 622 (7thCir. 2012); Thompson v. III. Dep't of Prof'l Regulation, 300 F.3d 750, 753 (7th Cir. 2002). A plaintiff is required to include allegations in the complaint that "plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a 'speculative level'" and "if they do not, the plaintiff pleads itself out of court." E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Services, Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007)(quoting in part Bell Altanic Corp. v. Twombly, 121 S.Ct. 1955, 1965 (2007)); see also Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Inc., 673 F.3d at 622 (stating that "[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, " and that "[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")(quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009))(intemal quotations omitted).

         I. Counts I-IV and Private Cause of Action

         Burgoyne argues that CTM's statutory basis for the claims in Counts I through IV do not regulate the actions of private property owners, nor do they create a private right of action by a rail carrier against a property owner.

         A.49U.S.C. § 10501

         Burgoyne argues that Section 10501 fails to grant a rail carrier a private right of action against a property owner. Section 10501 states that "[s]ubject to this chapter, the [Surface Transportation] Board has jurisdiction over transportation by rail earner that is - - only by railroad" 49 U.S.C. § 10501. Also, Section 10501 states that the Surface Transportation Board has jurisdiction over "(1) transportation by rail carriers, and the remedies provided in this part with respect to rates, classifications, rules. . . practices, routes, services, and facilities of such carriers; and (2) the construction, acquisition, operation, abandonment, or discontinuance of spur, industrial, team, switching, or side tracks, or facilities, even if the tracks are located, or intended to be located, entirely in one State. . ." Id. Section 10501 provides that the jurisdiction is exclusive "with respect to regulation of rail transportation. . . ." Id. CTM argues that Section 10501 confers the Surface Transportation Board with broad authority over every single rail carrier, rail track, and private property owner. CTM contends that when a party seeks to abandon a railroad, the party must seek board approval. However, Burgoyne properly notes that Section 10501 does not confer jurisdictional authority over private property owners. Section 10501 does not even mention private property owners. Also, Burgoyne argues that Section 10501 does not create a private right of action. CTM argues that the statutory language contains an implied private right of action with an implied remedy, namely injunctive relief. However, Section 10501 does not explicitly grant rail earners a private cause of action, none of the cases cited by CTM support its argument that a private right of action is implied, and Section 10501 does not contain rights-creating language to infer legislative intent. CTM has not cited any case in which the court favored a private right of action. CTM is asking the court to go where no court has gone before. Therefore, the motion to dismiss is granted.

         B. 49 U.S.C. § 10903

         Burgoyne contends that Section 10903 only imposes obligations on a rail carrier and does not create a private right of action. Section 10903 states that "[a] rail carrier providing transportation subject to the jurisdiction of the Board under this part who intends to-(A) abandon any part of its railroad lines; or (B) discontinue the operation of all rail transportation over any part of its railroad lines, must file an application thereto with the Board." 49 U.S.C, § 10903. Also, an "abandonment or discontinuance may be carried out only as authorized under this chapter." 49 U.S.C. § 10903, Section 10903 explicitly applies to a rail carrier providing transportation and omits any language governing the actions of a private property owner. Similar to the aforementioned analysis, the court finds that Section 10903 does not impose any obligations on a private property owner. Also, CTM has not cited any case in which the court has found a private right of action. See Chessie Logistics Co. LLC v. Krinos Holdings, Inc., 2015 WL 1620284 (N.D. 111. 2015)(stating that Section 10903 does not imply a private right of action); See also Mich. S. R.R. v. Branch & St. Joseph Cntys. Rail Users Ass'n, 287 F.3d 568, 574 (6th Cir. 2002)(stating that Section 10903 does not create a private right of action by one party to a private contract against the other party to that same private contract). Therefore, the motion to dismiss Count II is granted.

         C. 49 U.S.C. § 11101

         Burgoyne argues that Section 11101 does not impose any duty or obligation on a private property owner nor does it confer a private right of action. Section 11101 states that "(a) A rail carrier providing transportation or service subject to the jurisdiction of the Board under this part shall provide the transportation or service on reasonable request." 49 U.S.C. § 11101. Also, "[a] rail carrier shall not be found to have violated this section because it fulfills its reasonable commitments under contracts. . . [c]ommitments which deprive a carrier of its ability to respond to reasonable requests for common carrier service are not reasonable." 49 U.S.C. § 11101. Similar to the court's findings above, Section 11101 applies only to rail carriers and imposes no duty on private property ...


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