Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
December 5, 1990, Submitted, Seattle, Washington 1 ; January 8, 1991, Filed
Nos. 89-35685, 89-35686, 90-35368
[*1421] WRIGHT, Circuit Judge
The two pro se appellants before us are unhappy with the results of a local tax levy election. Federal court is not a forum for airing discontent with the electorate's political decisions. We affirm the district court's dismissal of this action for lack of standing and for failure to meet state statutory requirements for contesting an election.
On December 21, 1987, Congress passed House Joint Resolution 395, which provided a $ 6.4 million grant to the City of Kellogg, [**2] Idaho, for construction of a gondola for transportation from the city to the Silverhorn ski and recreation area, now called Silver Mountain. In addition, the United States Forest Service was authorized to conduct a public-for-private land exchange.
To provide the necessary matching funds, the city held an election on September 27, 1988 to get voter approval of a tax levy of $ 100,000 per year for twenty years. Following Idaho law, a sample ballot was published, posted and made available to the public on September 12. On September 13 and 20, the ballot, the notice of election and the ordinance authorizing the election were published. The tax levy passed, gaining 82.5% of the vote.
William Lamphere and Guy Bell initiated a suit in state court, 2 alleging that the land exchange and funding of the gondola were improper. They also contested the validity of the election under state law, alleged that information was withheld and the public misled, and asserted that public officials were serving private rather than public interests. Twenty-two defendants were named including the city, the mayor, city council members, the city's attorneys, private parties involved in the gondola project and [**3] the Forest Service. The complaint sought declaratory and injunctive relief, and damages in the amount of the allegedly misused public funds.
The suit was removed to federal court by the Forest Service. The district court granted Lamphere's motion for voluntary discontinuance, which it interpreted as a motion for voluntary dismissal. Bell's claims, except those against the city, were dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because Bell lacked standing. The claims against the city were dismissed for failure to post a bond as required by state law. A second order was entered after Lamphere and Bell filed their notices of appeal. In that order, Judge Ryan awarded attorneys' fees to two defendants, denied Bell's motion to reconsider and denied Lamphere's motions for relief from the [**4] judgment and to remand to state court.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
922 F.2d 1418 *; 1991 U.S. App. LEXIS 92 **; 91 Cal. Daily Op. Service 293; 91 Daily Journal DAR 303
Guy Stuart Bell, on behalf of himself and all other taxpayers, citizens and electors of the City of Kellogg, Plaintiff-Appellant, and William H. Lamphere, on behalf of himself and all other state and federal taxpayers, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. City of Kellogg; United States Department of Agriculture Division of Forest Service; Bunker Limited Partnership; Charles L.A. Cox, et al., Defendants-Appellees
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Idaho; Harold L. Ryan, District Judge, Presiding; D.C. No. CV-88-3119-HLR.
election, district court, state court, contesting, federal court, voluntary dismissal, attorney's fees, state taxpayer, taxpayer, gondola, levy, election contest, exchange of land, challenges, grounds, futile, rights
Civil Procedure, Voluntary Dismissals, Court Order, Motions for Dismissal, Dismissal, General Overview, Appeals, Reviewability of Lower Court Decisions, Adverse Determinations, Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion, Appellate Review, Justiciability, Case & Controversy Requirements, Standing, Tax Law, Federal Taxpayer Groups, S Corporations, Criminal Law & Procedure, Trials, Burdens of Proof, Prosecution, Preliminary Considerations, De Novo Review, Summary Judgment, Appellate Review, Standards of Review, Governments, Local Governments, Administrative Boards, Torts, Intentional Torts, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Fiduciaries, State & Territorial Governments, Elections, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Jurisdiction Over Actions, Jurisdiction, Removal, Postremoval Remands, Jurisdictional Defects, Pleadings, Amendment of Pleadings, Frivolous Appeals, Legal Ethics, Professional Conduct, Frivolous Claims & Conduct, Remedies, Costs & Attorney Fees