United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Evansville Division
NATHAN B. MAUDLIN, JEANNE G. MAUDLIN, and FLANDERS-SCOTT, LLC, Plaintiffs,
FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, Defendant
NATHAN B. MAUDLIN, JEANNE G. MAUDLIN, FLANDERS-SCOTT, LLC,
Plaintiffs: Nathan B. Maudlin, KLEZMER & ASSOCIATES, New
FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, FEMA, Defendant: Shelese
M. Woods, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Indianapolis,
ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
L. YOUNG, Chief United States District Judge.
Nathan B. and Jeanne G. Maudlin and Flanders-Scott, LLC,
brought suit against the Federal Emergency Management Agency
(" FEMA" ), seeking declaratory and injunctive
relief against FEMA's implementation of its new flood
insurance rate map (" FIRM" ) affecting New
Harmony, Indiana. Plaintiffs argue that FEMA failed to follow
certain statutory requirements set forth in the National
Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (" NHPA" ),
amended and codified as 54 U.S.C. § 300101 et.
seq., rendering the FIRM unlawful. FEMA moves to dismiss
Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(1), or, in the alternative, for failure to state a
claim under Rule 12(b)(6). For reasons set forth below,
FEMA's Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED.
Harmony sits on the Lower Wabash River in Southwestern
Indiana. In 1965, the Department of the Interior designated
New Harmony as a National Historic Landmark District. In
1966, it was placed on the National Register of Historic
Places. (Filing No. 8 (" Am. Compl." ) ¶ 9).
New Harmony received its designation " under themes of
social and humanitarian movement, with areas of significance
including architecture, social history, and science." (
2011, FEMA began the process of updating its flood elevation
determinations for New Harmony. A flood elevation
determination is FEMA's determination of water level
elevations for the base flood, that is, " the flood
level that has a one percent or greater chance of occurrence
in any given year." 44 C.F.R. § 59.1. FEMA then
depicts these determinations and any special flood hazard
areas (" SFHA" ) in a FIRM. FEMA published its
proposed determinations in the Federal Register on May 16,
2013, and in the Posey County News on June 12 and
19, 2013. (Filing No. 11-1 at 1). FEMA received no
administrative appeals challenging its proposed
determinations and, thus, the FIRM was set to take effect on
November 5, 2014. ( Id. ).
allege, and the court accepts as true, that FEMA's new
floodplain determinations designate more than sixty percent
of real estate in New Harmony as " Zone A"
property. This determination implicates the mandatory flood
insurance requirements for property owners and lessees under
the National Flood Insurance Act (" NFIA" ), 42
U.S.C. § 4001 et seq. (Am. Compl. ¶ 12). This
designation, according to Plaintiffs, will cause property
values to decline anywhere from forty to sixty percent and
will depress local tax revenue and investment and,
ultimately, the local economy. ( Id. ).
challenge FEMA's new FIRM for New Harmony on two
principal grounds. First, Plaintiffs claim FEMA failed to
" use the most reliable, accurate data reasonably
available" in revising the FIRM for New Harmony. Second,
Plaintiffs argue the revised FIRM is " contrary to
law" because FEMA failed to observe mandatory procedures
set forth in the NHPA and enforced by the Advisory Council on
Historic Preservation (" ACHP" ). Plaintiffs,
therefore, ask the court to (1) find that FEMA did not "
use the most reliable, accurate data" when revising the
FIRM for New Harmony; (2) find that FEMA did not engage in
the NHPA's Section 106 review process, thus rendering the
revised FIRM contrary to law; and (3) enjoin FEMA from
implementing the FIRM.
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) tests the sufficiency
of the complaint, not the merits of the case. Ctr. for
Dermatology & Skin Cancer, Ltd. v. Burwell, 770 F.3d
586, 588 (7th Cir. 2014). Rule 12(b)(1) requires dismissal of
claims over which the court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction. The court accepts as true all well-pleaded
factual allegations and draws all reasonable inferences in
plaintiff's favor, " but a plaintiff faced with a
12(b)(1) motion to dismiss bears the burden of establishing
that the jurisdictional requirements have been met."
Id. at 588-89 (citations omitted).
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) challenge, the complaint must contain
sufficient factual allegations to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted. The court accepts all facts in the
complaint as true and views them in the light most favorable
to the plaintiff. Bonte v. U.S. Bank, N.A., 624 F.3d
461, 463 (7th Cir. 2010).