Court Bounces SpaceX Suit

For those of you who were wondering how SpaceX could get passed the issue of standing in its action against Boeing and Lockheed to block the ULA deal, the answer is, it could not.

As Clark posted on
HobbySpace this morning, the court has dismissed SpaceX's suit. After hearing arguments on the defendants' motions on Monday, Judge Florence-Marie Cooper of the District Court of the Central District of California ruled, "SpaceX lacks standing to assert claims related to contracts already awarded by the USAF. Other claims asserted by SpaceX, those based on anticipated events, are unripe. Because this action presents no Article III case or controversy, and because the Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over it, SpaceX's claims are dismissed."

Here is the
order granting defendants motions to dismiss (scanned in and posted by NASASpaceflight.com -- thanks guys!), which I just breezed through quickly.

The court did not address the merits of SpaceX claims. (Nor, by the way, did the judge make note of whether a successful Falcon launch might have made a difference in the analysis or ruling, as some will no doubt wonder.)

(Clark's Catch-22 equation: Unless you are competing against the monopoly you have no right to sue the monopoly for preventing you from competing against it.)

In footnote 5 the court addressed whether it considered the action a "bid protest": The judge wrote, "At the hearing, SpaceX argued that the Court 'seem[ed] to buy into defendants' attempts to portray [its] case as nothing more than a bid protest.' Tr. at 5. This is incorrect. Had the Court viewed this case in a manner suggested by SpaceX's argument, the Court would have simply dismissed the action as within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of Federal Claims." [citation omitted]

The motions or reply papers do not appear to be posted online, but here is SpaceX's
first amended complaint (also via NASASpaceflight.com, thanks again ;) -- a mighty attempt by Charles Barquist and his team at Morrison Foerster for the plaintiff.

The court also granted SpaceX leave to file a second amended complaint within 20 days although it is unclear how MoFo may overcome the Article III "injury-in-fact" deficiency here. We await the decision of Elon and his lawyers as to which options -- including refiling, appealing, etc. -- they might pursue.

(In the meantime, the FTC, naturally, is far too busy making its own much-anticipated determination regarding the proposed ULA joint venture to take any notice whatsoever of any of this. Of course.)

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