Fri. Jun 7th, 2024

Tackling the most important topics : Rule 12(b)(6)’s “Failure to state a claim”

Rule 12(b)(6) “Failure to state a claim”

FRCP Rule 12(b) pertains to pretrial motions, and 12(b)(6) specifically deals with motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

As a practical matter, Rule 12(b)(6) motions are rarely successful, and when they are, their success usually has more to do with the judge than the law. Nevertheless, they appear regularly in law school civil procedure exams (and bar exam civil procedure questions), so it’s important to be aware of them.

“Failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted” can mean a number of things, all of which have to do with what is stated in a complaint.

First, and most typically, this means that the complaint failed to properly allege one or more of the required elements of an action.

Here’s what I mean by this: Suppose someone files a complaint for negligence. In that complaint, the plaintiff must allege all of the elements of negligence, and the elements must be applied to the defendant or defendants.

For example, in the above negligence lawsuit, let’s say that the defendant hit the plaintiff with his car. The plaintiff would have to allege all of the elements of negligence and apply them to the defendant, such as the following:

  1. Defendant owed to plaintiff a duty of care
  2. Defendant breached that duty of care
  3. Plaintiff suffered injuries
  4. These injuries were the result of defendant’s breach of duty

As mentioned earlier, Rule 12(b)(6) motions are rarely successful, in no small part because pleading requirements are generally quite liberal. In spite of these lax requirements, however, the above pleading example would be insufficient to defeat a 12(b)(6) motion.

The pleading is insufficient because all it does is, in court parlance, “merely recite bare legal conclusions.”

The complaint must do much more than this. Specifically, a factual basis for the claim must be established by the complaint.

Using the same example as above, the complaint must also include details about how the defendant was negligent, and how this negligence caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

Perhaps the defendant ran a red light and collided with the plaintiff’s vehicle or the plaintiff herself. Perhaps the collision caused the plaintiff to break her leg or worse. Complaints must contain factual allegations such as these to be considered as having “stated a claim upon which relief can be granted.”

Further, the more factual detail that can be included in the complaint, the better.  One reason for this is to ensure that you have sufficiently pleaded the elements of the causes of action listed in your complaint. Another reason — and an important one at that — is the standard that is used to review 12(b)(6) motions. Specifically, when deciding such a motion, the court assumes all factual allegations contained in the complaint to be true, giving the plaintiff the full benefit of the doubt.

Recognizing this, it is vital to include every fact that could in any way be relevant to give the court as complete a picture as possible.

Even if you have perfectly pleaded the elements of a given cause of action and included a complete and detailed set of facts, the Rule 12(b)(6) motion could succeed nonetheless. Although less commonly the reason for the success of such a motion, the court could decide that the pleaded cause of action isn’t recognized by the law.

Using our car accident example, if the plaintiff claimed assault and battery instead of negligence, but all of the facts remained the same (i.e. the car accident truly was an accident and there was no intent to cause injury to the plaintiff), then the 12(b)(6) motion, at least in regards to the assault and battery claims, would succeed.

Practically speaking, the judge would usually give the plaintiff leave to amend if a legal cause of action was apparent from the facts, but the 12(b)(6) motion would still technically be successful.

In any legal case, it’s important to make sure that the facts alleged in the complaint are well-supported and accurate. Save yourself time and find mistakes before they happen with more efficient legal research tools from Thomson Reuters. cited https://legal.thomsonreuters.com/blog/12b6-failure-to-state-a-claim/

 

 


More to learn….

CACI No. 1501. Wrongful Use of Civil Proceedings

PC 1385 – Dismissal of the Action for Want of Prosecution or Otherwise

Penal Code 995 Motion to Dismiss in California

Rule 12. Defenses and Objections: When and How to Present

Rule 12(b)(6) “Failure to state a claim”

Rule 12(c) Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings. Winning Without Trial !

Rule 29. Motion for Judgment of Acquittal


Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions  CACI VF-1501 Malicious Prosecution—Wrongful Use of Civil Proceedings

CACI No. 3053. Retaliation for Exercise of Free Speech Rights  by a Government Employee – Essential Factual Elements (42 U.S.C. § 1983)

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2022 edition)Form Download Here


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We also have the First Amendment Encyclopedia  very comprehensive and encompassing

CURRENT TEST = We also have the TheBrandenburg testfor incitement to violence

We also have the The Incitement to Imminent Lawless Action Test

We also have the True Threats TestVirginia v. Black is most comprehensive Supreme Court definition

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We also have the Obscenity and Pornography ; 1st Amendment

We also have the Watts v. United StatesTrue Threat Test1st Amendment

We also have the Clear and Present Danger Test

We also have the Gravity of the Evil Test

We also have the Miller v. California – 3 Prong Obscenity Test (Miller Test) – 1st Amendment 1st

We also have the Freedom of the Press – Flyers, Newspaper, Leaflets, Peaceful Assembly – 1st Amendment lots of SCOTUS Rulings 

We also have the Insulting letters to politician’s home are constitutionally protected, unless they are ‘true threats’ lots of SCOTUS Rulings 

We also have the Introducing TEXT & EMAIL Digital Evidence in California Courts lots of SCOTUS Rulings 


PEOPLE LYING ON YOU? CAN YOU PROVE IT? IF YES…. THEN YOU ARE IN LUCK!

We also have the Penal Code 118 PC – California Penalty of “Perjury” Law

We also have the Federal Perjury Definition by Law

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Elements and Burden of Proof – click here to learn requirements

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the code BELOW PROTECTS ALL CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS from being prevented from enjoying their freedoms

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Recoverable Damages Under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 LEARN MORE

Know Your Rights Click Here (must read!)

42 U.S. Code § 1983Civil action for deprivation of rights

18 U.S. Code § 242Deprivation of rights under color of law

18 U.S. Code § 241 – Conspiracy against rights

Suing for MisconductKnow More of Your Rights

Police Misconduct in California – How to Bring a Lawsuit

Recoverable Damages Under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983

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CACI No. 1501. Wrongful Use of Civil Proceedings

Penal Code “995 Motions” in California – Motion to Dismiss



 

Epic SCOTUS Decisions click here