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Bach v. Ehrler

United States District Court, D. Idaho

September 12, 2016

JOHN N. BACH, Plaintiff,
v.
PAULA EHRLER, et. al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          B. Lynn Winmill, United States District Court Chief Judge.

         1. Stipulation

         The Court has before it the Stipulation for Dismissal with Prejudice (Dkt. 54), asking the Court to dismiss Plaintiff's claims against defendants Tony Liford and Teton County. Good cause appearing, the Court will grant the stipulation. In turn, the Court will deem moot defendants Liford and Teton County's motion for sanctions (Dkt. 51) and motion for extension of time (Dkt. 52).

         2. Motion to Substitute

         R. Sam Hopkins, Chapter 7 Trustee, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 541(a) and FRCP 25(c) asks the Court to substitute Mr. Hopkins as the real party in interest on the claims against Teton County and Liford to carry out the terms of the settlement (Dkt. 53). No response to the motion has been filed, and the deadline for filing a response has passed.

         Bach filed a petition for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 on February 9, 2016 in the United States Bankruptcy Court, District of Idaho. Thus, his claims in this proceeding became property of the bankruptcy estate under 11 U.S.C. § 541(a). The Trustee may substitute as a party in place of Bach under FRCP 25(c).

         On April 29, 2016, the Trustee, Teton County, and Tony Liford, filed a stipulation for settlement in the bankruptcy proceeding, agreeing that Teton County and Tony Liford would pay the Trustee $5, 000.00 to compromise all claims in this proceeding against Teton County and Tony Liford, and all claims against Teton County and Tony Liford would be dismissed with prejudice. On July 7, 2016, the Bankruptcy Court entered the Order Approving Settlement with Teton County and Teton County Sheriff Tony Liford. Dkt. 53, Ex. A.

         On July 7, 2016, the Bankruptcy Court entered the Order Allowing Trustee to Abandon Federal Lawsuit, authorizing the Trustee to abandon his interest on all claims against the remaining Defendants besides Teton County and Tony Liford. Dkt. 53, Ex. B. Accordingly, the Court will grant the motion.

         3. Motion to Dismiss

         The Court also has before it defendants Alva Harris and Sapient Trading, LLC's motion to dismiss (Dkt. 46). The motion asks the Court to dismiss the complaint against these two defendants because the complaint is unintelligible. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” in order to “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007). While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss “does not need detailed factual allegations, ” it must set forth “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. at 555. To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. 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. Id. at 556. The plausibility standard is not akin to a “probability requirement, ” but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Id. Where a complaint pleads facts that are “merely consistent with” a defendant's liability, it “stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of ‘entitlement to relief.' ” Id. at 557.

         The Supreme Court identified two “working principles” that underlie Twombly in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). First, the court need not accept as true, legal conclusions that are couched as factual allegations. Id. Rule 8 does not “unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions.” Id. at 678-79. Second, to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must state a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 679. “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will . . . be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id.

         Providing too much in the complaint may also be fatal to a plaintiff. Dismissal may be appropriate when the plaintiff has included sufficient allegations disclosing some absolute defense or bar to recovery. See Weisbuch v. County of L.A., 119 F.3d 778, 783, n. 1 (9th Cir. 1997) (stating that “[i]f the pleadings establish facts compelling a decision one way, that is as good as if depositions and other . . . evidence on summary judgment establishes the identical facts”).

         A dismissal without leave to amend is improper unless it is beyond doubt that the complaint “could not be saved by any amendment.” Harris v. Amgen, Inc., 573 F.3d 728, 737 (9th Cir. 2009) (issued 2 months after Iqbal). The Ninth Circuit has held that “in dismissals for failure to state a claim, a district court should grant leave to amend even if no request to amend the pleading was made, unless it determines that the pleading could not possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts.” Cook, Perkiss and Liehe, Inc. v. Northern California Collection Service, Inc., 911 F.2d 242, 247 (9th Cir. 1990). The issue is not whether plaintiff will prevail but whether he “is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims.” Diaz v. Int'l Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 13, 474 F.3d 1202, 1205 (9th Cir. 2007)(citations omitted).

         Under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court may consider matters that are subject to judicial notice. Mullis v. United States Bank, 828 F.2d 1385, 1388 (9th Cir. 1987). The Court may take judicial notice “of the records of state agencies and other undisputed matters of public record” without transforming the motions to dismiss into motions for summary judgment. Disabled Rights Action Comm. v. Las Vegas Events, Inc.,375 F.3d 861, 866, n.1 (9th Cir. 2004). The Court may also examine documents referred to in the complaint, although not attached ...


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