United States District Court, D. Idaho
ARIZONA LITHIUM COMPANY LTD., an Arizona corporation, Plaintiff,
BATTERY MINERAL RESOURCES UNITED STATES, INC., a Nevada corporation, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
before the Court is Defendant Battery Mineral Resources
Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss for “Failure to Comply
with I.C. Section 47-611.” Dkt. 12. After the Motion
was fully briefed, the Court held oral arguments and took the
Motion under advisement. For the reasons set forth below, the
Court DENIES the Motion.
lawsuit arises out of claims brought by Arizona Lithium
Company LTD (“Arizona Lithium”) concerning the
validity of certain mining claims in Lemhi County, Idaho.
Between September 25 and September 28, 2016, Arizona Lithium
located 58 lode mining claims, referred to as the “BOCO
claims.” Pursuant to statute, Arizona Lithium then
recorded its Notices of Location in Lemhi County on December
21 and 22, 2016.
17, 2017, Arizona Lithium filed its Complaint in the State of
Idaho, Seventh Judicial District, Lemhi County. On August 28,
2017, Defendant Battery Mineral Resources (United States),
Inc. (“Battery Mineral”) removed this matter to
the United States District Court for the District of Idaho.
suit, Arizona Lithium seeks a declaratory judgment
invalidating Battery Mineral's lode mining claims,
referred to as the “BATT claims, ” that cover, in
part, the same locations as Arizona Lithium's BOCO
claims. The basis of Arizona Lithium's suit is that
Battery Mineral failed to properly locate the BATT claims and
improperly recorded its Notices of Location without correctly
marking the boundaries of the asserted claims. Arizona
Lithium also seeks a judgment quieting title to the rights,
title, and interest in the BOCO claims clear of any cloud of
title caused by the BATT claims to the same property.
Mineral argues that this lawsuit is meritless and that
Arizona Lithium “seeks to exploit what it contends are
inadequacies in proper marking of boundaries . . . .”
Battery Mineral also maintains that it is in fact the senior
locator to these mineral claims and that Arizona Lithium
located the claims in bad faith knowing that Battery Mineral
had already recorded their BATT claims. Battery Mineral has
filed a counterclaim based on these allegations.
issue before the Court today, however, is a very limited
issue, which by all accounts appears to be one of first
impression for the District of Idaho. Battery Mineral alleges
that Arizona Lithium failed to comply with a portion of Idaho
Code in recording its Notices of Location, namely the
affidavit requirement of Idaho Code section 47-611.
result of this deficiency, Battery Mineral contends that
Arizona Lithium's Notices of Location are void on their
face, and that the Court should immediately dismiss this
suit. After briefing for the current Motion was complete, but
before oral argument had taken place, Arizona Lithium
informed the Court that it had filed amended Notices of
Location in Lemhi County that more fully comply with the
statutory requirements set forth in Idaho Code section
47-611. Dkt. 24.
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim challenges the
legal sufficiency of the claims stated in the complaint.
Conservation Force v. Salazar, 646 F.3d 1240, 1242
(9th Cir.2011). “A complaint generally must satisfy the
notice pleading requirements of Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8(a)(2) to avoid dismissal under a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion.” Id. (citing Porter v. Jones,
319 F.3d 483, 494 (9th Cir. 2003)). “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 Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley
v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).
sufficiently state a claim for relief and survive a 12(b)(6)
motion, the pleading “does not need detailed factual
allegations, ” however, the “[f]actual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.” Id. at 555. Mere
“labels and conclusions” or a “formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Id. Rather, there must be “enough
facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Id. at 570. In other words, the
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
light of Twombly and Iqbal, the Ninth
Circuit summarized the governing standard as follows:
“In sum, for a complaint to survive a motion to
dismiss, the nonconclusory factual content, and reasonable
inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of
a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief.” Moss v.
U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).
deciding whether to grant a motion to dismiss, the court must
accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations in the
pleading under attack. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 663. A
court is not, however, “required to accept as true
allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted
deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences.”
Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988
(9th Cir. 2001).
cases decided after Iqbal and Twombly, the
Ninth Circuit has continued to adhere to the rule that a
dismissal of a complaint without leave to amend is
inappropriate unless it is beyond doubt that the complaint
could not be saved by an amendment. See Harris v. Amgen,
Inc., 573 F.3d 728, 737 (9th Cir. 2009).
outset, the Court notes that in its simplest form, a motion
to dismiss tests the legal sufficiency of a plaintiff's
claim(s). As Arizona Lithium correctly notes, a motion to
dismiss is not a procedural mechanism for resolving
controverted material facts. Nor does the Court reach the
substantive merits of the case when considering a motion to
dismiss. Rather, the Court only addresses whether or not the
complaint is plausible. This is a relatively low standard.
Court first addresses whether it should even consider the
instant Motion to Dismiss or whether the Court should convert
the motion into a motion for summary judgment.
Motion to Dismiss/ Motion for Summary Judgment
general rule, “a district court may not consider any
material beyond the pleadings in ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion.” Branch v. Tunnell, 14 F.3d 449, 453
(9th Cir. 1994) (citation omitted). Rule 12(b)(6) expressly
provides that when:
matters outside the pleading are presented to and not
excluded by the court, the motion shall be treated as one for
summary judgment and disposed of as provided in Rule 56, and
all parties shall be given reasonable opportunity to present
all material made pertinent to such a motion by Rule 56.
Civ. P. 12(b)(6). “A court may, however, consider
certain materials-documents attached to the complaint,
documents incorporated by reference in the complaint, or
matters of judicial notice-without converting the motion to
dismiss into a motion for summary judgment.” United
States v. Ritchie, 342 F.3d 903, 908 (9th Cir. 2003).
Additionally, even if the documents are not physically
attached to the complaint, they may still be considered if
the documents' “authenticity . . . is not
contested” and “the ...