United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
C. NYE, CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant Lawerence Denney's Motion
to Dismiss. Dkt. 2. Having reviewed the record and briefs,
the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are
adequately presented. Accordingly, in the interest of
avoiding further delay, and because the Court finds that the
decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral
argument, the Court will decide the Motion without oral
argument. Dist. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1(d)(1)(B). For the
reasons set forth below, the Court finds good cause to GRANT
the Motion. However, the Court will grant Plaintiff Ryan
Isbelle leave to amend his Complaint to cure deficiencies
outlined in this decision.
Ryan Isbelle is an Idaho citizen residing in Lewiston, Idaho.
Isbelle claims that Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney
failed to protect his rights to Equal Protection under the
Fourteenth Amendment. Denney was Secretary of State in 2013
when the Idaho Legislature passed an amendment to Idaho Code
section 34-1805. Idaho Code section 34-1805 regulates the
number of signers required for ballot initiatives or
referendums. The amendment passed in 2013 requires those who
wish to have an initiative placed on the ballot to obtain
signatures of legal voters equal in number to at least six
percent of the qualified electors at the time of the last
general election in at least eighteen legislative districts.
Isbelle alleges that this requirement damages his right to
participate in the initiative process.
March 19, 2019, Isbelle brought suit against Denney seeking
invalidation of the geographic distribution requirement of
Idaho Code section 34-1805. Dkt. 1. On April 9, 2019, Denney
filed the instant Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for
failure to state a claim. Dkt. 2.
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(1) challenges the Court's subject matter
jurisdiction. A lack of jurisdiction is presumed unless the
party asserting jurisdiction establishes that it exists.
See Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511
U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Thus, the plaintiff bears the burden of
proof on a Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction. Sopcak v. Northern Mountain
Helicopter Serv., 52 F.3d 817, 818 (9th Cir. 1995). If
the court determines that it does not have subject matter
jurisdiction, it must dismiss the claim. Fed.R.Civ.P.
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. 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).