What is a Motion for Failure to State A Claim?

A “motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted” is a procedural label used in federal court, not California court. The state-court equivalents are a demurrer, or a motion for judgment on the pleadings. Code of Civ. Proc., §§430.10, 438.

The function of a demurrer is to test the legal sufficiency of a pleading. Trs. Of Capital Wholesale Elec. Etc. Fund v. Shearson Lehman Bros. (1990) 221 Cal.App.3d 617, 621. Consequently, “[a] demurrer reaches only to the contents of the pleading and such matters as may be considered under the doctrine of judicial notice.” South Shore Land Co. v. Petersen (1964) 226 Cal.App.2d 725, 732. “It is not the ordinary function of a demurrer to test the truth of the plaintiff’s allegations or the accuracy with which he describes the defendant’s conduct.... [T]he facts alleged in the pleading are deemed to be true, however improbable they may be.” Align Technology, Inc. v. Tran (2009) 179 Cal.App.4th 949, 958.

“Judgment on the pleadings is akin to a demurrer and is properly granted only if the complaint does not state facts sufficient to state a cause of action against that defendant. The grounds for the motion must appear on the face of the complaint, and in any matters subject to judicial notice. The court accepts as true all material factual allegations, giving them a liberal construction, but it does not consider conclusions of fact or law, opinions, speculation, or allegations contrary to law or judicially noticed facts.” Shea Homes Limited Partnership v. County of Alameda (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 1246, 1254.

It is an abuse of discretion for the court to deny leave to amend where there is any reasonable possibility that plaintiff can state a good cause of action. Goodman v. Kennedy (1976) 18 Cal.3d 335, 349. The burden is on the plaintiff to show in what manner he or she can amend the complaint, and how that amendment will change the legal effect of the pleading. Medina v. Safe-Guard Products (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 105, 112.

For more see Demurrer and Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.

Useful Rulings on Motion for Failure to State A Claim

Recent Rulings on Motion for Failure to State A Claim

YANG NAM KIM VS KOREA SENIOR CITIZENS MUTUAL CLUB, A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, ET AL.

“[A] pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers and can only be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.” (Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976) [internal quotations omitted].) Further, “[p]roviding access to justice for self-represented litigants is a priority for California courts.”

  • Hearing

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

P O VS LOS ANGELES ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, ET AL.

As such, a federal motion to dismiss for a failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted necessarily tests the sufficiency of a complaint. (See De La Cruz v. Tormey (1978) 582 F.2d 45, 48.) A demurrer based on a failure to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action similarly tests the sufficiency of a complaint in the same way as a motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Federal Rules of Procedure Rule 12(b)(6). (See Hahn, supra, 147 Cal.App.4th at p. 747.)

  • Hearing

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

RIVAS VS STATE FARM MUTUAL

Third Cause of Action for IIED: State Farm's demurrer for failure to state a claim to the third cause of action for IIED should be SUSTAINED, without leave to amend. Plaintiff fails to plead extreme and outrageous conduct necessary to support this cause of action.

  • Hearing

KINGDOM OF SWEDEN VS TRAN

The Court should sustain a demurrer for failure to state a claim only if the Court concludes from the face of the complaint, and any matters as to which the Court takes judicial notice, that defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Applying these standards and on this limited record, the Court is not persuaded that this court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear the claims set forth in the complaint.

  • Hearing

  • Type

    Collections

  • Sub Type

    Collections

JUAN MANUEL CERVANTES VS. PILAR ALONSO

Alonso's demurrer for failure to state a claim to the second cause of action for fraud – damages should is overruled. - Demurrer for Failure to State a Claim to the Third Cause of Action for Breach of Contract Plaintiff sufficiently alleges damages, and Alonso's arguments lack merit. Therefore, Alonso's demurrer for failure to state a claim to the third cause of action for breach of contract is overruled.

  • Hearing

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    other

GAUMER VS LORENZO

Defendant demurs to each cause of action for the failure to state a claim and uncertainty. Breach of Contract (C/A 1) Plaintiff alleges that she and the Defendant entered into an oral agreement in July 2017 where the parties agreed to “jointly own and operate a restaurant” in Concord called “Quickly Concord (QC)”. Plaintiff alleges that she performed her obligations under the contract by obtaining three loans for the business for a total of $50,674.95 in November 2017.

  • Hearing

SETH MAZIED ET AL. VS VAN GUDMUNDSON ET AL.

To uphold a dismissal [for failure to state a claim for relief, the federal counterpart of our general demurrer], it must appear to a certainty that the plaintiff would not be entitled to relief under any set of facts that could be proved. Therefore, dismissal is proper only where it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of the claims that would entitle him to relief.

  • Hearing

YAN MINKOVITCH VS KENT CASH

Failure to State a Claim Plaintiff argues Defendant’s 21 affirmative defenses fail to plead facts constituting defenses. Review of Defendant’s affirmative defenses show that each is a conclusory statement devoid of any facts pertaining to the alleged incident. Demurrer to each of the 21 affirmative defense is sustained. D. Uncertainty Plaintiff argues page one, paragraph one is uncertain.

  • Hearing

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

PATEL M.D. VS JELD-WEN, INC

The demurrer to this cause of action is sustained, with leave to amend, on the grounds lack of specificity, and failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted to the extent the claim is based on promise made without intent to perform.

  • Hearing

HAMEED VS. SYED

Failure to state a claim of breach of fiduciary duty? Defendants' attack on the remedy of declaratory relief, even if correct, does not vitiate an otherwise valid cause of action. Further, Plaintiffs' also seek damages on all causes of action. Failure to state a claim of conversion? Not only do defendants' fail to argue this point in their points and authorities, as noted above a cause of action does not fail where only a remedy is in question. Failure to state a claim of unjust enrichment?

  • Hearing

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

DAWN KANE VS NASSAR HEIKALI, ET AL.

Demurrer: Fraud Causes Defendants also demur to the fraud-based causes of action for failure to state a claim. The elements of a claim for fraud are (1) misrepresentation of a material fact; (2) knowledge of falsity or lack of a reasonable ground for belief in the truth of the representation; (3) intent to induce reliance; (4) actual and justifiable reliance by the plaintiff; and (5) resulting damage. (Orient Handel v. United States Fid. & Guar. Co. (1987) 192 Cal.App.3d 684, 693.)

  • Hearing

CHERYL MCCALLISTER VS. PAUL HURLEY

The Court intends to rule as follows; To overrule Defendant's demurrer on the ground of uncertainty to the third cause of action, and, sustain Defendant's demurrer on the ground of failure to state a claim to the third cause of action, with leave to amend. A demurrer for uncertainty is strictly construed because ambiguities can be clarified through discovery. (Khoury v. Maly's of California, Inc. (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 612, 616.)

  • Hearing

P O VS LOS ANGELES ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, ET AL.

As such, a federal motion to dismiss for a failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted necessarily tests the sufficiency of a complaint. (See De La Cruz v. Tormey (1978) 582 F.2d 45, 48.) A demurrer based on a failure to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action similarly tests the sufficiency of a complaint in the same way as a motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Federal Rules of Procedure Rule 12(b)(6). (See Hahn, supra, 147 Cal.App.4th at p. 747.)

  • Hearing

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

GIOVANNA WILKERSON VS CATHY BOROWIEC

“[A] pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers and can only be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.” (Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 [106, 97 S. Ct. 285, 50 L. Ed. 2d 251] (1976) [internal quotations omitted].)

  • Hearing

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

LUXURIOUS PROPERTIES, LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, A LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY VS NMA DENTAL MANAGEMENT LLC, AN ILLINOIS LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, ET AL.

Defendants Peters and Westernhagen Dental now demur to the fifth, sixth, and seventh causes of action for failure to state a claim. Legal Standard A demurrer for sufficiency tests whether the complaint states a cause of action.¿ (Hahn v. Mirda (2007) 147 Cal.App.4th 740, 747 (Hahn).) ¿When considering demurrers, courts read the allegations liberally and in context.¿ (Taylor v.

  • Hearing

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    Landlord Tenant

LESLIE GOULD, ET AL VS. JOEL D. KETTLER, ET AL

“An issue may be submitted and determined on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a motion for judgment on the pleadings, a motion for summary judgment . . . [,] a motion for directed verdict, or their equivalents, as well as on a judgment entered on a verdict. A determination may be based on a failure of pleading or of proof as well as on the sustaining of the burden of proof.” (Barker v. Hull (1987) 191 Cal.App.3d 221, 226 [citations omitted].)

  • Hearing

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

LESLIE GOULD, ET AL VS. JOEL D. KETTLER, ET AL

“An issue may be submitted and determined on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a motion for judgment on the pleadings, a motion for summary judgment . . . [,] a motion for directed verdict, or their equivalents, as well as on a judgment entered on a verdict. A determination may be based on a failure of pleading or of proof as well as on the sustaining of the burden of proof.” (Barker v. Hull (1987) 191 Cal.App.3d 221, 226 [citations omitted].)

  • Hearing

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

BARBARA DARWISH, AN INDIVIDUAL, ET AL. VS CITY OF LOS ANGELES, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION

Failure to State a Claim (CCP § 430.10(e)) Finally, Defendant argues that the complaint fails to facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action. “Any person . . . who desires a declaration of his or her rights or duties with respect to another . . . may, in cases of actual controversy relating to the legal rights and duties of the respective parties, bring an original action . . . for a declaration of his or her rights and duties . . . .” (CCP § 1060.)

  • Hearing

KALEEM SYED VS. RASHID HAMEED

Defendants' demurrer on the ground of failure to state a claim is DENIED. As alleged, each cause of action is sufficient to withstand demurrer.

  • Hearing

  • Type

    Insurance

  • Sub Type

    Intellectual Property

GIOVANNA WILKERSON VS OCEAN PROPERTIES

“[A] pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers and can only be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.” (Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 [106, 97 S. Ct. 285, 50 L. Ed. 2d 251] (1976) [internal quotations omitted].)

  • Hearing

GIOVANNA WILKERSON VS JON LEVIN

“[A] pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers and can only be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.” (Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 [106, 97 S. Ct. 285, 50 L. Ed. 2d 251] (1976) [internal quotations omitted].)

  • Hearing

  • Type

    Contract

  • Sub Type

    Breach

ALVARO GALLEGOS, ET AL. VS LUCIANO GOMEZ, JR.

Defendants now demur to the first, third, fifth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, twelfth and thirteenth causes of action for failure to state a claim. Legal Standard A demurrer for sufficiency tests whether the complaint states a cause of action.¿ (Hahn v. Mirda (2007) 147 Cal.App.4th 740, 747 (Hahn).) ¿When considering demurrers, courts read the allegations liberally and in context.¿ (Taylor v.

  • Hearing

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    Landlord Tenant

PEGGY HILL VS UCLA, ET AL.

“[A] pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers and can only be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.” (Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 [106, 97 S. Ct. 285, 50 L. Ed. 2d 251] (1976) [internal quotations omitted].)

  • Hearing

MARINA HABA VS VICINO LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, A CALIFORNIA LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, ET AL.

Vicino claims Haba raises the following “affirmative defenses” – none of which are actually affirmative defenses: (1) Failure to State a Cause of Action; (2) Claim-splitting; (3) Offset; (4) Remote or Speculative Damages; (5) Unjust Enrichment; (6) Legal Fault of Others; (7) Intervening/Superseding Acts of Third Parties; (8) Good Faith Actions; (9) Justification – No Malice, Fraud, or Oppression; (10) Failure to State a Claim for Punitive or Exemplary Damages; and (11) Unintentional [Conduct]/Lack of Knowledge

  • Hearing

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

  • Judge

    Paul A. Bacigalupo or Virginia Keeny

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

JUNG EUNG KIM VS KWANG SOON LEE

Defendant demurs to the claims on grounds of failure to state a claim and uncertainty. Plaintiff’s allegations are sufficient to state a claim for assault.

  • Hearing

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