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United States of America v. James P. Ragan

July 21, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES P. RAGAN, AKA JAMES PATRICK RAGAN, JR., AKA PATRICK RAGAN DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew Senior, U.S. District Court Judge

ORDER Re: Defendant James P. Ragan's Motion to Dismiss Entire Action, or in the alternative, Motion for a More Definite Statement [6]

On July 19, 2011, Defendant James P. Ragan's Motion to Dismiss Entire Action pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), or in the alternative, Motion for a More Definite Statement pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(e), came on for regular calendar before this Court [6]. The Court, having reviewed all papers submitted pertaining to these Motions and having considered all arguments presented to the Court, NOW FINDS AND RULES AS FOLLOWS:

The Court hereby DENIES both Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Entire Action and Motion for a More Definite Statement.

I. Background

Plaintiff United States of America (hereinafter, "Plaintiff") filed its First Amended Complaint ("FAC") on March 1, 2011 in this Court against Defendant James P. Ragan (hereinafter, "Defendant"). Plaintiff alleges in its FAC that it is the owner of a consolidation Promissory Note ("Note") that Defendant executed for student loans. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant defaulted on his obligations to repay under the Note and thus owes Plaintiff the principal balance under the Note plus accruing interest, reasonable attorneys' fees, and accrued costs.

On May 27, 2011, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss Entire Action, or in the alternative, a Motion for a More Definite Statement, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and 12(e) [6].

II. Legal Standards

1. Judicial Notice Pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 201, the Court may take judicial notice of adjudicative facts only. "A judicially noticed fact must be one not subject to reasonable dispute in that it is either 1) generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the trial court or 2) capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned." Fed. R. Evid. 201(b). A court must take judicial notice if a party requests it and supplies the court with the requisite information. Fed. R. Evid. 201(d).

2. Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)

In a motion to dismiss brought under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court must presume all non-conclusory, factual allegations of the complaint to be true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Klarfeld v. United States, 944 F.2d 583, 585 (9th Cir. 1991). After accepting as true all non-conclusory statements and drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party, the Court must determine whether the complaint alleges a plausible claim for relief. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1940-41 (2009).

A dismissal can be based on the lack of cognizable legal theory or the lack of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). However, a party is not required to state the legal basis for his claim, only the facts underlying it. See McCalden v. Cal. Library Ass'n, 955 F.2d 1214, 1223 (9th Cir. 1990).

3. Motion for a More Definite Statement Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(e)

If a pleading to which a responsive pleading is permitted is so vague or ambiguous that a party cannot reasonably be required to frame a responsive pleading, the party may move for a more definite statement before interposing a responsive pleading. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(e). A Rule 12(e) motion is proper only where the complaint is so indefinite that the defendant cannot ascertain the nature of the claim being asserted. See Famolare, Inc. v. Edison Bros. Stores, Inc., 525 F. Supp. 940, 949 (E.D. Cal. 1981).

Rule 12(e) motions are disfavored and rarely granted. Cellars v. Pac. Coast Packaging, Inc., 189 F.R.D. 575, 578 (N.D. Cal. 1998). A motion for a more definite statement fails where the complaint is specific enough to apprise the moving party of the substance of the claim being asserted. See Bureerong v. Uvawas, 922 F. Supp. 1450, 1461 (C.D. Cal. 1996). Moreover, where the information sought by the moving party is ...


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