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Peace and Freedom Party v. Bowen

United States District Court, E.D. California

December 11, 2012

The PEACE AND FREEDOM PARTY, Peta Lindsay, and Richard Becker, Plaintiffs,
v.
Debra BOWEN, in her official capacity as Secretary of State of California, Defendant.

Page 906

Alexandra Robert Gordon, Dept. of Justice, San Francisco, CA.

Robert Edward Barnes, Barnes Law, Malibu, CA, for Plaintiffs.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS

GARLAND E. BURRELL, JR., Senior District Judge.

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen (" Defendant" ) moves for an order under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (" Rule" ) 12(b)(6) dismissing with prejudice the claims filed against her by The Peace and Freedom Party, Peta Lindsay, and Richard Becker (collectively " Plaintiffs" ). Plaintiffs allege that the Secretary violated their First, Fourteenth, and Twentieth Amendment constitutional rights by failing to list Peta Lindsay on the presidential primary ballot for the Peace and Freedom Party. Defendant contends Lindsay was not entitled to be placed on the ballot since she is ineligible to serve as president of the United States due to her age.

I. LEGAL STANDARD

Decision on a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal motion requires determination of " whether the complaint's factual allegations, together with all reasonable inferences, state a plausible claim for relief." Cafasso, United States ex rel. v. Gen. Dynamics C4 Sys., Inc., 637 F.3d 1047, 1054 (9th Cir.2011) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009)). " 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." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)).

In evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court " accepts the complaint's well-pleaded factual allegations as true and draws all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Adams v. U.S. Forest Serv., 671 F.3d 1138, 1142-43 (9th Cir.2012) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56, 127 S.Ct. 1955). However, this tenet does not apply to " legal conclusions ... cast in the form of factual allegations." Fayer v. Vaughn, 649 F.3d 1061, 1064 (9th Cir.2011) (internal quotation marks omitted). " Therefore, conclusory allegations of law and unwarranted inferences are insufficient to defeat a motion to dismiss." Id. (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955) (" A pleading that offers ‘ labels and conclusions' or ‘ a formulaic recitation

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of the elements of a cause of action will not do.’ " ).

Dismissal with prejudice is appropriate when a " ‘ pleading could not possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts.’ " Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1117 (9th Cir.2012) (quoting Doe v. United States, 58 F.3d 494, 497 (9th Cir.1995)); see also Klamath-Lake Pharm. Ass'n v. Klamath Med. Serv. Bureau, 701 F.2d 1276, 1293 (9th Cir.1983) (" Futile amendments should not be permitted." ).

II. JUDICIAL NOTICE

Defendant requests that the Court take judicial notice of the following: (1) Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 7); (2) the Order, filed on April 26, 2012, 2012 WL 1455248, denying Plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction (ECF No. 13); and (3) a letter, dated February 13, 2012, from the Peta Lindsay for President 2012 Campaign (the " Campaign" ) to Defendant, in which the Campaign's attorney recounts that in a conversation with a representative from Defendant's office he " admitt[ed] that Ms. Lindsay is 27-years-old."

As a general rule, a district court " ‘ may not consider any material beyond the pleadings in ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion.’ " United States v. Corinthian Colls., 655 F.3d 984, 998 (9th Cir.2011) (quoting Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 688 (9th Cir.2001)). However, judicial notice may be taken of the existence of court filings, which are not subject to reasonable dispute over their authenticity. E.g., Holder v. Holder, 305 F.3d 854, 866 ...


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