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Finley v. County of Alameda

United States District Court, N.D. California

May 12, 2014



MARIA-ELENA JAMES, Magistrate Judge.


Before the Court is Defendant County of Alameda's ("County") Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Latonya R. Finley's ("Plaintiff") First Amended Complaint ("FAC"). Dkt. No. 10.

On November 20, 2013, Plaintiff filed the FAC, in which she alleges that in 2012, the County failed to pay her wages of $2, 750.00 for work she performed as an In-Home Supportive Services ("IHSS") personal care service provider. FAC ¶¶ 7-9, Dkt. No. 7. Plaintiff further alleges that IHSS had a fiduciary duty to ensure that all providers are informed of the requirements they must meet in order to receive payment, including relevant grievance and complaint procedures. Id. ¶ 5. Plaintiff maintains that the County misled her regarding these grievance and complaint procedures in order to dupe her out of payment for services she provided under contract with IHSS. Id. ¶¶ 6, 8.

The County moves to dismiss the FAC pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 12(b)(1) on the ground that there is no subject matter jurisdiction. The County also moves to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) because the FAC fails to state a claim. Plaintiff filed an Opposition on January 22, 2014, in which she argued that this Court has jurisdiction because IHSS is a federally funded program. Opp'n at 2., Dkt. No. 20. The County filed a Reply on January 29, 2014. Dkt. No. 21. On February 11, 2014, the Court found this matter suitable for dispotion without oral argument and vacated the noticed hearing. Dkt. No. 22.

For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS the County's Motion to Dismiss WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.


A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1)

Federal district courts are courts of limited jurisdiction; "[t]hey possess only that power authorized by Constitution and statute, which is not to be expanded by judicial decree." Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994) (internal citation omitted). Accordingly, "[i]t is to be presumed that a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction, and the burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction." Id.

Rule 12(b)(1) authorizes a party to move to dismiss a lawsuit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The party seeking to invoke the jurisdiction of the District Court has the burden of establishing that jurisdiction exists. Tosco Corp. v. Cmtys. for a Better Env't, 236, F.3d 495, 499 (9th Cir. 2001). The Court is under a continuing duty to dismiss an action whenever it appears that it lacks jurisdiction. Spencer Enters., Inc. v. United States, 345 F.3d 683, 687 (9th Cir. 2003).

A party moving to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) may make a facial or a factual attack on jurisdiction. A facial attack challenges the sufficiency of the jurisdictional allegations in a complaint. Safe Air for Everyone v. Meyer, 373 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 2004). In a facial challenge, the moving party contends that, even accepting all of the allegations in the plaintiff's complaint as true, the plaintiff has failed to establish that the Court has jurisdiction over the claims. Id. In evaluating a facial attack on jurisdiction, the Court must accept the factual allegations in a complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Doe v. Holy See, 557 F.3d 1066, 1073 (9th Cir. 2009).

By contrast, in a factual attack, the challenger disputes the truth of the allegations that, by themselves, would otherwise invoke federal jurisdiction. Safe Air for Everyone, 373 F.3d at 1039. In resolving a factual attack on jurisdiction, the Court "need not presume the truthfulness of the plaintiff's allegations" and "may review evidence beyond the complaint without converting the motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment." Id. (citation omitted).

B. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)

Under Rule 12(b)(6), a party may file a motion to dismiss based on the failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. A Rule 12(b)(6) motion challenges the sufficiency of a complaint as failing to allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A facial plausibility standard is not a "probability requirement" but mandates "more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotations and citations omitted). For purposes of ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court "accept[s] factual allegations in the complaint as true and construe[s] the pleadings in the light most favorable to the non-moving party." Manzarek v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 519 F.3d 1025, 1031 (9th Cir. 2008). "[D]ismissal may be based on either a lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory." Johnson v. ...

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