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Jameson Beach Property Owners Association v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 29, 2014

JAMESON BEACH PROPERTY OWNERS ASSOCIATION, et al., Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MORRISON C. ENGLAND, Jr., Chief District Judge.

On May 22, 2013, Plaintiffs Jameson Beach Property Owners Association ("Owners Association"), Gene Landon and Helen Nicolaides (collectively, "Plaintiffs") filed the instant action against various defendants, including federal, state, and local government entities, for allegedly using Plaintiffs' real property without compensation and in a hazardous manner that exposes Plaintiffs to significant liability. Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complain ("FAC") on July 24, 2014, alleging additional causes of action against defendants, and added Ronald Saxon as an individual plaintiff. On August 4, 2014, Defendants Camp Richardson Resort, Inc. ("CRR"), Robert Hassett, Tammy Hassett, and Kris Knox (collectively "CRR Defendants") moved to strike portions of and to dismiss Plaintiffs' FAC. See ECF No. 138. On August 5, 2014, Defendant United States Forest Service ("USFS") moved to strike the claims against it in Plaintiffs' FAC. See ECF No. 139. On August 11, 2014, Defendant El Dorado County ("El Dorado") moved to strike portions of and to dismiss Plaintiffs' FAC. See ECF No. 142. For the following reasons, the USFS's Motion to Strike (ECF No. 139) is GRANTED, and El Dorado and CRR Defendants' Motions (ECF Nos. 142, 138) are GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.[1]

BACKGROUND[2]

The Owners Association was formed as an entity serving all owners of real property located in the Jameson Beach Subdivision Tract ("Owners"). Plaintiffs Gene Landon, Helen Nicolaides, and Ronald Saxon are Owners. Plaintiffs Owners Association, Gene Landon, and Helen Nicolaides filed their initial complaint against all Defendants on May 22, 2013. ECF No. 2.

On June 24, 2013, Defendant El Dorado moved to dismiss the five causes of action against it for failure to state a claim. ECF No. 10. Plaintiffs failed to timely oppose El Dorado's motion, which was granted with leave to amend. See ECF No. 83.

On March 13, 2014, the Federal Defendants[3] moved to dismiss all of Plaintiffs' claims against them for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim. ECF No. 29. The Federal Defendants' motion to dismiss was granted with leave to amend as to Plaintiffs' claim for inverse condemnation, and granted without leave to amend as to all other claims. ECF No. 83 at 11.

Plaintiffs timely filed their FAC on July 24, 2014. As indicated above, the FAC includes Ronald Saxon as a new Plaintiff, and alleges fifteen causes of action: (1) quiet title against the USFS; (2) quiet title against other Defendants; (3) interference with easement; (4) partition; (5) ejectment; (6) inverse condemnation; (7) trespass; (8) unfair competition; (9) public nuisance; (10) private nuisance; (11) intentional infliction of emotional distress; (12) negligent infliction of emotional distress; (13) unjust enrichment; (14) negligence; and (15) violation of the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"). Plaintiffs allege that jurisdiction is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 28 U.S.C. § 1346 "because the United States is a Defendant and this action arises under the laws of the United States."

On August 4, 2014, the CRR Defendants moved to strike portions of and to dismiss Plaintiffs' FAC, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure[4] 12(b)(1), 12(b)(6), and 12(f).[5] ECF No. 138. On August 5, 2014, the USFS moved to strike the claims against it in Plaintiffs' FAC, pursuant to Rule 12(f). ECF No. 139. On August 11, 2014, El Dorado moved to strike portions of and to dismiss Plaintiffs' FAC, pursuant to Rules 12(b)(6), 12(b)(1), and 12(f). ECF No. 142. All three motions are currently pending before the Court.

STANDARD

A. Rule 12(b)(6)

On a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), all allegations of material fact must be accepted as true and construed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Cahill v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. , 80 F.3d 336, 337-38 (9th Cir. 1996). Rule 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)). A complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not require detailed factual allegations. However, "a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id . (internal citations and quotations omitted). A court is not required to accept as true a "legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009) (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555). "Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555 (citing 5 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1216 (3d ed. 2004) (stating that the pleading must contain something more than "a statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action.")).

B. Rule 12(b)(1)

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and are presumptively without jurisdiction over civil actions. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am. , 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). The burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction. Id . Because subject matter jurisdiction involves a court's power to hear a case, it can never be forfeited or waived. United States v. Cotton , 535 U.S. 625, 630 (2002). Accordingly, lack of subject matter jurisdiction may be raised by either party at any point during the litigation, through a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1). Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp. , 546 U.S. 500, 506 (2006); see also Int'l Union of Operating Eng'rs v. Cnty. of Plumas , 559 F.3d 1041, 1043-44 (9th Cir. 2009). Lack of subject matter jurisdiction may also be raised by the district court sua sponte. Ruhrgas AG v. Marathon Oil Co. , 526 U.S. 574, 583 (1999). Indeed, "courts have an ...


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