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Miller Marital Deduction Trust v. Estate of Dubois

United States District Court, E.D. California

November 14, 2017

MILLER MARITAL DEDUCTION TRUST, by and through its trustees, Helen Miller and James Morris; and HELEN MILLER, an individual, Plaintiffs,
v.
ESTATE OF MARK B. DUBOIS, DECEASED, an individual and dba Glo Dry Cleaning System, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          STANLEY A. BASTIAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On November 2, 2017, the Court held a telephonic motion hearing on Defendant Estate of Jack Miller's Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 39. Bret Stone and Barry Bryan appeared on behalf of Plaintiffs, and Jon-Erik Magnus and Jodi Lambert appeared on behalf of Defendant. The Court took the motion under advisement.

         Defendant Estate of Jack Miller (“Defendant”) requests the Court dismiss Plaintiffs' Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Tenth, and Thirteenth Causes of Action; as well as Plaintiffs' First and Sixth Prayer for Relief alleged in Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. After careful consideration of the parties' briefings and presentation to the Court, Defendant's motion is denied.

         FACTS

         From approximately 1970 to 1985, Jack Miller owned the property located at 6054 Pacific Avenue, Stockton, California (the “Property”). During those years Mr. Miller leased the Property to Glo Dry Cleaning System; a dry cleaning business that had been operating on the Property since approximately 1956.[1] This action stems from the environmental contamination to the Property and the areas to which the contamination has migrated outside the boundaries of the Property (collectively, the “Site”), as a result of hazardous chemicals used in the operation of the dry cleaning business.

         Upon Mr. Miller's death, the Miller Marital Deduction Trust (“Miller Trust”) obtained-and currently holds-ownership of the Property. On August 10, 2016, the Miller Trust, by and through its trustees, Helen Miller and James Morris; and Helen Miller, as an individual, (“Plaintiffs”) filed this action in defense of claims made against them by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Central Valley Region, related to the environmental contamination.

         Of the numerous Defendants named in the Complaint, Plaintiffs included Defendant to the extent of his estate's liability insurance assets pursuant to Cal. Prob. Code §§ 550, et seq. On September 12, 2017 Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint (“FAC”). ECF No. 34.

         On October 3, 2017 Defendant filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). ECF No. 39. Defendant seeks dismissal of Plaintiffs' Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Tenth, and Thirteenth Causes of Action; as well as Plaintiffs' First and Sixth Prayer for Relief.

         In support of its motion, Defendant attatched declarations for the following: (1) Darrell McCarley, a claims adjuster for Allianz Insurance Company; and (2) Arlene Church, a records management specialist for Zurich American Insurance Company. Defendant holds insurance policies with both companies. Defendant also seeks judicial notice of the following documents: (1) Jack Miller's death certificate; and (2) proof of service of summons of Zurich American Insurance Company.

         STANDARD

         On a motion to dismiss, all well-pleaded allegations of material fact are taken as true and construed in a light most favorable to the non-moving party. Wyler Summit P'ship v. Turner Broadcasting Sys., Inc., 135 F.3d 658, 661 (9th Cir. 1998). Under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint “should not be dismissed unless it appears beyond doubt that [the] plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.” Hydranautics v. FilmTec Corp., 70 F.3d 533, 535-36 (9th Cir. 1995).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires that each claim in a pleading be supported by “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” To satisfy this requirement, a complaint must contain sufficient factual content “to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Landers v. Quality Commc'ns, Inc., 771 F.3d 638, 641 (9th Cir. 2014) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim for relief is plausible on its face “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). In evaluating whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief, courts rely on “judicial experience and common sense” to determine whether the factual allegations, which are assumed to be true, “plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Id. at 679.

         DISCUSSION

         Extrinsic ...


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