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Legal Memorandum: Denial of a Motion under Rule 12(b)(6)

Issue: What is the general standard under which a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) must be denied?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Motion under Rule 12(b)(6); General standard
Jurisdiction: Federal, Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 7 F.3d 357; 370 F.2d 795
Cited Statutes: Federal Practice and Procedure § 1366
Date: 08/01/2008

A motion under Rule 12(b)(6) must be denied “unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of the claim which would entitle him to relief.”  Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); Matheson v. V.I. Community Bank Corp., 297 F. Supp. 2d 825, 824 (D.V.I. 2003).  Whether or not plaintiff is likely to prevail in the end is not the issue; rather, it is whether any set of facts could be shown that will entitle plaintiff to offer evidence.  Id.  

Legal theories or formal “causes of action” need not be pleaded.  Etienne v. Oyake, 347 F. Supp. 2d 215, 219 (D.V.I. 2004).  All that is required is that the alleged facts, including all reasonable inferences show plaintiff may be entitled to relief under “any possible theory.”  See Unix Sys. Labs. v. Berkeley Software Design, Inc., 832 F. Supp. 790, 803 (D.N.J. 1993).  Indeed, before it may dismiss, “the court is under a duty to examine the complaint to determine if the allegations provide for relief on any possible theory.”  O’Boyle v. Jiffy Lube Int’l, Inc., 866 F.2d 88, 93 (3d Cir. 1989). 

The court must liberally construe the complaint, accepting all factual allegations as true and drawing all reasonable inferences in plaintiff’s favor.  Etienne, 347 F. Supp. 2d at 219; Matheson, 297 F. Supp. 2d at 825.  Not all facts necessary to a cause of action need be pleaded.  Schaedler v. Reading Eagle Publ’n, Inc.,