Legal Memorandum: Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim

Issue: Under Minnesota law, what is the standard for a Rule 12 Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim; Facts alleged; Standard
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: Rule 12
Date: 03/01/2014

A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim serves only a “limited function.”  Elzie v. Comm’r of Pub. Safety, 298 N.W.2d 29, 32 (Minn. 1980).  On such a motion, “the only question before [the court] is whether the complaint sets forth a legally sufficient claim for relief.  It is immaterial to [the court’s] consideration here whether or not the plaintiff can prove the facts alleged.”  Id.; see Barton v. Moore, 558 N.W.2d 746, 749 (Minn. 1997).  Thus, a claim will not be dismissed where “it is possible on any evidence which might be produced, consistent with the pleader’s theory, to grant the relief demanded.”  Elzie, 298 N.W.2d at 32.  Stated another way, “a pleading will be dismissed only if it appears to a certainty that no facts which could be introduced consistent with the pleading, exist which would support granting the relief demanded.”  Id.  In applying this standard, the “court accepts the factual allegations as true and views them in light most favorable to the plaintiff.”  Jennen v. County of Aitkin, No. C7-02-1994 at *1 (Minn. Ct. App. May 20, 2003).


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