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

Issue: When will a federal court grant a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim; Law applicable to an issue
Jurisdiction: Federal, Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 893 F.2d 195; 909 F. Supp. 345; 355 U.S. 42; 450 N.W.2d 913; 489 A.2d 660; 652 A.2d 1225; 358 N.W.2d 233; 91 F.3d 242; 766 F.2d 105; 331 F. Supp. 960; 612 F. Supp. 983; 207 A.2d 305; 411 F. Supp. 2d 614
Cited Statutes: Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6); Restatement (Second) of Conflicts § 188; 11A V.I.C. § 2-318; UCC § 2-318
Date: 12/01/2006

  Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim  may be granted only if “‘it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.'”  McCoy v. Hess Oil V.I. Corp., 42 V.I. 271, 273 (D.V.I. 1999) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 42, 45-46 (1957)).  When deciding the 12(b)(6) motion, the court is required to accept as true all of the plaintiff’s allegations, and to draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff’s favor.  Id. at 273 (finding that, if proven, the plaintiff’s allegations would entitle him to relief, such that the defendants’ motions were denied).

As discussed in Morcher v. Nash, 39 V.I. 408, 416 (D.V.I. 1998), the Restatement (Second) of Conflicts of Laws is used to determine what law applies to determine a contract issue when there is a conflict between the laws that are potentially applicable.

The applicable Restatement provision reads as follows:


  In the absence of an effective choice of law by the parties . . . , the contacts to be taken into account . . . to determine the law applicable to an issue include:

(a)        the place of contracting,

(b)        the place of negotiation of the contract,

(c)        the place of performance,

(d)       the location of the subject matter of the contract, and

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