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Legal Memorandum: Rule 12(b)(6) or a Rule 56 Motion

Issue: Under the law as applied in the U.S. Virgin Islands, when faced with a defense to a claim based on a procedural statute of limitations issue, should the court treat the matter as a Rule 12(b)(6) motion or a Rule 56 summary judgment motion.?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Rule 12(b)(6) motion; Rule 56 summary judgment motion
Jurisdiction: Federal, Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 263 F.3d 272; 933 F.2d 639
Cited Statutes: Rule 12(b)(6); Rule 56; § 12(b)(1); Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(c)
Date: 04/01/2006

Because the statute of limitations is procedural, not jurisdictional, such a motion should have been regarded as a Rule 12(b)(6) motion which should have been converted into a Rule 56 summary judgment motion because the parties submitted evidence outside the record which was, or ought to have been considered by the court.  See Hughes v. United States, 263 F.3d 272, 278 (3d Cir. 2001) (“Although the District Court purported to resolve the motion under § 12(b)(1), it considered memoranda, affidavits and exhibits submitted by both parties.  The court, therefore, should have applied summary judgment standards in deciding whether to grant or deny the Government’s motion” to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because of non-compliance with applicable limitations period).  Moreover, when a procedural statute of limitations is involved “[f]ailure to comply with the statute is an affirmative defense which the defendant has the burden of establishing.”  Hughes 263 F.3d at 278 TA s "Hughes v. United States (3d Cir. 2001)" ; Schmidt v. United States, 933 F.2d 639, 640 (8th Cir. 1991) TA l "Schmidt v. United States 933 F.2d 639 (8th Cir. 1991)" s "Schmidt v. United States (8th Cir. 1991)" c 1 ; Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(c) TA l "Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(c)" s "Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(c)" c 4 .

Thus, the court should have applied the standards applicable to a summary judgment motion which include the following:

·         The moving party bears the burden […]

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