12(b)(6) Motions — Limitations Defense Properly Considered on Dismissal Motion — Documents the Court May Consider

From Alford v. Wachovia Bank/World Sav. Bank, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14060 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 26, 2010):

*** [A] limitations defense may be raised by a F.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Jablon v. Dean Witter & Co., 614 F.2d 677, 682 (9th Cir. 1980); see Avco Corp. v. Precision Air Parts, Inc., 676 F.2d 494, 495 (11th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1037, 103 S.Ct. 450 (1982). A F.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss may raise the limitations defense when the statute's running is apparent on the complaint's face. Jablon, 614 F.2d at 682. If the limitations defense does not appear on the complaint's face and the trial court accepts matters outside the pleadings' scope, the defense may be raised by a motion to dismiss accompanied by affidavits. Jablon, 614 F.2d at 682; Rauch v. Day and Night Mfg. Corp., 576 F.2d 697 (6th Cir. 1978).

For a F.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) motion, a court generally cannot consider material outside the complaint. *** Nonetheless, a court may consider exhibits submitted with the complaint. *** In addition, a "court may consider evidence on which the complaint 'necessarily relies' if: (1) the complaint refers to the document; (2) the document is central to the plaintiff's claim; and (3) no party questions the authenticity of the copy attached to the 12(b)(6) motion." Marder v. Lopez, 450 F.3d 445, 448 (9th Cir. 2006). A court may treat such a document as "part of the complaint, and thus may assume that its contents are true for purposes of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6)." United States v. Ritchie, 342 F.3d 903, 908 (9th Cir.2003). Such consideration prevents "plaintiffs from surviving a Rule 12(b)(6) motion by deliberately omitting reference to documents upon which their claims are based." Parrino v. FHP, Inc., 146 F.3d 699, 706 (9th Cir. 1998). A "court may disregard allegations in the complaint if contradicted by facts established by exhibits attached to the complaint." Sumner Peck Ranch v. Bureau of Reclamation, 823 F.Supp. 715, 720 (E.D. Cal. 1993) (citing Durning v. First Boston Corp., 815 F.2d 1265, 1267 (9th Cir. 1987)). Moreover, "judicial notice may be taken of a fact to show that a complaint does not state a cause of action." Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Metropolitan Engravers, Ltd., 245 F.2d 67, 70 (9th Cir. 1956); see Estate of Blue v. County of Los Angeles, 120 F.3d 982, 984 (9th Cir. 1997). A court properly may take judicial notice of matters of public record outside the pleadings'" and consider them for purposes of the motion to dismiss. Mir v. Little Co. of Mary Hosp., 844 F.2d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 1988) (citation omitted).

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