How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask socrateaser Your Own Question

socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 34665
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
10097515
Type Your Legal Question Here...
socrateaser is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My question concerns a proceedural error in a dismissal for

Resolved Question:

My question concerns a proceedural error in a dismissal for an upcoming appeal.

I have a case in state court. It was dismissed by the trial court for failure to state a claim.

I had filed a first amended complaint (FAC) a few months after the original complaint. The FAC shared only one claim with the original complaint and had four new claims. The trial court approved that FAC and then the defendant submitted a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for that FAC. After that, I submitted a motion to amend with an attached second amended complaint (SAC). The SAC had the same claims as the FAC but with additional factual allegations and legal theories.

The trial court then issued an order approving the defendant’s motion to dismiss the FAC but instead of addressing the FAC, the court’s analysis and dismissal of claims was to the original complaint. In the same order, the trial court denied my motion to amend because the claims in the proposed SAC were futile. The court did not provide any analysis of why the claims were futile (presumably they wouldn’t withstand a motion to dismiss on their own).

My question in the context of an appeal is does the determination of the SAC claims as futile essentially constitute a dismissal of the FAC? Even though the FAC, its claims and allegations are not addressed in the court’s order mistakenly dismissing of the original complaint.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

From the appellate court's view, what matters is whether any of the complaints stated facts sufficient to prove any legally cognizable cause of action. Example: Suppose you claim breach of contract as a count/cause of action. A breach occurs where the parties agree to some sort of performance and a party fails to perform. So, if you state in your facts that a vendor agreed to sell you a hot dog in exchange for $1.00, you further state that you paid your dollar, but that the defendant handed you a polish sausage, then those facts demonstrate that a contract existed, and that the defendant failed to perform, which satisfies the elements.

Now, let's say that claim to have walked up to the vendor and handed him $1.00, and the vendor hands you a polish sausage. And, let's further say that nowhere on the vendor's stand does it say "Hot Dogs $1.00." You don't have a claim for breach of contract here, because you haven't proved that there was any contract to begin with.

But, from the appellate court's position, there is a cognizable claim: the vendor kept your $1.00 and ignored you, and that raises a claim for quasi-contractual unjust enrichment. The vendor received benefit of $1.00 from you in expectation of the return benefit of a hot dog, and you received nothing at all. Thus, the vendor was unjustly enriched, and you have an equitable claim for reimbursement of your $1.00.

If the trial court failed to recognize the cognizable quasi-contract claim, then the dismissal was incorrect, and the appellate court must reverse (assuming that the appellate court judge has the other half of the brain which may have been missing from the trial court judge -- and we certainly hope so).

That's how the appellate court reviews a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes I will be arguing that the trial court did not accept all my allegations made in the amended complaint as true when it found the claims were futile.


 


I was just wondering if the trial court has to address the active complaint in the case (the first amended complaint) directly or it can essentially dismiss those claims through the proposed second amended complaint without any specific discussion of the claims. The trial court only addressed and dismissed the original complaint (wrong set of allegations, theories and claims). Wondering if I can make a procedural argument in addition to highlighting the allegations that would support my claims.


 


 

Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
I think that I may have not explained effectively.

The appellate court won't care what the trial court analyzed. What matters is whether or not one or more of your complaints sets forth facts necessary to make a cognizable cause of action. If it does, then the trial court cannot dismiss.

The trial court's analysis will be ignored by the appellate court. Your argument on appeal is that the complaint sets forth facts which if proved at trial would prove a cause of action. It may not be the cause of action that you originally stated. That doesn't matter. All that matters is that the facts set forth some cause of action. If you can find it and explain it to the appellate court in your argument, then that will certainly speed things along. But, if you cannot, then the appellate court would have to try to find a cause of action on its own. If it cannot, then it will affirm the trial court's dismissal. Otherwise it will reverse.

Hope this helps.
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 34665
Experience: Retired (mostly)
socrateaser and 3 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Awesome that was what I needed explained.

Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
You're welcome and good luck.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8436
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8436
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    19941
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    8189
    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/jespoag/2008-12-17_222355_jessepic.jpg JPEsq's Avatar

    JPEsq

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    2132
    Experience as general attorney, in house counsel, SSDI, Family Law attorney, and law professor
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/gsenmartin/2008-04-22_214950_me1.jpg Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.'s Avatar

    Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    110
    7+ years of experience handling various legal matters.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PA/PaulmoJD/2013-10-10_195858_JAImage.64x64.jpg Law Educator, Esq.'s Avatar

    Law Educator, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    31621
    JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    15975
    Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
 
 
 

Related Legal Questions

Chat Now With A Lawyer
socrateaser
socrateaser
Lawyer
34665 Satisfied Customers
Retired (mostly)