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James v. General Dynamic Corp.

United States District Court, D. Alaska

August 7, 2017

Dayle James, Plaintiff,
v.
General Dynamic Corp., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER AND OPINION [RE: MOTIONS AT DOCKETS 17, 45, & 46]

          JOHN W. SEDWICK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SENIOR JUDGE

         I. MOTIONS PRESENTED

         At docket 17 defendant Tote Maritime Alaska, Inc. (“Tote”)[1] moves pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and (6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for an order dismissing plaintiff Dayle James' (“James”) claims against it. The declarations of Grace Greene and Hugh L. Simpson supporting the motion are at dockets 19 and 20, respectively. James opposes at docket 30, and her lawyer's declaration is at docket 31. Tote replies at docket 43.

         After the motion was fully briefed, James filed two motions to supplement her opposition with evidence she obtained in discovery. At docket 45 James filed a “Motion to Permit Filing of Descovery [sic] Documents From General Dynamics Defendants In Support of Plaintiff's Opposition to [Tote's] Motion to Dismiss.” At docket 46 she filed a “Motion to Permit Filing of Descovery [sic] Responses of [Tote].” Tote opposes both motions at docket 47. James did not reply.

         Oral argument was not requested and would not assist the court's resolution of the motions.

         II. BACKGROUND

         According to the complaint, Tote operated a ship that in March 2015 transported Army Stryker vehicles from the west coast of the United States to Anchorage. The Strykers were offloaded at the Port of Anchorage onto rail cars for transportation to Joint Base Eielson-Wainwright. Charlie Thomas James, Jr. (“Mr. James”) was a longshoreman tasked with guiding the vehicles onto the rail cars. James contends that the breaks on one of the vehicles failed, causing it to crush Mr. James between two Stryker vehicles, killing him.

         Tote moves to dismiss, arguing that this court lacks subject matter jurisdiction and, alternatively, that James' complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The court cannot reach Tote's latter argument because it lacks subject matter jurisdiction.[2]

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) allows a party to seek dismissal of an action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The plaintiff then bears the burden of proving jurisdiction.[3] There are two types of Rule 12(b)(1) jurisdictional attacks: facial and factual.[4] “In a facial attack, the challenger asserts that the allegations contained in a complaint are insufficient on their face to invoke federal jurisdiction. By contrast, in a factual attack, the challenger disputes the truth of the allegations that, by themselves, would otherwise invoke federal jurisdiction.”[5]

         Where the defendant brings a facial attack, the court assumes the factual allegations in the plaintiff's complaint are true and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor.[6] But the court does not accept the truth of legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations.[7]

         Where the defendant brings a factual attack, “the district court may review evidence beyond the complaint without converting the motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment.”[8] “It also need not presume the truthfulness of the plaintiffs' allegations.”[9] “Once the moving party has converted the motion to dismiss into a factual motion by presenting affidavits or other evidence properly brought before the court, the party opposing the motion must furnish affidavits or other evidence necessary to satisfy its burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction.”[10]

         Tote's motion brings a facial jurisdictional attack to James' complaint. As such, there is no need to consider evidence beyond the complaint. James' motions at dockets 45 and 46 are denied.

         IV. ...


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