United States District Court, D. Arizona
Honorable G. Murray Snow United States District Judge.
before the Court is Defendant Michael Morgan Oghigian's
Motion to Dismiss or Motion for More Definite Statement.
(Doc. 72). For the following reasons, the Court denies the
American Bank of the North (“ABON”), owns eighty
acres of property in Mohave County, Arizona. (Doc. 52, p. 2).
Michael Mouilso, Chris Sullivan, and Michael
Oghigian pooled their money to make on offer to
purchase ABON's land for $120, 000. ABON did not sign the
contract. ABON received a second offer from Star Golden
Enterprises, LLC (“Star”) at a price of $200,
000. ABON made a counteroffer of $230, 000 and Star accepted.
The Complaint alleges that Mouilso, Sullivan, and Oghigian
learned of the signed contract with Star and conspired to
hinder and delay the closing of the contract. Id. at
p. 4. Mouilso, Sullivan, and Oghigian filed a complaint in
the Mohave County Superior Court seeking $10, 000, 000 in
damages; they also recorded a notice of Lis Pendens, clouding
title to the property. Id. ABON and Star's
contract was not finalized, because ABON could not deliver
good title to the property. ABON filed the present suit,
alleging intentional interference with contractual relations,
civil conspiracy, wrongful lis pendens, and aiding and
abetting intentional tort. Id. at pp. 8-12.
Defendant Michael Oghigian moves to dismiss the claims or, in
the alternative, for a more definite statement.
Motion to Dismiss
Rule 12(b)(6) motion tests the legal sufficiency of a
claim.” Navarro v. Block, 25 F.3d 729, 732
(9th Cir. 2001). To survive dismissal for failure to state a
claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain
more than “labels and conclusions” or a
“formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007). A plaintiff must allege sufficient facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (1937)
(“A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged. The plausibility standard is not akin to
a ‘probability requirement, ' but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.”). In deciding a Rule 12(b0(6) motion, a
court must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as
true, in addition to all reasonable inferences that can be
drawn from them. Id.
threshold matter, in considering a 12(b)(6) motion, a
district court only reviews the material submitted as part of
the complaint. Hal Roach Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner
& Co., Inc., 896 F.2d 1542, 1555 n. 19 (9th Cir.
1990). The Court, therefore, will not consider the affidavits
and emails attached to Mr. Oghigian's motion; nor will
the Court consider the additional documents attached to the
Plaintiff's Response. Mr. Oghigian states that he has
“nothing to do with this case other than being the
brother of one of the original defendants” in the state
court case. (Doc. 72, p. 1). He asserts that he “did
not invest in this particular purchase or commit any money to
this purchase” and that he only “acted as a
mediator in an attempt to resolve the issues that arose from
the original transaction.” Id. at p. 2. Mr.
Oghigian's Motion is based on factual assertions that
contradict the facts alleged in Plaintiff's Complaint.
But, factual disputes are not resolved in a motion to
dismiss. The Court must accept the veracity of the factual
allegations in the Complaint on a motion to dismiss. Mr.
Oghigian makes no argument that the Complaint does not state
a claim; he simply disagrees with the claims made against
him. The Court denies the Motion to Dismiss.
Motion for a More Definite Statement
of the complaint does not constitute grounds for dismissal.
Bowles v. Glick Bros. Lumber Co., 146 F.2d 566, 568
(9th Cir. 1945). But, if “a defendant needs additional
information to enable him to answer or prepare for trial the
procedure provided by the Federal Rules is a motion for a
more definite statement.” Id. Under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(e), if “a complaint is
‘so vague or ambiguous that a party cannot reasonably
be required to frame a responsive pleading, ' the
defendant may move for an order requiring a more definite
statement by pointing out ‘the defects complained of
and the details desired.” Bautista v. County of
L.A., 216 F.3d 837, 843 n.1 (9th Cir. 2000). A motion
for a more definite statement is “ordinarily restricted
to situations where a pleading suffers from unintelligibility
rather than want of detail.” Castillo v.
Norton, 219 F.R.D. 155, 163 (D. Ariz. 2003) (quoting
Sheffield v. Orius Corp., 211 F.R.D. 411, 414- 15
(D. Or. 2002). It is “not to be used to assist in
getting facts in preparation for trial as such; other rules
relating to discovery, interrogatories and the like exist for
such purposes.” Castillo, 219 F.R.D. at 163
(quoting Sheffield, 211 F.R.D. at 415).
Oghigian moves for a more definite statement, writing:
“How did I conspire with anybody? How did I interfere
with a contract that the BANK refused to complete? Why would
I interfere? What's my motivation?” (Doc. 72, p.
5). The Complaint is not so vague or ambiguous that Mr.
Oghigian cannot frame a responsive pleading. The Complaint is
intelligible, and the causes of action are clear. Mr.
Oghigian may dispute the facts in the Complaint and the
inferences that the Plaintiff is making from the facts. The
Court, therefore, denies the motion.
Oghigian asserts that he never interfered with a contract and
was only involved to act as a mediator between the parties.
These arguments, however, are not properly raised in a motion
to dismiss. Mr. Oghigian's factual disputes must be
developed through discovery and later dispositive motions,
not a motion to dismiss.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Motion to Dismiss or
Motion for a More Definite Statement of Defendant Michael