THE SUPREME COURT OF THE
FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
Cite as Latte Motors, Inc. v. Hainrick,
7 FSM Intrm. 190 (Pohnpei 1995)
LATTE MOTORS, INC.,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 1995-046
ORDER AND MEMORANDUM OF DECISION
Andon L. Amaraich
Decided: July 5, 1995
For the Plaintiff: Michael White, Esq.
White, Pierce, Mailman & Nutting
P.O. Box 5222
Saipan, CM 96950
For the Defendants: Kosaksy Phillip, Trial Counselor
Micronesian Legal Services Corporation
P.O. Box 129
Kolonia, Pohnpei FM 96941
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Civil Procedure ) Dismissal
A court evaluates a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss only on whether a plaintiff's claim has been adequately stated in the complaint, and does not resolve the facts or merits of the case. A court's review is limited to the complaint's contents and the court must assume the facts alleged therein are true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Dismissal can only be granted if it appears to a certainty that no relief could be granted under any facts which could be proven in support of the complaint. Latte Motors, Inc. v. Hainrick, 7 FSM Intrm. 190, 192 (Pon. 1995).
Civil Procedure ) Dismissal
Averment of a foreign judgment states a claim upon which relief could be granted. Allegations that the foreign judgment was obtained without notice are outside the complaint and cannot be considered in evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Latte Motors, Inc. v. Hainrick, 7 FSM Intrm. 190, 192 (Pon. 1995).
Civil Procedure ) Dismissal; Civil Procedure ) Summary Judgment
When a party in support of or in opposition to a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss submits matters outside of the pleadings a court has complete discretion to exclude those matters from consideration or to accept those matters and treat the motion as one for summary judgment. Latte Motors, Inc. v. Hainrick, 7 FSM Intrm. 190, 192 (Pon. 1995).
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ANDON L. AMARAICH, Chief Justice:
Introduction and Facts
On April 11, 1994, Plaintiff Latte Motors, Inc. filed the complaint in this action. The complaint seeks to have this Court domesticate a foreign judgment rendered against Defendant Justy Hainrick so that the foreign judgment can be enforced against defendant in the Federated States of Micronesia.
Plaintiff's concise one and a half page complaint makes only four allegations in support of its claim. First, plaintiff alleges that the parties are of diverse citizenship, and, accordingly, that this Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to article XI, section 6(b) of the FSM Constitution. Second, plaintiff alleges that on November 7, 1987, the trial division of the Court of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands ("CNMI") entered a judgment against defendant for the sum of $4,817.46, plus interest at a rate of 9% per annum from the date of judgment. Third, plaintiff alleges that defendant still owes $4,267.46 plus interest on the CNMI judgment, and, fourth, that plaintiff is entitled to have the judgment of the CNMI Court reduced to a judgment of this Court.
On April 26, 1995, defendant filed a FSM Civil Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state
a claim upon which relief could be granted. As the principal support for his motion to dismiss, defendant asserts that he is unaware of the CNMI Court ever having entered judgment against him and that he never received service of process in the CNMI action.
Standard for FSM Civil Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss
A FSM Civil Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss requires the Court to evaluate whether a plaintiff's claim has been adequately stated in the complaint. 5A Charles A. Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1356, at 294 (1990). A 12(b)(6) motion is not a mechanism through which the facts or merits of a case are resolved. Id.
In evaluating the merits of a 12(b)(6) motion, the Court's review is limited to the contents of the complaint. 5A Wright & Miller, supra, § 1356, at 298. The Court must assume that the facts alleged in the complaint are true, and the facts and inferences drawn from the complaint must be viewed by the Court in the light most favorable to party opposing the motion to dismiss. Mailo v. Twum-Barimah, 2 FSM Intrm. 265, 267 (Pon. 1986). The Court may grant a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss only if it appears to a certainty that no relief could be granted under any state of facts which could be proven in support of the complaint. Faw v. FSM, 6 FSM Intrm. 33, 37 (Yap 1993).
Taking all of the allegations of plaintiff's complaint to be true, as the Court must, plaintiff's complaint states a cause of action against defendant. The complaint purports to establish the identity of the plaintiff and defendant, the jurisdiction of this Court over this matter, the existence of a foreign judgment against defendant, and the non-payment of that judgment by defendant. Having established the identity of the parties and the jurisdiction of this Court, the averment of a foreign judgment against defendant establishes a claim upon which relief could be granted. This Court, under the proper circumstances, will adopt and enforce a foreign judgment in the FSM. J.C. Tenorio Enterprises, Inc. v. Sado, 6 FSM Intrm. 430, 432 (Pon. 1994) (recognizing that foreign judgments may be enforced by this Court). Based upon the allegations in plaintiff's complaint, and without evaluating the merits of plaintiff's claim, the Court finds that plaintiff has alleged sufficient facts, which if true, could result in a judgment for plaintiff, and, accordingly, defendant's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim must be denied.
In support of its motion to dismiss, plaintiff argues that he never received service of process and that he had no knowledge of the CNMI action, and, thus, the CNMI judgment may not be enforced against him. These allegations constitute matters outside of the pleadings and, as noted above, may not be considered by the Court in evaluating the merits of a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. When either party, in support or in opposition to a 12(b)(6) motion, submits matters to the Court outside of the pleadings, the Court has two options. The Court either may accept those outside matters and treat the motion as one for summary judgment pursuant to FSM Civil Rule 56 or exclude those matters and continue to treat the motion as one for dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. FSM Civ. R. 12(b). At this very early stage of the proceedings, the Court will not convert defendant's motion into one for summary judgment, and, accordingly, the Court will not consider defendant's claims of lack of notice in ruling upon defendant's motion to dismiss. 5A Wright & Miller, supra, § 1366, at 491 (recognizing that the Court has complete discretion in deciding whether to accept materials outside of the pleadings which are submitted in conjunction with a 12(b)(6) motion).
Accordingly, it is hereby ordered that defendant's motion to dismiss is denied.