United States District Court, D. Montana, Missoula Division
L. Christensen, Chief Judge.
the Court is the motion to dismiss of Defendant Mary Kay Inc.
("Mary Kay"). For the reasons given below, the Court
grants the motion.
a motion to dismiss, material allegations of the complaint
are taken as admitted, and the complaint is to be liberally
construed in favor of the plaintiff." Kennedy v.
H& MLanding, Inc., 529 F.2d 987, 989 (9th Cir.
December 12, 2009, Launa Benson, drove into a busy street in
Missoula, Montana, failing to notice that she was on a
collision course with a vehicle driven by Plaintiff Christina
Tempel. Tempel suffered injuries as a result of the accident.
Benson's vehicle was owned by Defendant Mary Kay and
insured through Defendant ACE American Insurance Co.
("ACE"). Mary Kay's policy with ACE contains
either a high deductible or a self-insured
the accident, Tempel sought recovery from Benson, including
advance payment of her medical claims. Mary Kay and ACE
handled her claim. They initially denied her request for
advance payment of medical expenses, but "eventually
randomly paid some expenses while ignoring other medical
expenses." (Doc. 43 at 4.) On August 2, 2012, Tempel
sued Benson in the Montana Fourth Judicial District Court,
Missoula County. The case proceeded to jury trial, and Tempel
received a verdict, recovering $268, 435.94. Judgment was
entered on October 2, 2013.
Kay raises three theories in support of her argument for
dismissal: (1) that Tempel failed to allege that Mary Kay was
an insurer such that she may bring a bad faith claim against
Mary Kay; (2) that Tempel's claims are barred by the
relevant statutes of limitations; and (3) that Tempel's
common-law bad faith claim is barred by res judicata. The
Court disagrees with Mary Kay regarding the first theory.
However, the second theory is determinative because
Tempel's claims were not timely filed. Finding that
dismissal is warranted because Tempel's claims are
time-barred, the Court does not address the issue of res
threshold issue, the Court must determine whether to consider
documents filed by Mary Kay. The Court's role in ruling
on a 12(b)(6) motion is generally limited by the allegations
within the Complaint. Where an affirmative defense arises
from the complaint, though, it is appropriate for the Court
to determine whether the defense operates to bar the claim.
"[A] statute-of-limitations defense, if apparent from
the face of the complaint, may properly be raised in a motion
to dismiss." Seven Arts Filmed Entm 't Ltd. v.
Content Media Corp. 733 F.3d 1241, 1254 (9th Cir. 2013)
(citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
Kay asks the Court to consider various documents from the
state court proceeding. Because it is ruling on Mary
Kay's 12(b)(6) motion, the Court is largely confined to
the four corners of the Complaint. Lee v. City of Los
Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 688 (9th Cir. 2001).
"However, a court may take judicial notice of matters of
public record without converting a motion to dismiss into a
motion for summary judgment, as long as the facts noticed are
not subject to reasonable dispute." Intri-Plex
Techs., Inc. v. Crest Grp., 499 F.3d 1048, 1052 (9th
Cir. 2007) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).
Tempel's claims arise from Mary Kay's actions leading
up to and throughout the state court litigation. The
Complaint itself does not include all of the information
relevant to Mary Kay's statute of limitations and res
judicata defenses. For example, although the Complaint
mentions trial, it does not include trial dates. Nor does the
Complaint describe the substance of Tempel's state court
claims. Documents from the state court proceeding are
therefore relevant. The state court proceedings are
"matters of public record, " and their authenticity
is undisputed. Thus, it is appropriate for the Court to take
judicial notice of these documents.
Mary Kay as Insurer
Kay argues that Tempel has no statutory or common-law bad
faith claim against it because she has failed to allege that
Mary Kay was an insurer. Following Mary Kay's motion to
dismiss and with permission of the Court, Tempel filed her
Third Amended Complaint. The Complaint has now corrected the
alleged deficiency in ...