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McLain v. McLain
United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division
February 22, 2017
FAITH MCLAIN, CHRISTEEN MCLAIN, JOHN MCLAIN, MOLLY MCLAIN, MIRA MCLAIN, AND MATTHEW MCLAIN, AS BENEFICIARIES OF THE ESTATE OF BERNARD MCLAIN, AND MARY MCLAIN, INDIVIDUALLY AS BENEFICIARY OF THE ESTATE OF BERNARD MCLAIN AND AS TRUSTEE OF THE E-3 RANCH TRUST, Plaintiffs,
FRANCIS MCLAIN, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS CO-MANAGER OF TERA BANI RETREAT MINISTRIES, CAROLINE MCLAIN, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS MANAGING DIRECTOR OF TERA BANI RETREAT MINISTRIES, ALAKHI JOY MCLAIN, SOHNJA MAY MCLAIN, AND DANE SEHAJ MCLAIN, AS PURPORTED CERTIFICATE HOLDERS OF THE E-3 RANCH TRUST, Defendants. THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Intervenor Defendant and Counter/Cross Claimant,
FAITH MCLAIN, CHRISTEEN MCLAIN, JOHN MCLAIN, MOLLY MCLAIN, MIRA MCLAIN, AND MATTHEW MCLAIN, as Beneficiaries of THE ESTATE OF BERNARD MCLAIN; and MARY MCLAIN, as Beneficiary of the ESTATE OF BERNARD MCLAIN, and as Trustee of the E-3 RANCH TRUST, Counterclaim Defendants, and FRANCIS MCLAIN, Individually, and as Co-Manager of TERA BANI RETREAT MINISTRIES; CAROLINE MCLAIN, Individually, and as Managing Director of TERA BANI RETREAT MINISTRIES; and ALAKHI JOY MCLAIN, SOHNJA MAY MCLAIN, AND DANE SEHAJ MCLAIN, as Beneficiaries of the E-3 RANCH TRUST, Crossclaim Defendants, and AMERICAN BANK OF MONTANA, Additional Defendant on United States' Claims
P. Watters United States District Court Judge
8, 2014, the McLain Plaintiffs brought this declaratory
judgment action in Montana state court against the McLain
Defendants. On March 11, 2016, the state court granted the
United States' Motion to Intervene. (Doc. 1-3). On April
8, 2016, the United States removed the case to federal court,
invoking this Court's jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §
1441. (Doc. 1).
principal issue in this case is the ownership of a ranch
located in the Paradise Valley known as the E-3 Ranch. The
McLain Plaintiffs and McLain Defendants filed cross-motions
for summary judgment concerning whether one family member
owns the ranch through adverse possession. (Docs. 23 and 30).
The McLain Defendants also filed a motion to dismiss the
United States' Intervenor Complaint. (Doc. 23).
October 24, 2016, United States Magistrate Judge Carolyn
Ostby issued her Findings and Recommendations recommending
that this Court deny the cross-motions for summary judgment
and deny the motion to dismiss. (Doc. 67). The McLain
Defendants timely filed Objections to the Findings and
Recommendations. (Doc. 69).
Statement of facts
McLain Defendants do not object to the factual history
contained in the Background section of Judge Ostby's
Findings and Recommendations. Judge Ostby's Background
section is therefore adopted in full.
Applicable law A. Standard of
district court reviews de novo any part of a Magistrate
Judge's Findings and Recommendations to which there has
been proper objections. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1);
Summary judgment standard
court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A party seeking summary judgment always
bears the initial responsibility of informing the court of
the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of
the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue
of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 323 (1986).
facts are those which may affect the outcome of the case.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). A dispute as to a material fact is genuine if there
is sufficient evidence for a reasonable fact-finder to return
a verdict for the nonmoving party. Anderson, 477
U.S. at 248. If the moving party meets its initial
responsibility, the burden then shifts to the opposing party
to establish that a genuine issue of fact exists.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986).
Motion to dismiss standard
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is governed by
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is
proper only when the complaint either (1) lacks a cognizable
legal theory or (2) fails to allege sufficient facts to
support a cognizable legal theory. Zixiang Li v.
Kerry, 710 F.3d 995, 999 (9th Cir. 2013). To survive a
motion to dismiss, "a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face."' Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell
Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the
pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.