Submitted on Briefs: August 14, 2019
FROM: District Court of the First Judicial District, In and
For the County of Lewis and Clark, Cause No. BDV-2018-1211
Honorable Michael F. McMahon, Presiding Judge
Appellant: Wayne Ralph John Nowacki, Self-Represented,
Appellees: Scott Peterson, Morrison Sherwood Wilson &
Deola, PLLP, Helena, Montana
Pursuant to Section I, Paragraph 3(c), Montana Supreme Court
Internal Operating Rules, this case is decided by memorandum
opinion and shall not be cited and does not serve as
precedent. Its case title, cause number, and disposition
shall be included in this Court's quarterly list of
noncitable cases published in the Pacific Reporter and
Wayne Nowacki appeals an order of the First Judicial District
Court, Lewis and Clark County, granting Matt Schmechel and
Sean Graves's (together, Defendants) motion to dismiss.
This case arises from Mr. Nowacki's previous employment
at the Windbag Saloon & Grill (Windbag) in Helena,
Montana. Mr. Nowacki's District Court complaint contained
several factual allegations which occurred during his tenure
as a Windbag dishwasher, including, among other things: (1)
that the last four digits of his social security number were
visible to other employees and the public at-large; (2) that
he faced questions from another employee about private
matters; and (3) that other employees would not let him do
his job. The complaint did not mention either named Defendant
and contained no facts linking either Defendant, through
vicarious liability or otherwise, to any alleged wrongdoing.
Furthermore, the complaint contained only one prayer for
relief-lost wages-but failed to include factual allegations
connecting the relief sought to the complained-of wrongdoing.
The Defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state
a claim pursuant to M. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). The District
Court granted the Defendants' motion and dismissed Mr.
Nowacki's complaint with prejudice because it contained
"no alleged facts showing a connection between any
claimed wrongdoing and compensation for [his] lost
wages." We affirm the District Court's decision to
dismiss Mr. Nowacki's complaint.
A district court's determination under M. R. Civ. P.
12(b)(6) that a complaint fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted operates as a conclusion of law.
Brewington v. Emp'rs Fire Ins. Co., 1999 MT 312,
¶ 11, 297 Mont. 243, 992 P.2d 237 (citing Trankel v.
State, 282 Mont. 348, 351, 938 P.2d 614, 616 (1997)). We
review a district court's conclusions of law to determine
whether the trial judge's interpretation of the law is
correct. Brewington, ¶ 11 (citing
Trankel, 282 Mont. at 351, 938 P.2d at 616).
The issue raised on appeal is whether the District Court
correctly granted the Defendants' motion to dismiss.
"A motion to dismiss under [M. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)] has
the effect of admitting all well-pleaded allegations in the
complaint. In considering the motion, the complaint is
construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and
all allegations of fact contained therein are taken as
true." Brewington, ¶ 11 (quoting
Lockwood v. W.R. Grace & Co., 272 Mont. 202,
207, 900 P.2d 314, 317 (1995)). "A claim is subject to
dismissal only if it either fails to state a cognizable legal
theory for relief or states an otherwise valid legal claim
but fails to state sufficient facts that, if true, would
entitle the claimant to relief under that claim."
Puryer v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., 2018 MT 124, ¶
12, 391 Mont. 361, 419 P.3d 105 (citing Anderson v.
ReconTrust Co., N.A., 2017 MT 313, ¶ 8, 390 Mont.
12, 407 P.3d 692). "The liberal notice pleading
requirements of M. R. Civ. P. 8(a) and 12(b)(6) do 'not
go so far to excuse omission of that which is material and
necessary in order to entitle relief,' and the
'complaint must state something more than facts which, at
most, would breed only a suspicion' that the claimant may
be entitled to relief." Puryer, ¶ 12
(quoting Jones v. Mont. Univ. Sys., 2007 MT 82,
¶ 42, 337 Mont. 1, 155 P.3d 1247). "This Court will
look only within the four corners of the complaint" when
reviewing a district court's decision to grant a motion
to dismiss under M. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Stufft v.
Stufft, 276 Mont. 310, 313, 916 P.2d 104, 106 (1996)
(citing Irving v. Sch. Dist. No. 1-1A, 248 Mont.
460, 464, 813 P.2d 417, 419 (1991)).
Here, Mr. Nowacki's complaint lacks any reference to
either named Defendant and fails to include within the four
corners any allegations that the Defendants caused Mr.
Nowacki harm. Likewise, Mr. Nowacki's complaint is
facially devoid of any cognizable legal theory and fails to
establish a causal connection between the harm alleged and
his only prayed-for relief: damages for lost wages in the
amount of $31, 001, 100.
The District Court properly granted the Defendants'
motion to dismiss, because Mr. Nowacki failed to state a
claim and allege facts upon which relief could be granted. M.
R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Mr. Nowacki alleges no facts showing a
connection between any claimed wrongdoing and compensation
for lost wages. For the foregoing reasons, we affirm the
District Court's grant of the motion to dismiss.
We have determined to decide this case pursuant to Section I,
Paragraph 3(c) of our Internal Operating Rules, which
provides for memorandum opinions. This appeal presents no
constitutional issues, no issues of first impression, ...