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Gray v. First Century Bank

February 29, 2008

WILLIAM GRAY, PEGGY GRAY, GREGORY HOUSTON, AND PATRICIA NICELY, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
FIRST CENTURY BANK, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Varlan/guyton

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This civil action is before the Court on Defendant First Century Bank's (the "Bank") Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment. [Doc. 275.] Plaintiffs William and Peggy Gray (the "Grays"), Gregory Houston ("Houston"), and Patricia Nicely ("Nicely") (hereinafter collectively referred to as "the Plaintiffs") have filed a response brief [Doc. 287] and supplemental brief [Doc. 294] in opposition to the Bank's motion. The Bank has filed a supplemental reply brief. [Doc. 295.] The motion is now ripe for determination.

The Court has carefully reviewed the pending motion and responsive pleadings in light of the applicable law. For the reasons set forth herein, the Bank's motion to dismiss or for summary judgment will be granted.

I. RELEVANT FACTS

Due to the complicated and extensive factual background in this case, the Court incorporates its previous factual discussions to provide general background in this case. [Docs. 42, 54, 169, 270.] For the specific claims at issue, there are a unique set of facts as to each plaintiff, so the Court will discuss relevant facts in the analysis for each of the relevant plaintiffs.

II. ANALYSIS

A. Standard of Review

1. Rule 12(b)(6)

A party may move to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). In determining whether to grant a motion to dismiss, all well-pleaded allegations must be taken as true and be construed most favorably toward the non-movant. Trzebuckowski v. City of Cleveland, 319 F.3d 853, 855 (6th Cir. 2003). While a court may not grant a Rule 12(b)(6) motion based on disbelief of a complaint's factual allegations, Lawler v. Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196, 1199 (6th Cir. 1990), the court "need not accept as true legal conclusions or unwarranted factual inferences." Morgan v. Church's Fried Chicken, 829 F.2d 10, 12 (6th Cir. 1987). The Sixth Circuit has made it clear that despite the liberal system of notice pleading, conclusory allegations are not enough to survive Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal. See MacDermid v. Discover Fin. Servs, 488 F.3d 721, 733 (6th Cir. 2007). The issue is not whether the plaintiff will prevail, but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support his or her claim. Miller v. Currie, 50 F.3d 373, 377 (6th Cir. 1995). Consequently, a complaint will not be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) unless there is no law to support the claims made, the facts alleged are insufficient to state a claim, or there is an insurmountable bar on the face of the complaint.

2. Rule 56(c)

Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c), summary judgment is proper if "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." The moving party bears the burden of establishing that there is no genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 330 n.2 (1986). The court must view the facts and all inferences to be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd., v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); Burchett v. Kiefer, 310 F.3d 937, 942 (6th Cir. 2002). To establish a genuine issue as to the existence of a particular element, the non-moving party must point to evidence in the record upon which a reasonable jury could find in its favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The genuine issue must also be material; that is, it must involve facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Id.

The judge's function at the point of summary judgment is limited to determining whether sufficient evidence has been presented to make the issue of fact a proper jury question. Id. at 249. The judge does not weigh the evidence, judge the credibility of witnesses, nor determine the truth of the matter. Id. Thus, "[t]he inquiry performed is the threshold inquiry of determining whether there is the need for trial - whether, in other words, there are any genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party." Id. at 250.

The Sixth Circuit has held that "under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b), before the district court may treat a motion to dismiss as a summary judgment motion, it must give 'all parties . . . reasonable opportunity to present all material made pertinent to' the issue." Ball v. Union Carbide Corp., 385 F.3d 713, 719 (6th Cir. 2004). In the present case, the Bank notified Plaintiffs that the present motion was a "motion to dismiss or for summary judgment." [Doc. 275.] Furthermore, Plaintiffs responded to the Bank's summary judgment arguments and presented materials outside of the pleadings to support those arguments. ...


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