What Is The Standard Of Review For A Motion To Dismiss In The United States District Courts In The Fourth Circuit?

Frequently, when a Plaintiff files a Complaint, a Defendant will respond with a Motion to Dismiss, instead of an Answer.  Essentially, the Motion to Dismiss says that even if everything stated in the Complaint is true, it still does not state a legally cognizable claim.  Or in other words, the Defendant is saying that “even if everything you say is true, it’s just a nothing-burger.”

To survive a motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain facts sufficient to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl., Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009).

In considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must accept all well-pled allegations in a complaint as true. Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 268 (1994). The court must construe all factual allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Harrison v. Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 176 F.3d 776, 783 (4th Cir. 1999) (citing Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993)).

A court may consider documents that are “explicitly incorporated into the complaint by reference and those attached to the complaint as exhibits….” Goines v. Valley Cmty. Servs. Bd., 822 F.3d 159, 166 (4th Cir. 2016).