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Marques v. Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

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Brief Fact Summary.

Plaintiffs filed a motion for voluntary dismissal under Rule 41(a)(1) after filing a lawsuit concerning fake bearer bonds. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) on the same day.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A plaintiff has an absolute right to voluntary dismissal under Rule 41(a)(1) unless the defendant can prove they filed an answer or sought judgment on the merits first.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

But one doesn't need a good reason, or even a sane or any reason, to dismiss a suit voluntarily.

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Facts.

Agents for the owners of $25 billion in fake bearer bonds (Plaintiffs) sued the Federal Reverse Bank of Chicago, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the federal reserve bank shareholders (Defendants), seeking to redeem the bonds, which were issued in 1934, for nearly $100 billion. The Plaintiffs moved for voluntary dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1). On the same day, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).

Issue.

Should the Plaintiffs’ motion for voluntary dismissal be granted, because the Defendants did not prove they filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion first?

Held.

Yes. The District Court’s judgment is reversed and the suit is voluntarily dismissed without prejudice under Rule 41(a)(1).

Discussion.

The Court determined that the Defendant had the burden of proving their Rule 12(b)(6) motion was brought first and that the Defendant did not meet this burden. Thus, the Plaintiffs’ motion for voluntary dismissal under Rule 41(a)(1) had to be granted.


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