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A court may dismiss a complaint only if it is clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations.
Dingxi Longhai Dairy ("Dingxi") agreed to ship 612 metric tons of Inulin, a dietary fiber extract, to Becwood Technology Group ("Becwood"), a Minnesota distributor. The contract called for four shipments from the port of Tianjin-Xingang, China, to Londonderry, New Hampshire. Becwood received the first two shipments, paid for one, and refused to pay for the second because of mold on the exterior of the packaging. Dingxi recalled the third and fourth shipments before they reached their destination and sued Becwood for breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation. The district court granted Becwood's Rule 12(b)(6) motion and dismissed Dingxi's claims relating to shipments three and four. Nearly two years later, the district court entered a final order granting Dingxi summary judgment on its breach-of-contract claim for shipment two.
Was the dismissal of the case proper?
Dingxi's complaint stated a breach-of-contract claim -- performance of its contractual duty to deliver and the buyer's refusal to pay. A fact outside the pleading became part of the Rule 12 record, apparently without objection -- that Dingxi recalled shipments three and four before they reached the buyer. That fact will likely preclude recovery of the full contract price. But if Dingxi proves that Becwood breached the contract as to shipments three and four, it is almost certain to be entitled to some monetary relief. Accordingly, the district court erred in granting Becwood's Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.