McMaster v. United States, No. 11-17489 (9th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit under the Quiet Title Act (QTA), 28 U.S.C. 2409a; Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 500 et seq.; and Declaratory Judgment Act (DJA), 28 U.S.C. 2201-02, seeking to quiet fee-simple title to the Oro Grande mining claim and its improvements. The court held that the district court did not err in dismissing plaintiff's claims under Rule 12(b)(6); with regard to plaintiff's first QTA claim, the court concluded that the Solicitor's Opinion was entitled to at least Skidmore deference, and, thus, plaintiff did not have a "valid existing right" to a fee-simple patent on its Oro Grande mining claim; with regard to plaintiff's second QTA claim, plaintiff did not plead with particularity the circumstances under which its title to the structures was acquired; and since the QTA was the exclusive means for challenging the United States' title to real property, the court concluded that the district court also properly dismissed plaintiff's APA and DJA claims.