Legal Memorandum: Motion for No Cause of Action and Burden

Issue: Which party bears the burden in a motion for no cause of action?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: No cause of action; Burden; Moving party
Jurisdiction: Louisiana
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: La. Civ. Code Proc. Art. 931; La. Civ. Code Proc. Art. 934
Date: 12/01/2013

“No evidence may be introduced at any time to support or controvert the objection that the petition fails to state a cause of action.”  La. Civ. Code Proc. Art. 931.  However, “[a]verments which only deny allegations of the petition, in effect raising defenses to the action which will require evidence for support, do not constitute grounds for maintaining an exception of no cause of action.”  Richards v. New England Ins. Co., 488 So. 2d 1247, 1247 (La. Ct. App. 4 Cir. 1991).  See Wonycott v. Wonycott, 579 So. 2d 506, 508 (La. Ct. App. 4 Cir. 1991) (“Contrary factual assertions are considered defenses which must be tried on the merits.”)

The burden of demonstrating that the petition states no cause of action is on the moving party.  See City of New Orleans v. Board of Comm’rs of Orleans Levee Dist., 640 So. 2d 237, 253 (La. 1994).  No evidence may be introduced to support or controvert an exception of no cause of action.  La. Civ. Code Proc. Art. 931.  Consequently, this Court must review the petition and accept Plaintiff’s well-pleaded allegations as true.  Jackson v. State Dept. of Corrections, 785 So. 2d 803, 806 (La. 2001). The only relevant issue is whether, in the light most favorable to Plaintiff and with every doubt resolved in Plaintiff’s behalf, the facts of the Petitions state any valid cause of action for relief.  Id.  If not, a Court must allow the plaintiff a reasonable opportunity to amend its petition to remove […]

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