Legal Memorandum: Rule 12(c) Motions

Issue: What is the standard of review for a Fed R. Civ. P. 12(c) motion?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Motion; Judgment on the pleadings; Standard of review
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 585 F.3d 1119
Cited Statutes: Fed R. Civ. P. 12(c); Fed R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)
Date: 08/01/2012

Fed R. Civ. P. 12(c) provides that after the pleadings are closed, a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.  A motion under the Rule is determined by the same standards that are applied to a motion under Rule 12(b)(6).  Ginsburg v. InBev NV/SA, 623 F.3d 1229, 1233 n.3 (8th Cir. 2010).  A complaint will survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) when it “contain[s] sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”  Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombley, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).  “A grant of judgment on the pleadings is appropriate where no material issue of fact remains to be resolved and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”  Clemons v. Crawford, 585 F.3d 1119, 1124 (8th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and quoted case omitted).

“Well-pleaded facts, not legal theories or conclusions, determine the adequacy of the complaint.”  Id.  The court must “accept as true all factual allegations set out in the complaint” and “construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, drawing all inferences in its favor.”  Ashley County Ark. v. Pfizer, Inc., 552 F.3d 659, 665 (8th Cir. 2009).  “A plaintiff need only allege facts that permit the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable, even if the complaint ‘strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of the facts alleged is improbable’ and recovery ‘very remote and unlikely.”  Braden […]