Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings Law & Legal Definition


Motion for judgment on the pleadings is a party’s request to the court to rule in his/her favor based on the pleadings on file, without accepting evidence, as when the outcome of the case rests on the court's interpretation of the law.

A function of a motion for judgment on the pleadings is to dispose of baseless claims or defenses when the formal pleadings reveal their lack of merit. A motion for judgment on the pleadings is the proper procedure when all of the material allegations of fact are admitted in the pleadings and only questions of law remain. When the pleadings do not resolve all factual issues, judgment on the pleadings is generally inappropriate. [Ragsdale v. Kennedy, 286 N.C. 130, 209 S.E.2d 494 (1974)]

The following is an example of a state statute (North Carolina) on motion for judgment on the pleadings:

In North Carolina Rule 12 (c) of the Rules of Civil Procedure deals with motion for judgment on pleadings. Rule 12(c) of the Rules of Civil Procedure reads as follows:

"Motion for judgment on the pleadings. After the pleadings are closed but within such time as not to delay the trial, any party may move for judgment on the pleadings. If, on a motion for judgment on the pleadings, matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion shall be treated as one for summary judgment and disposed of as provided in Rule 56, and all parties shall be given reasonable opportunity to present all material made pertinent to such a motion by Rule 56."