Motion for judgment on the pleadings in California

A motion for judgment on the pleadings in California is the topic of this blog post.

A motion for judgment on the pleadings in California may be filed by either a plaintiff or a defendant.

A motion for judgment on the pleadings is analogous to a general demurrer but one of the advantages of filing a motion for judgment on the pleadings in California is that it can be filed even after the time for filing a demurrer has expired.  Except as provided by California law or statute, the rules governing demurrers apply.  It should be noted however that a motion for judgment on the pleadings may not be made on the grounds of uncertainty or any other ground for a special demurrer.

Statutory motion for judgment on the pleadings in California.

A statutory motion for judgment on the pleadings in California is authorized by the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure § 438 which states in pertinent part that,

“(b) (1) A party may move for judgment on the pleadings.

(2) The court may upon its own motion grant a motion for judgment on the pleadings.

(c) (1) The motion provided for in this section may only be made on one of the following grounds:

(A) If the moving party is a plaintiff, that the complaint states facts sufficient to constitute a cause or causes of action against the defendant and the answer does not state facts sufficient to constitute a defense to the complaint.

(B) If the moving party is a defendant, that either of the following conditions exist:

(i) The court has no jurisdiction of the subject of the cause of action alleged in the complaint.

(ii) The complaint does not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action against that defendant.

(2) The motion provided for in this section may be made as to either of the following:

(A) The entire complaint or cross-complaint or as to any of the causes of action stated therein.

(B) The entire answer or one or more of the affirmative defenses set forth in the answer.”

Advantage of filing a motion for judgment on the pleadings in California.

A major advantage of filing a motion for judgment on the pleadings is that you are not required to meet and confer with the opposing counsel or party before filing unlike a demurrer which has a meet and confer requirement since January 1, 2016 under the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure § 430.41

If you are a plaintiff and the defendant has filed an answer that consists either entirely or mainly of what are known as generic “boilerplate” affirmative defenses that lack any specific details to support the defenses a motion for judgment on the pleadings may be filed.

If you are a defendant in California and you have been served with a complaint that contains causes of action which fail to allege each and every element required to state that particular cause of action, then filing a motion for judgment on the pleadings may be filed, assuming that the time for you to file a demurrer has already expired.

Deadline for filing a statutory motion for judgment on the pleadings in California.

It should be noted that there is a deadline for filing a statutory motion for judgment on the pleadings in California pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure § 438(e) which states that, “No motion may be made pursuant to this section if a pretrial conference order has been entered pursuant to Section 575, or within 30 days of the date the action is initially set for trial, whichever is later, unless the court otherwise permits.”

Note that the Judge has discretion to permit a statutory motion for judgment on the pleadings in California to be filed even after the deadline.

Common law motion for judgment on the pleadings in California.

And there is also what is known as a common law motion for judgment on the pleadings as despite the deadline specified in California Code of Civil Procedure § 438(e), and even though that statute was enacted in 1994, several California Courts of Appeal have stated in published decisions that a motion for judgment on the pleadings may be made at any time prior to the trial, or at the trial itself.

Another argument that can be made to support a common law motion for judgment on the pleadings in California is the fact that the law in California is clear that the grounds for a general demurrer are never waived.   See California Code of Civil Procedure § 430.80.

One issue that must be considered is the fact that some judges in California will enforce a strict interpretation of the law and may deny a motion for judgment on the pleadings in California that is not filed within the time limits specified in California Code of Civil Procedure § 438(e).

An experienced civil litigation attorney can evaluate your situation and determine if you have sufficient grounds for filing a motion for judgment on the pleadings in California.   Contact attorney Nathan Mubasher for a free consultation and evaluation of your case.

Schedule a free consultation today with attorney Nathan Mubasher.

Call (800) 691-2721 and let’s talk about your options.

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR NATHAN MUBASHER:

Law Offices of Nathan Mubasher
2621 Green River Rd, Ste 105 PMB 403
Corona, CA 92882
tel 1-800-691-2721 | fax 1-310-356-3660
www.mubasherlaw.com

DISCLAIMER:

Thank you for reading. I hope I could have been educational as I endeavor to provide my knowledge as a free public service. Please note that all the materials and information on this blog are general analyses made available for the public’s general informational purposes only. These analyses are not in any way intended to serve as specific legal advice to be applied in your particular situation. Although I am an attorney, absent a signed retention and engagement letter, I am not your attorney. There are no exceptions to this rule. Moreover, you shall not rely on the information I am providing you, as it is only for your general knowledge and educational purposes, since this information would likely change based on any additional facts. Thus the transmission and receipt of information on this blog by anyone does not form or constitute an attorney-client relationship. My knowledge of laws is limited to California. Anyone receiving any information on this blog should not act upon the information provided without first obtaining the services of professional legal counsel licensed in their respective jurisdiction. Best of luck.

 

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Author: nathanmubasher

Attorney Nathan Mubasher earned a post-doctorate LL.M. in International Financial Transactions with emphasis on Money Laundering and Compliance at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, a J.D. at American College of Law, and his B.A. at University of California, Riverside. He is a member of the State Bar of California and is admitted to practice before all state and federal courts in California. He is also an active member of the American Health Lawyers Association and the California Society for Healthcare Attorneys. He has performed over 1,000 mediations and has Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) training from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

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