Frazier v. MDOW Insurance Company et al
OPINION AND ORDER denying Frazier's 31 motion for judgment on the pleadings. Signed by Judge J. Leon Holmes on 7/7/2016. (ljb)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
PINE BLUFF DIVISION
DONALD R. FRAZIER, JR.
No. 5:16-CV-0127 JLH
MDOW INSURANCE COMPANY;
and MARK S. BREEDING
OPINION AND ORDER
On April 26, 2016, Donald Frazier commenced this lawsuit against MDOW Insurance
Company and Mark S. Breeding. Frazier complains that his house burned down, but the insurer,
MDOW, has refused to compensate him for this loss. On May 17 MDOW filed an answer denying
the allegations in the complaint. Document #9. Then on June 10 MDOW filed its corporate
disclosure statement. Document #26. Frazier now brings a motion for judgment on the pleadings
against MDOW pursuant to Rules 12(c) and (d). Document #31. He requests judgment on the
pleadings because MDOW did not file its corporate disclosure statement with its first appearance.
MDOW and Breeding have responded and Frazier has replied. For the following reasons, Frazier’s
motion for judgment on the pleadings is denied.
A party may move for judgment on the pleadings after the pleadings close, but early enough
not to delay trial. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c). “Judgment on the pleadings should be granted only if the
moving party clearly establishes that there are no material issues of fact and that it is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Porous Media Corp. v. Pall Corp., 186 F.3d 1077, 1079 (8th Cir.
1999). Frazier has not established that there is no material issue of fact nor has he shown that he is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. MDOW has denied the allegations in the complaint, which
creates a material issue of fact. The late filing of a corporate disclosure statement is not an
appropriate basis for judgment on the pleadings.
Frazier also asks the Court to enter a default judgment against MDOW. Under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 55, when a defendant such as MDOW “has failed to plead or otherwise defend”
the clerk of court must enter a default. MDOW timely filed an answer and a default judgment will
not be entered against it.
Although the motion for judgment on the pleadings was filed against MDOW and not
Breeding, Breeding filed a response to the motion acknowledging that it appeared the motion was
solely directed at MDOW. Document #33. In his reply to Breeding’s response, Frazier requests that
Breeding be sanctioned under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37 for his response that required
Frazier to draft a “burdensome and unnecessary” reply. Rule 37 applies to sanctions sought during
discovery. Frazier’s motion would fall under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11. Sanctions under
Rule 11 may be warranted when a pleading is “presented for any improper purpose, such as to
harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation.” Fed. R. Civ.
P. 11(b)(1). Breeding filed a two page response, which included the certificate of service, “to avoid
any possible confusion.” Document #33. He simply denied Frazier was entitled to judgment on the
pleadings against him even though the motion was directed to MDOW. This does not warrant
Rule 11 sanctions.
For the foregoing reasons, the motion for judgment on the pleadings is DENIED. Document
IT IS SO ORDERED this 7th day of July, 2016.
J. LEON HOLMES
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?