See Ted’s excellent reply to the last post for context around 12c in this case. Highligting is mine.
Experienced practitioners are familiar with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12, which provides for various pretrial motions to challenge the opposing party’s pleadings and to assert other defenses and objections. If asking attorneys what type of pretrial challenges they consider to be part of their arsenal of motions challenging the adequacy of the pleadings, their response likely would be limited to motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim, motions to strike, or motions for summary judgment. Rule 12(c) motions—allowing a party to move, after the pleadings are closed, for judgment on the pleadings—are often overlooked. Practitioners, however, should consider and incorporate Rule 12(c) motions into their litigation strategies.
Motions for judgment on the pleadings are essentially trials on the pleadings. Rule 12(c) was designed to prevent the piecemeal process of judicial determination that prevailed under the old common law practice.2 It allows for a decision on the merits of the claims based upon the pleadings in special circumstances, such as when the parties do not dispute the facts in the pleadings. Thus, Rule 12(c) motions can help dispose of baseless claims or defenses when the formal pleadings reveal their lack of merit. Because a motion for judgment on the pleadings can highlight for the court its ability to resolve the case, merely by examining the initial papers,3 its use can mean the difference between unnecessarily protracted litigation and a prompt resolution of the dispute. As one author described a winning motion practice, albeit in the context of summary judgment:
[w]ith one successful roll of the . . . dice, an attorney can win the trial-court round, put an opponent on the defensive, save time and money that would be spent in court, and emerge a hero to the client. Used correctly and shrewdly, [a dispositive motion] is a lethal weapon that can resolve lengthy, expensive, and exhausting litigation years before a case reaches the trial stage.4