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Domres v. Perrigan - 760 So. 2d 1028 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2000)

Rule:

A judgment on the pleadings may be entered only if a party is clearly entitled to judgment as a matter of law based on the content of the pleadings. The trial judge's consideration is limited to only the pleadings. A motion for judgment on the pleadings is determined by the same legal test as a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a cause of action.

Facts:

Appellee landlord, Cynthia Perrigan, sued to evict appellant tenant, Terry Domres. Domres admitted he was past due on the rent, but claimed he had an extension of the lease, and should be credited for repairs he made pursuant to the lease. Domres counterclaimed that Perrigan slandered Perrigan to his business associates and tortiously interfered with his business relationships by telling his business associates he was behind rent and out of business. Domres also counterclaimed that Perrigan breached their contract by failing to maintain the utilities in his bar. Judgment on the pleadings was awarded to Perrigan. 

Issue:

Was the judgment on the pleadings awarded to Perrigan properly entered?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The court reversed and remanded because it found that the pleadings presented factual issues that could not be resolved on the pleadings alone. Perrigan did not deny Domres' tort allegations, but only her knowledge of them. Even if Perrigan had pled truth as a defense or privilege to the tort counterclaims, the allegations still created issues of fact not resolvable on the face of the pleadings.

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