Hanover Logansport, Inc. v. Robert C. Anderson, Inc.

512 N.E.2d 465 (Ind. Ct. App. 1987)

 

RULE:

A complaint may not be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted unless it appears to a certainty on the face of the complaint that the complaining party is not entitled to any relief. In ruling on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the lower court is required to view the complaint in a light most favorable to the non-moving party and with every intendment in his favor. The court may only look to the complaint, and well-pleaded material must be taken as admitted. The basic purpose of a Ind. R. Trial P. 12(B)(6) motion to dismiss is to test the legal sufficiency of the complaint to state a redressable claim. Thus, the motion is properly utilized to test the legal sufficiency of the complaint; or stated differently, to test the law of the claim, not the facts that support it

FACTS:

Pursuant to a lease, appellant lessor agreed to remove the current tenant from the leased premises before a certain date. When the current tenant still occupied the premises after the agreed-upon date, appellee lessee filed a complaint that prayed for lost profit or specific performance. Before trial, the lessor tendered an offer of the leased premises to the lessee. The lessee's acceptance stated the acceptance was only for the purposes of damage mitigation. Subsequently, the lower court denied the lessor's motion to dismiss. The court reversed and remanded the decision of the lower court.

ISSUE:

Was the agreement clear that both parties agreed to reserve a claim?

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

The preclusive effect of the consent judgment was measured by the parties' intent. Further, the agreement needed to be clear that both parties agreed to reserve a claim. The court found that the lessee's acceptance was not clear as to what damage claim he was attempting to reserve, and that the lessor never intended for a money damage claim to be reserved. Therefore, because the lessee's complaint did not include a claim for damages for delay in tendering the leased premises, the lessee was precluded from reserving such a claim in the consent judgment.

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