The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sylvia H. Rambo United States District Judge
Before the court is Defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings. (Doc. 8.) The motion had been fully briefed, and is now ripe for disposition. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be denied.
Before the court is a case involving the alleged surreptitious monitoring of Plaintiff's computer activity by Defendant.*fn2 The facts show that sometime around August of 2007, Defendant purchased a laptop computer for Plaintiff after Plaintiff's own laptop was damaged. (Doc. 1, ¶¶ 8, 9.) Before giving Plaintiff the computer, Defendant allegedly installed a program called eBlaster which monitors all activity on the laptop and sends Defendant a periodic report. (Id. ¶¶ 12, 14.) Plaintiff alleges that this program sent Defendant reports relaying everything from Plaintiff's instant messaging and email conversations to web sites he visited and his banking transactions. (Id. ¶ 12.) Plaintiff did not give Defendant permission to install this software, nor was he aware that the software had been installed and that Defendant was apparently monitoring his online activity. (Id. ¶¶ 13, 15.)
Sometime during the spring of 2008, Plaintiff learned that Defendant may have been video recording guests at Defendant's home engaging in sexual activity. (Pl.'s Br. in Supp. of Resp. to Mot. for J. on Pleading, Doc. 3, at 3 of 41.) After Plaintiff became aware of this, Defendant approached him with a "Settlement Agreement and Mutual Release" (the "Release"). The Release stated, in relevant part:
David Taylor, for himself his legal representatives and his successors, expressly releases Bruce Barclay, and his legal representatives, assigns and successors, from all liability, claims, demands for income and any and all liability for claims arising out of any activity that occurred at the house at 253 Brindle Road in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, during the time of January, 2007 through April 30, 2008. (Doc. 10-2, at 2.) It was during this time that eBlaster was installed on Plaintiff's laptop. (Pl.'s Br. in Supp. of Resp. to Mot. for J. on Pleading, Doc. 3, at 4 of 41.) In addition, Defendant agreed to pay Plaintiff $2,000. (Doc. 10-2, ¶ 1.) Both parties signed the Release on May 25, 2008. (Id.) Sometime shortly thereafter, the Pennsylvania State Police contacted Plaintiff and informed him that Defendant had installed eBlaster on his computer. (Pl.'s Br. in Supp. of Resp. to Mot. for J. on Pleading, Doc. 3, at 3 of 41.)
On December 30, 2008, Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging invasion of privacy and violations of the Federal and Pennsylvania Wiretap Acts.*fn3 On January 27, 2009, Defendant filed an answer with affirmative defenses claiming the Release signed by both parties absolves him of any liability. (Doc. 4.) On March 9, 2009, Defendant filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings and a brief in support. (Docs. 8, 9.) On April 1, 2009, Plaintiff filed a response to Defendant's motion. (Doc. 12.) No reply by Defendant was filed and the motion is now ripe for disposition.
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), once the pleadings are closed a party may move for judgment on the pleadings "within such time as to not delay the trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c).*fn4 The standard of review for a motion for judgment on the pleadings is identical to that of the motion to dismiss under Federal Rule 12(b)(6). Turbe v. Gov't of Virgin Islands, 938 F.2d 427, 428 (3d Cir. 1991) (citations omitted); Cannon v. United States, 322 F. Supp. 2d 636, 636 (W.D. Pa. 2004); Katzenmoyer v. City of Reading, 158 F. Supp. 2d 491, 496 (E.D. Pa. 2001).
The only notable difference between these two standards is that the court in a motion on the pleadings reviews not only the complaint but also the answer and written instruments attached to the pleadings. 2 Moore's Federal Practice Civil § 12.38 (2004). Despite this difference, courts in this circuit have consistently stated that the distinction between the two standards is "merely semantic." Christy v. We The People Forms & Serv. Ctrs., 213 F.R.D. 235, 238 (D.N.J. 2003); see Smith v. City of Philadelphia, 345 F. Supp. 2d 482, 485 (E.D. Pa. 2004) ("A motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) is treated using the same standard as a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).") (citing Regalbuto v. City of Philadelphia, 937 F. Supp. 374, 376-77 (E.D. Pa. 1995)).
Therefore, just as required by a motion to dismiss, the court will draw the facts and inferences presented in the pleadings in the "light most favorable to the nonmoving party." Allah v. Al-Hafeez, 226 F.3d 247, 249 (3d Cir. 2000); Turbe, 938 F.2d at 428; see also Jablonski v. Pan Am. World Airways, Inc., 863 F.2d 289, 290-91 (3d Cir. 1988). The court will only grant a motion for judgment on the pleadings if "the movant clearly establishes there are no material issues of fact, and [the movant] is ...