United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
GIBSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before this Court is the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings
or, in the Alternative, Motion to Dismiss for Failure to
State a Claim Upon Which Relief Can Be Granted ("the
Motion") filed by Defendants Ryan P. Jay and Larry E.
Jay ("the Jays") as to the crossclaim of Defendant
Jeffrey A. Carnell ("Mr. Carnell). (ECF No. 48.)
Although Mr. Carnell has not responded to the Jays'
Motion (ECF No. 48) and brief in support thereof (ECF No.
49), the deadline for Mr. Carnell's response -i.e., April
3, 2018-passed over two weeks ago and, thus, the Jays'
Motion is ripe for disposition.
Jays argue that Mr. Carnell's crossclaim against them
should be dismissed for failure to request a legally
cognizable remedy. (See ECF No. 49 at 3-4.) This
Court agrees with the Jays' argument.
for the reasons that follow, the Jays' Motion is
GRANTED. Thus, Mr. Carnell's crossclaim
against the Jays is DISMISSED.
Court detailed the procedural and factual background of the
instant case in multiple prior memorandum opinions and
orders. See Wells Fargo Bank, MA. v. Carnell, No.
3:16-cv-130, 2017 WL 1498087, at *l-*2 (W.D. Pa. Apr. 25,
2017); Wells Fargo Bank, MA. v. Carnell, No.
3:16-cv-130, 2018 WL 840141, at *l-*2 (W.D. Pa. Feb. 12,
2018); Wells Fargo Bank, MA. v. Carnell, No.
3:16-cv-130, 2018 WL 988352, at *l-*2 (W.D. Pa. Feb. 15,
2018). The Court will not further expand upon this
previously-provided background in the current Memorandum
Opinion. However, the Court will provide a brief background
as to those issues particularly pertinent to the instant
Court previously summarized, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
("Wells Fargo") brought this case against two
mortgagors-Mr. Carnell and Anna M. Carnell-and the two
notary publics who notarized the underlying mortgage
documents-the Jays-after the Carnells allegedly defaulted on
their mortgage payments. See Wells Fargo, 2018 WL
840141, at *1. Wells Fargo primarily seeks an order quieting
title to the property underlying the mortgage. Id.
relevant for the purposes of the present Motion, Mr. Carnell
filed his Answer and Affirmative Defenses, Counterclaim,
Crossclaim on May 8, 2017. (ECF No. 39.) In this Answer, Mr.
Carnell denies that he signed the two mortgages with Wells
Fargo in 2008 and 2009. (Id. ¶¶ 14, 25.)
Mr. Carnell's Answer also stated that he served a prior
answer upon Wells Fargo on May 29, 2012 in a related state
foreclosure action, in which he previously averred that he
did not sign these two mortgage instruments. (Id.
Mr. Carnell's Answer included a crossclaim against Anna
M. Carnell and the Jays. (See ECF No. 39 at
¶¶ 79-92.) Mr. Carnell's crossclaim alleges
that Anna M. Carnell and the Jays "caus[ed] or otherwise
allow[ed] his signature to be forged upon two Wells Fargo
Mortgages." (Id. ¶ 80.) The remainder of
the allegations under the crossclaim heading of Mr.
Carnell's Answer relate to Wells Fargo's alleged
wrongdoing in promoting hasty, unsupervised "take
home" mortgages that enabled Anna M. Carnell to forge
Mr. Carnell's signature. (Id. ¶¶
79-92.) Mr. Carnell's Answer asserts that Anna M. Carnell
"forged her husband's name on the paperwork and
found a willing and able notary to notarize the
signatures." (Id. ¶ 88.) The Answer
further alleges that Mr. Carnell "never signed anything
with regard to the two Wells Fargo Mortgages and as such,
could not have signed in front of the two notaries."
(Id. ¶ 89.)
response to this crossclaim, the Jays filed the instant
Motion (ECF No. 48) and their brief in support thereof (ECF
No. 49) on March 13, 2018. Mr. Carnell has not filed any
documents in opposition to the instant Motion. Any responses
were due on or before April 3, 2018. See Practices
and Procedures of Judge Kim R. Gibson, Rule II.D.4 (Aug. 23,
(providing 21 days to respond to motions to dismiss and
motions for judgment on the pleadings).
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) provides that "[a]fter the
pleadings are closed- but early enough not to delay trial -a
party may move for judgment on the pleadings."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c); see also Hadeed v. Advanced Vascular
Res. of Johnstown, LLC, 3:15-cv-22, 2017 WL 4998663, at
*4 (W.D. Pa. Oct. 30, 2017). "The standard for deciding
a motion for judgment on the pleadings filed pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) is not materially
different from the standard for deciding a motion to dismiss
filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6)." Zion v. Nassau, 283 F.R.D. 247, 254
(W.D. Pa. 2012); see Harleysville Ins. Co. of New York v.
Cerciello, No. 3:08-CV-2060, 2010 WL 11534317, at *2
(M.D. Pa. 2010) ("The standard of review used for a
motion for judgment on the pleadings is substantively
identical to that of a motion to dismiss.");
Minnesota Lawyers Mut. Ins. Co. v. Ahrens, 432
Fed.Appx. 143, 147 (3d Cir. 2011).
motion may be used to seek the dismissal of a complaint based
on a plaintiff's "failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6);
id. at 12(h)(2)(B). The only difference between the
two motions is that a Rule 12(b) motion must be made before a
"responsive pleading" is filed, whereas a Rule
12(c) motion can be made "[a]fter the pleadings are