United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON
THE PLEADINGS, OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE, MOTION FOR SUMMARY
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
matter is before the Court on pro se Plaintiff Anita
Wylie's (“Wylie”) Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(c), or in the alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment
under Rule 56 (Filing No. 12). After a longstanding
dispute regarding financial obligations owed on real property
that she acquired following her mothers death, Wylie filed a
Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Actual Compensatory
and Punitive Damages. (Filing No. 1-1 at 5.) She
asserts claims against Defendants Brookdale Senior Living,
Inc. and Robin Run Retirement Village (“Robin Run”)
(collectively, “Brookdale”) for “Restraint
of Plaintiff's Property Rights, ” intentional
infliction of emotional distress, and punitive damages. Soon
after Brookdale answered Wylie's Complaint, Wylie filed
the instant Motion seeking judgment on the pleadings or
alternatively summary judgment. For the following reasons,
the Court denies Wylie's Motion.
following facts are not necessarily objectively true, but as
required when reviewing a motion for judgment on the
pleadings, the Court accepts as true the factual allegations
in the complaint and draws all inferences in favor of
Brookdale as the non-moving party. See Emergency Servs.
Billing Corp. v. Allstate Ins. Co., 668 F.3d 459, 464
(7th Cir. 2012).
Run is a senior living retirement community located in
Indianapolis, Indiana. Wylie resides at 5408 Unity Trail,
which is within the Robin Run retirement community
(Filing No. 1-1 at 5; Filing No. 9 at 1-2).
Wylie's residence was previously owned in fee simple by
her mother. Following her mother's death in 2011, the
deed to the residence was transferred from Wylie's mother
to Wylie (Filing No. 1-1 at 5-6, 19-21). Transfer of
the deed was subject to a First Amended and Restated
Indenture of Restrictions of Robin Run Village
(“Indenture of Restrictions”) and an Amendment to
and Spreader of Indenture of Restrictions of Robin Run
Village (“Amendment to Indenture”) (Filing
No. 1-1 at 19, 23; Filing No. 9 at 13;
Filing No. 9-1; Filing No. 9-2).
the terms of the Indenture of Restrictions, Robin Run
assessed and charged a monthly fee against the owner of 5408
Unity Trail (Filing No. 9 at 13; Filing No.
9-1). The Indenture of Restrictions allowed Robin Run to
charge the monthly service fee whether or not the property
was occupied or leased (Filing No. 9-1 at 15). The
Indenture of Restrictions was applied to “[a]ll
persons, firms, corporations, or other entities who now or
shall hereafter acquire any interest in any portion of the
Property.” Id. at 8. Wylie knew there was a
fee associated with owning the residence in Robin Run
(Filing No. 12 at 2), and she understood that Robin
Run assessed a monthly fee even when a home was empty
(Filing No. 1-1 at 6).
time that the deed to the residence at 5408 Unity Trail was
transferred to her from her mother, Wylie already owned a
condominium in Indianapolis, so she attempted to sell the
residence at Robin Run. Id. She contacted Robin Run
to ask whether it was interested in acquiring the residence,
but it was not interested. As of August 2011, the residence
sat vacant and was then on the market for approximately one
year. Id. at 7. Wylie could not afford to make
payments on both her condominium and the Robin Run residence,
so she stopped making payments to Robin Run. Wylie eventually
moved into the Robin Run residence in August 2012 and tried
to rent out or sell her condominium. Id. at 7-8.
Robin Run continued to assess the monthly fee and send
invoices to Wylie based on her ownership of the residence;
however, Wylie did not pay the monthly invoices from November
2011 through January 2014 or after January 2015 (Filing
No. 9 at 14).
she was unable to sell the Robin Run residence and she faced
a growing outstanding monthly service fee, Wylie initiated
this lawsuit on October 23, 2018, in the Marion Superior
Court. The Complaint asserts claims against Brookdale for
“Restraint of Plaintiff's Property Rights, ”
intentional infliction of emotional distress, and punitive
damages (Filing No. 1-1 at 5-18). Brookdale removed
the case from state court to this Court on November 21, 2018,
based on federal diversity jurisdiction (Filing No.
1). On January 2, 2019, Brookdale filed an Amended
Answer and Counterclaim (Filing No. 9).
Brookdale's Counterclaim asserts a claim against Wylie
for breach of contract (the Indenture of Restrictions) based
on Wylie's failure to pay the monthly service fee.
Id. at 12-14. On February 25, 2019, without first
filing a responsive pleading to Brookdale's Counterclaim,
Wylie filed the instant Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings,
or in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment
(Filing No. 12). On March 29, 2019 Wylie filed a one
page untitled document which has been docketed as
“Response to Counterclaim” (Filing No.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) permits a party to move for
judgment after the parties have filed a complaint and an
answer, and the pleadings are closed. Rule 12(c) motions are
analyzed under the same standard as a motion to dismiss under
Rule 12(b)(6). Pisciotta v. Old Nat'l Bancorp.,
499 F.3d 629, 633 (7th Cir. 2007); Frey v. Bank One,
91 F.3d 45, 46 (7th Cir. 1996). The complaint must allege
facts that are “enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Although
“detailed factual allegations” are not required,
mere “labels, ” “conclusions, ” or
“formulaic recitation[s] of the elements of a cause of
action” are insufficient. Id. Stated
differently, the complaint must include “enough facts
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Hecker v. Deere & Co., 556
F.3d 575, 580 (7th Cir. 2009) (internal citation and
quotation marks omitted). To be facially plausible, the
complaint must allow “the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court will grant a Rule 12(c)
motion only if “it appears beyond doubt that the
plaintiff cannot prove any facts that would support his claim
for relief.” N. Ind. Gun & Outdoor Shows, Inc.
v. City of S. Bend, 163 F.3d 449, 452 (7th Cir. 1998)
(quoting Craigs, Inc. v. Gen. Elec. Capital
Corp., 12 F.3d 686, 688 (7th Cir. 1993)). The factual
allegations in the complaint are viewed in a light most
favorable to the non-moving party; however, the court is
“not obliged to ignore any facts set forth in the
complaint that undermine the plaintiff's claim or to
assign any weight to unsupported conclusions of law.”
Id. (quoting R.J.R. Serv., Inc. v. Aetna
Cas. & Sur. Co., 895 F.2d 279, 281 (7th Cir.
1989)). “As the title of the rule implies, Rule 12(c)
permits a judgment based on the pleadings alone. . . . The
pleadings include the complaint, the answer, and any written
instruments attached as exhibits.” Id.
(internal citations omitted).
Where the plaintiff moves for judgment on the pleadings, the
motion should not be granted unless it appears beyond doubt
that the non-moving party cannot prove facts sufficient to
support its position. Judgment may be granted on the
pleadings only if all material allegations of fact are
admitted or not controverted in the pleadings and only
questions of law remain to be decided by the district court.
Maloy v. Stucky, Lauer & Young, 2018 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 58084, at *4 (N.D. Ind. Apr. 5, 2018) (internal
citations and quotation marks omitted).
is proceeding pro se. A document filed pro
se is to be liberally construed, and a prose complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be
held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers. ...