United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Central Division
NANETTE K. LAUGHREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Strike
Defendant Cowley Distributing, Inc.'s Answer to the First
Amended Complaint, Doc. 43, Plaintiff's Motion for
Default Judgment, Doc. 45, and Defendant's Motion for
Leave to File Answer out of Time, Doc. 47. For the following
reasons, Plaintiff's Motion to Strike, Doc. 43, is
granted, Plaintiff's Motion for Entry of Default, Doc.
45, is denied, and Defendant's Motion for Leave to File
Answer out of Time, Doc. 47, is granted.
James Scott, Sr. brings this suit pro se against his
employer, Defendant Cowley Distributing, Inc. Plaintiff
alleges that the Defendant discriminated against him on the
basis of race and religion, subjected him to a racially
hostile work environment, denied him promotional
opportunities based on race, and then retaliated against him
for his complaints.
case was originally filed on December 23, 2016, in the United
States District Court for the District of Kansas. On May 22,
2017, Plaintiff moved for leave to file an amended complaint.
Doc. 11. On June 6, 2017, Defendant moved to dismiss for lack
of jurisdiction, or, in the alternative, to transfer venue.
Doc. 13. On September 20, 2017, Chief District Judge Julie A.
Robinson of the District of Kansas granted Plaintiff's
motion to file an amended complaint, denied Defendant's
motion to dismiss, and granted Defendant's motion to
transfer venue. Doc. 21. Chief Judge Robinson directed the
Clerk to file Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint, which
Plaintiff had attached to his motion, and ordered that the
case be transferred to the United States District Court for
the Western District of Missouri. The case was transferred
the next day, September 21, 2017, but the First Amended
Complaint was not filed prior to transfer. Doc. 22.
December 5, 2017, it came to the Court's attention that
the First Amended Complaint was not filed. Accordingly, the
Court directed the Clerk of Court to file Plaintiff's
First Amended Complaint, Document 11-1 on the docket, and
granted Defendant twenty-one days to answer or otherwise
respond. Doc. 37. The Clerk of Court subsequently filed
Document 38, that same day. It appears, however, that the
Clerk of Court inadvertently filed Plaintiff's original
Complaint, rather than his First Amended Complaint. Without
recognizing that it was responding to the original complaint,
the Defendant filed an answer to Document 38 on December 22,
2017, in compliance with the Court's Order.
Motion to Strike
moves to strike the Defendant's response pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f). Under Rule 12(f), the
Court “may strike from a pleading an insufficient
defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or
scandalous matter.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f). Plaintiff
argues that Defendant's answer must be stricken because
it was untimely, and because it responds to the original
Complaint instead of Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint.
the Defendant's answer did respond to the incorrect
complaint, its mistake was understandable given the incorrect
docketing. Therefore, as discussed below, the Court will give
the Defendant an opportunity to file its answer to the
Amended Complaint, out of time. The Clerk's Office has
now corrected Document 38 to reflect the Amended Complaint.
housekeeping purposes, the Court will strike Defendants
mistaken answer, Doc. 39.
Motion for Entry of Default
default judgment is not warranted under the circumstances of
this case. Generally disfavored, entry of default judgment is
appropriate when a party exhibits “willful violations
of court rules [or] contumacious conduct, or [causes]
intentional delays.” Ackra Direct Marketing Corp.
v. Fingerhut Corp., 86 F.3d 852, 857 (8th Cir. 1996)
(internal quotation and citation omitted). The Eighth Circuit
has not articulated specific factors to consider in ruling on
motions for default judgment, Id., and therefore the
decision is left to the “sound discretion” of the
Court. F.T.C. v. Packers Brand Meats, Inc., 562 F.2d
9, 10 (8th Cir. 1977).
Defendant maintains that it acted in good faith when
responding to Document 38, which is labeled “Pro Se
Amended Complaint” and was filed by the Clerk of Court.
The Defendant also argues that it was Plaintiff's burden
to verify that the correct pleading was filed. Conversely,
Plaintiff argues that the Defendant should have recognized
that Document 38 was filed erroneously, because the original
Complaint and the First Amended Complaint are significantly
different. The original Complaint has “FILED Dec. 23
2016” prominently stamped on the first page, and uses
larger font throughout. Doc. 1. Additionally, in responding
to Plaintiff's ...