United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. FLEISSIG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Lawrence Drummer
Jr.'s motion for more definite statement and motion to
strike the Corizon Defendants' affirmative defenses. ECF
No. 66. The Corizon Defendants oppose the motion. For the
reasons set forth below, the motion will be denied.
filed this pro se prisoner civil rights action on July 18,
2016. ECF No. 1. On November 10, 2016, the Court granted
Plaintiff's request to appoint counsel, and on January 2,
2018, counsel filed an amended complaint. ECF No. 54. On
January 23, 2018, the Corizon Defendants filed their joint
answer and affirmative defenses. ECF No. 60.
then filed this motion for more definite statement and motion
to strike certain affirmative defenses. Specifically,
Plaintiff asks the Court to strike affirmative defense 1,
which asserts that this cause of action violates the Corizon
Defendants' right to due process; affirmative defense 2,
which asserts that Plaintiff's second amended complaint
fails to state a claim for which relief can be granted;
affirmative defense 5, which asserts that this lawsuit is
frivolous within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d);
affirmative defenses 8 and 9, which concern punitive damages;
and affirmative defense 16, which reserves the Corizon
Defendants' right to introduce evidence on any other
defense that may become appropriate through discovery.
Plaintiff argues that these affirmative defenses are
conclusory allegations or mere conclusions of law without
supporting facts, which violates Federal Rule of Civil
also seeks an order from the Court directing the Corizon
Defendants to provide a more definite statement as to
affirmative defenses 3 and 4 on similar grounds. Affirmative
defense 3 asserts that Plaintiff has failed to join all
parties under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19, and
affirmative defense 4 claims that Plaintiff's own
negligence contributed to his injuries.
Corizon Defendants oppose the motion, arguing that the
affirmative defenses contained a short and plain statement
showing that they are entitled to each defense, which is all
that is required by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) states that “the court
may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any
redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous
matter.” A motion to strike an affirmative defense
should not be granted “unless, as a matter of law, the
defense cannot succeed under any circumstances or is
immaterial in that it has no essential or important
relationship to the claim for relief.” Morgan v.
Midwest Neurosurgeons, LLC, No. 1:11-CV-37 CEJ, 2011 WL
2728334, at *2 (E.D. Mo. July 12, 2011). A motion to strike
should not succeed unless the party shows that it is
prejudiced by the inclusion of a defense or that a
defense's inclusion confuses the issues. Id.
“The prejudice requirement is satisfied if striking the
defense would, for example, prevent a party from engaging in
burdensome discovery, or otherwise expending time and
resources litigating irrelevant issues that will not affect
the case's outcome.” Id.
it cannot be said that the Corizon Defendants' defenses
could not succeed as a matter of law or that they are wholly
immaterial. Further, Plaintiff has not shown that the
inclusion of their affirmative defenses in their pleadings
prejudices Plaintiff in any way, and the Court finds no
reason to believe that such prejudice would exist. Thus, the
motion to strike will be denied.
for More Definite Statement
for more definite statement are governed by Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(e), which states, “[i]f a pleading
to which a responsive pleading is permitted is so vague or
ambiguous that a party cannot reasonably be required to frame
a responsive pleading, the party may move for a more definite
statement before interposing a responsive pleading.”
“Rule 12(e) is not designed to remedy an alleged lack
of detail, rather, the Rule is intended to serve as a means
to remedy unintelligible pleadings.” Hayden v.
United States, No. 4:12 CV 2030 DDN, 2013 WL 5291755, at
*2 (E.D. Mo. Sept. 19, 2013). “Rule 12(e) motions are
generally disfavored, particularly when discovery will
clarify the issues.” Id.
Plaintiff takes issue with affirmative defenses 3 and 4,
which state, respectively, that Plaintiff's second
amended complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief
could be granted and that Plaintiff's own negligence
contributed to the injuries alleged in the second amended
complaint. Although not detailed, these are short, plain
statements that are not so unintelligible as to deprive
Plaintiff of fair notice. ...