United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
PHILLIP V. EBERT, Plaintiff,
SECURA INSURANCE, A MUTUAL COMPANY, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. Hamilton, United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Ebert's Motion to
Strike Affirmative Defenses or in the Alternative Make a More
Definite Statement, filed April 12, 2019. (ECF No. 9). The
motion is fully briefed and ready for disposition.
present matter arises out of a motor vehicle collision on or
about October 28, 2015. (Petition, ECF No. 6 ¶ 7).
Plaintiff filed a Petition in the Circuit Court for the City
of St. Louis on March 5, 2019. (ECF No. 6). Plaintiff asserts
that he was driving a dump truck, a 2003 Wayne Sweeper
automobile, during the course and scope of his employment
with Schaefer Hauling, Inc. in St. Louis City. Id.
¶¶ 7-13. Plaintiff asserts that he was struck in
the rear by Gregory Newlon's (“Newlon”)
vehicle as Newlon attempted to evade police in a high-speed
chase. Id. ¶ 8. Plaintiff allegedly suffered
injuries to his head, back, neck, left shoulder, and both
legs, and alleges permanent injury to both his body and mind.
Id. ¶ 16. On the date of the collision, Newlon
was insured by Alfa Vision Insurance Company, which tendered
its policy limits of fifty-thousand dollars ($50, 000.00)..
(ECF No. 6, ¶ 10). The fifty-thousand-dollar ($50,
000.00) policy limit was split between three injured parties
and settled to Plaintiff in the amount of sixteen-thousand
six-hundred and sixty-six dollars and sixty-seven cents ($16,
Secura issued policy number 20-A-003182515-5 to Schaefer
Hauling Inc., to cover the 2003 Wayne Sweeper automobile.
Id. ¶ 13. Plaintiff claims that Newlon was an
underinsured motorist and brings a count against Defendant
Secura pursuant to its policy for an amount in excess of
twenty-five thousand dollars ($25, 000.00) and brings a
second count against Defendant Secura for vexatious refusal
April 10, 2019, Defendant Secura Insurance filed its Answer
and Affirmative Defenses. (ECF No. 7). On April 12, 2019, the
Plaintiff filed its Motion to Strike Affirmative Defenses or
in the Alternative for a More Definite Statement. (ECF No.
12). Plaintiff specifically objects to Affirmative Defenses
H, I, and J. The Affirmative Defenses state:
(H) - For further [A]nswer and for its Affirmative Defense,
Defendant states that Plaintiff's alleged injuries and
associated damages were directly and proximately caused or
contributed to be caused by his own negligence or by
pre-existing conditions, and fault should therefore be
compared and allocated accordingly.”
(I) - For further Answer and by way of Affirmative Defense,
Defendant states that Plaintiff has failed to mitigate his
alleged damages, if any.
(J) - For further Answer and by way of Affirmative Defense,
Defendant states that it continues to reserve any and all
rights and defenses it has under the above-referenced policy
of insurance and laws, and that it is not waiving any rights
under the laws or policy of insurance and the terms and
(ECF No. 7 at 6).
contends that defendant has failed to satisfy its obligation
to properly plead an affirmative defense pursuant to Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure 12(f) and 8(b). Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(f) states that “[t]he Court may
strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any
redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous
matter.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f). Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8(b) states that a party must “state in short
and plain terms its defenses to each claim asserted against
it.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(b). Plaintiff argues that the
Defendant's affirmative defenses are inadequate and
conclusory. (ECF No. 9 at 2).
Court has broad discretion in resolving a motion to strike.
See Stanbury Law Firm v. Internal Revenue Serv., 221
F.3d 1059, 1063 (8th Cir. 2000). Motions to strike “are
viewed with disfavor and are infrequently granted.”
Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). “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.' ” Speraneo v. Zeus Tech., Inc.,
4:12CV578 JAR 2012 WL 2117872, at *1. “[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.; Accord Schmidt v. Hosley Int'l,
Inc., No. 4:15CV614 CEJ, 2015 WL 4134338, at *2 (E.D.
Mo. July 8, 2015); Defendant's affirmative defenses are
short and plain statements that assert a defense to
Plaintiffs claims. Plaintiff has not alleged that these
defenses cannot be granted as a matter of law, nor does the
Plaintiff contend that the defenses raised by Defendant
cannot succeed or are unrelated to its claim for relief.
Therefore, the Plaintiff's Motion to Strike is denied.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs Motion
to Strike Affirmative ...