United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
JULIE S. PUTTERMAN, Plaintiff,
SUPREME CHAIN LOGISTICS, LTD., foreign corporation, et al., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION TO
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to
Strike Affirmative Defenses pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(f). Dkt. #18. Plaintiff argues that a number of
Defendants' affirmative defenses should be stricken
because they are insufficiently pled. Id. Defendants
Supreme Chain Logistics and Davinder Neele respond that their
defenses should not be stricken because they provide fair
notice to Plaintiff. Dkt. #21. Having reviewed the parties'
briefing and considered the arguments set forth therein, the
Court now GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART Plaintiff's
brings this case for personal injuries arising from an
automobile accident that occurred on southbound I-5 in
Seattle, WA, on February 26, 2015. Dkt. #1-1. Plaintiff named
as two of the Defendants the driver of the tractor-trailer
involved in the accident (Mr. Neele), and Mr. Neele's
employer (Supreme Chain Logistics). Id. Mr. Neele
and Supreme Chain Logistics filed their Answer to the
Complaint on April 17, 2018, raising 16 affirmative defenses.
Dkt. #12. Plaintiff now moves to strike defenses 1, 2, 5,
7-14 and 16. Dkt. #18 at 4.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f), a district court
“may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or
any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous
matter.” “[T]he function of a 12(f) motion to
strike is to avoid the expenditure of time and money that
must arise from litigating spurious issues by dispensing with
those issues prior to trial . . . .”
Sidney-Vinstein v. A.H. Robins Co., 697 F.2d 880,
885 (9th Cir. 1983). To determine whether a defense is
“insufficient” under Rule 12(f), the Court asks
whether it gives the plaintiff fair notice of the defense.
Simmons v. Navajo County, 609 F.3d 1011, 1023 (9th
Cir. 2010) (citing Wyshak v. City Nat'l Bank,
607 F.2d 824, 827 (9th Cir. 1979)). Fair notice generally
requires that defendants state the nature and grounds for the
affirmative defense. Employee Painters' Trust v. Pac.
Nw. Contractors, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59618, 2013
WL 1774628, at *4 (W.D. Wash. Apr. 25, 2013).
Affirmative Defense One
first moves to strike Defendants' Affirmative Defense
One, which states:
1. Plaintiff's action should be dismissed in whole or in
part because Plaintiff's alleged damages, if any, may not
have been caused by Defendants.
Dkt. #12 at Affirmative Defenses, ¶ 1.
Plaintiff argues that this defense should be stricken because
it fails to provide sufficient facts by which the Plaintiff
can determine the nature and grounds for the defense. Dkt.
#18 at 5. Defendants respond that this defense is proper and
provides fair notice because the accident occurred in the
middle of a busy morning commute, and therefore there are
many factors that could have contributed to the accident.
Dkt. #21 at 6. The Court agrees with Defendants that this
defense gives fair notice, and therefore it will not be
Affirmative Defense Two
Plaintiff addresses Affirmative Defense Two in its motion,
Defendants have agreed to consolidate this defense with
Affirmative Defense Three, and therefore this defense no
longer appears to be at issue. Dkts. #18 at 4, #21 at 8 and
#23 at 2-3.