United States District Court, D. Nebraska
KATHRYNN PALS, as personal representative of the Estate of Jamison B. Pals and personal representative of the Estate of Ezra A. Pals; and GORDON ENGEL, as personal representative of the Estate of Kathryne L. Pals, personal representative of the Estate of Violet J. Pals, and personal representative of the Estate of Calvin B. Pals; Plaintiffs,
TONY WEEKLY JR., BOHREN LOGISTICS, INC., INTERSTATE HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION, INC., and D.P. SAWYER, INC., Defendants.
M. Bazis United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendant D.P. Sawyer,
Inc.'s (“Defendant”) Motion to Strike.
(Filing No. 29.) Specifically, Defendant requests that the
Court strike paragraphs 79-85, 88-92, and 96-98 of
Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(f). (Filing No. 19.) For the reasons set
forth below, the motion will be denied.
case arises out of a motor-vehicle accident which resulted in
the deaths of Jamison and Kathryne Pals, and their three
children. Plaintiffs contend that Defendant is liable for the
wrongful deaths of the Pals family because Defendant failed
to provide “warning signage consistent with the [Manual
on Uniform Traffic Control Devices] and consistent with
applicable industry standards for the purpose of protecting
the driving public.” (Filing No. 19.)
maintains that certain paragraphs of Plaintiff's Amended
Complaint should be stricken pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(f). Defendant argues that these paragraphs
are evidentiary in nature, not necessary to give Defendant
“fair notice” of the claims against it, and
violate Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8's requirement
that allegations in a pleading be simple, concise, and
direct. Defendant contends that these paragraphs are
prejudicial because Defendant must choose between admitting
irrelevant evidence and denying allegations at the risk of
sanctions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) provides that a court may
strike from a pleading “any redundant, immaterial,
impertinent, or scandalous matter.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f).
Courts enjoy liberal discretion in ruling on motions under
Rule 12(f). BJC Health Systems v. Columbia Casualty
Company, 478 F.3d 908, 917 (8th Cir. 2007).
However, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has found that
“[d]espite this broad discretion . . . striking a
party's pleadings is an extreme measure” and, thus,
such motions are “viewed with disfavor and are
infrequently granted.” Stanbury Law Firm v.
IRS, 221 F.3d 1059, 1063 (8th Cir. 2000)
(quotation omitted). Therefore, “even matters that are
not strictly relevant to the principal claim at issue should
not necessarily be stricken, if they provide important
context and background to claims asserted or are relevant to
some object of the pleader's suit.” Holt v.
Quality Egg, LLC, 777 F.Supp.2d 1160, 1069 (N.D. Iowa
2011) (internal quotations omitted). Generally, “[t]o
prevail on a motion to strike text from the complaint, the
movant must clearly show that the challenged matter has no
bearing on the subject matter of the litigation and that its
inclusion will prejudice the movant.” Super 8
Worldwide, Inc. v. Riro, Inc., No. 8:11CV319, 2011 WL
5827801, *2 (D. Neb. Nov. 18, 2011) (quotation
has not shown that the challenged allegations have no bearing
on the subject matter of this litigation or are otherwise
redundant or scandalous. The assertions contained in the
paragraphs that Defendant requests be stricken are seemingly
relevant to the elements of Plaintiffs' negligence claim.
In summary, these paragraphs (1) discuss and quote portions
of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
(“MUTCD”); (2) discuss crash data for the
construction zone at issue in the accident; and/or (3) make
accident causation assertions based on the absence of certain
signs in the construction zone. The paragraphs discussing and
quoting the MUTCD and crash data are apparently aimed at
defining Defendant's duty of care and Defendant's
alleged failure to meet this burden. Likewise, paragraphs 96
and 97, which discuss the absence of signage, seem to be
directed towards the issue of causation.
the Court is not convinced that Defendant would be prejudiced
by responding to these allegations. Although Defendant
maintains that it faces a “Hobson's choice”
between admitting irrelevant evidence and risking Rule 11
sanctions, Defendant has not shown that it would actually be
burdened by attempting to respond to the allegations. In
fact, all other defendants in this action have submitted
answers to the Amended Complaint. (Filing No. 32; Filing No.
33.) Given the circumstances presented here, and courts'
general disfavor of motions to strike, Defendant's motion
will be denied.
IT IS ORDERED that Defendant's Motion to Strike (Filing
No. 29) is denied. Defendant shall submit an answer to the