J & J Sports Productions, Inc. v. Vega
OPINION AND ORDER denying 38 Motion to Strike. Signed by Honorable Timothy L. Brooks on October 4, 2016. (rg)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
J & J SPORTS PRODUCTIONS, INC.
CASE NO. 5:15-CV-5199
EDWARD VEGA, individually and
d/b/a SPRINGDALE CIVIC CENTER
OPINION AND ORDER
This case involves claims by Plaintiff J & J Sports Productions, Inc. ("J&J") that
Defendant Edward Vega unlawfully and without authorization published a televised fight
to which J&J had exclusive commercial distribution rights. On February
ruling on four vigorously contested pleading-stage motions, including two motions to strike
that were filed by J&J, this Court expressed optimism "that J&J will have no further need
to seek the intervention of this Court on fine-grained pleading technicalities." (Doc.
Apparently the Court's optimism was na"lve, because J&J has now presented it with
yet another Motion to Strike (Doc.
two of Mr. Vega's affirmative defenses from his
Third Amended Answer, notwithstanding the fact that this Court already gave Mr. Vega
explicit permission on August
to file those two defenses-over J&J's objection-
on the grounds that J&J had "made no attempt at meeting its burden" of showing that they
were futile or would unfairly prejudice J&J.
See Doc. 36,
J&J's Motion is DENIED.
As the Court observed eighth months ago in this same case, although it "has the
discretion to strike pleadings under Fed. R. Civ. P.
striking pleadings constitutes
"an extreme measure," and therefore motions to do so are "viewed with disfavor and are
Chavez v. Montes, 2015
at *1 ). "Therefore, this Court will not strike an affirmative defense unless the moving party
can 'demonstrate that the defense [is] immaterial, implausible, and/or wholly unrelated to
the claims at issue in the lawsuit."' Id.
J&J asks the Court to strike Mr. Vega's first affirmative defense, which essentially
asserts that he cannot be held individually liable for the actions taken by the Springdale
Civic Center business entity in this case. See Doc. 37, p. 3. J&J insists that he can be,
provided the proper factual prerequisite is met. See Doc. 39, p. 3; Comcast of Illinois X
v. Multi-Vision Electronics, Inc., 491
F.3d 938, 947
the record shows no
distinction between Abboud's actions and Multivision's, the district court did not err in
making Abboud personally liable for the judgment." (emphasis added)).
If J&J believes
that there is no material dispute of fact that Mr. Vega and the Springdale Civic Center
were indistinct actors, and that J&J is otherwise entitled to judgment as a matter of law,
then J&J is perfectly free to move for summary judgment against Mr. Vega on those
But the Court is not going to pre-judge during the pleading stage what the
factual record will ultimately show with regard to Mr. Vega's level of control over the
Springdale Civic Center's actions in this case, as the purpose of pleading is not to resolve
factual disputes, but rather simply to place the parties on notice of their claims and
defenses against each other.
J&J also asks the Court to strike Mr. Vega's second affirmative defense, which
asserts that "[t]he establishment was authorized to receive the signal for the subject fight
program by the signal provider." (Doc. 37, p. 3). J&J argues that "if the 'signal provider'
from whom Defendant purports to have obtained the Program did not permit the use of
programming in the first place, the authorization argument would fail."
(Doc. 39, p. 8)
(emphasis removed). But note those words "if' and "would." Once again, J&J is asking
this Court to pre-judge disputed facts at the pleading stage.
Once again, this Court
declines to do so.
By the Court's arithmetic, this would now appear to be the sixth motion in this case
that has revolved around J&J's contentions that Mr. Vega's pleadings are deficient in
some manner or another, yielding at least 91 pages of briefing by the parties and 18
pages of opinions by the Court. See Docs. 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 34, 35, 36,
38, 39, 40, 41-1, and this Order. Some of J&J's arguments have been more availing than
others, and the Court does not mean to imply that J&J's motion practice in this case has
been frivolous. But the Court wishes to make abundantly clear at this time that in the
grand scheme of things, it believes the volume of pleading-stage motion practice in this
case has been wildly disproportionate to the complexity of the facts, legal issues, and
claimed damages in this case, and that while neither party is wholly without fault in that
regard, J&J has been by far the primary driver of this trend. If this scorched-earth style
of litigation continues unabated in this case, the Court may consider issuing an order to
show cause why the offending filings are "not being presented for any improper purpose,
such as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation."
Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(b)(1).
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that
to Strike Defendant's Affirmative De
IT IS SO ORDERED
Plaintiff J & J Sports Productions, lnc.'s Motion
es (Doc. 38) is D
day of Octob r
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