(PS)Gifford v. Dingman et al

Filing 58

ORDER signed by Magistrate Judge Dennis M. Cota on 11/18/22; DENYING 46 Motion to Strike.(Licea Chavez, V)

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Case 2:21-cv-01726-KJM-DMC Document 58 Filed 11/21/22 Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 ROGER GIFFORD, 12 13 14 15 No. 2:21-CV-1726-KJM-DMC Plaintiff, v. ORDER CLINT DINGMAN, et al., Defendants. 16 17 Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, brings this civil action. Pending before the 18 Court is Plaintiff’s motion, ECF No. 46, to strike Defendants’ answers. Defendants have filed an 19 opposition, ECF No. 47. Plaintiff has filed a reply, ECF No. 56. The matter has been submitted 20 without oral argument. 21 22 23 I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY Plaintiff initiated this action on September 22, 2021. See ECF No. 1. Because 24 Plaintiff paid the filing fees, the Court did not screen Plaintiff’s pro se complaint for sufficiency. 25 On September 23, 2021, the Clerk of the Court issued summons for Defendants Clint Dingman, 26 Robert Puckett, Sr., Michele Hanson, Melissa Tulledo, Hornbrook Community Services District 27 (HCSD), and Bruce’s Towing/Radiator & Dismantling (Bruce’s Towing). See ECF No. 2. On 28 October 25, 2021, process was returned executed as to Defendants Dingman, Hanson, HCSD, 1 Case 2:21-cv-01726-KJM-DMC Document 58 Filed 11/21/22 Page 2 of 3 1 Puckett, and Tulledo. See ECF No. 4. The return of service indicated that all were served on 2 October 5, 2021. See id. 3 On October 29, 2021, Plaintiff requested entry of defaults as to Defendants 4 Dingman, Hanson, HCSD, Puckett, and Tulledo. See ECF No. 5. On November 1, 2021, 5 Plaintiff requested entry of default as to Defendant Bruce’s Towing. See ECF No. 6. On 6 November 3, 2021, the Clerk of the Court entered the defaults of Defendants Dingman, Hanson, 7 Puckett, and Tulledo. See ECF No. 7. On the same day, the Clerk of the Court declined to enter 8 defaults for Defendants HCSD and Bruce’s Towing because the record does not indicate proper 9 service for these defendants. See ECF Nos. 8 and 9. On November 8, 2021, Plaintiff filed new 10 returns of process for Defendants HCSD and Bruce’s Towing. See ECF Nos. 10 and 11. On the 11 same day, Plaintiff again requested entry of defaults as to Defendants HCSD and Bruce’s 12 Towing. See ECF No. 13. These defendants’ defaults were entered by the Clerk of the Court on 13 November 12, 2021. See ECF No. 14. On March 15, 2022, Defendant Bruce’s Towing was 14 dismissed pursuant to stipulation of the parties. See ECF No. 32. 15 Plaintiff sought default judgments as against Defendants Dingman, Puckett, 16 Hanson, Tulledo, and HCSD. See ECF Nos. 12 and 20. Defendants sought to set aside all 17 defaults entered on the docket by the Clerk of the Court. See ECF No. 15. On August 17, 2022, 18 the Court issued an order granting Defendants’ request to set aside defaults, denying Plaintiff’s 19 motions for default judgments, and directing Defendants to file a response to Plaintiff’s complaint 20 within 30 days. See ECF No. 34. Defendants timely filed separate answers on September 15, 21 2022. See ECF Nos. 41, 42, 43, 44, and 45. The answers as to each defendant are identical in 22 substance. 23 24 25 II. DISCUSSION Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) permits the Court, on its own motion or on 26 motion of a party, to “strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, 27 immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.” Affirmative defenses are only stricken when 28 they are insufficient on the face of the pleading. See Williams v. Jader Fuel Co., 944 F.2d 2 Case 2:21-cv-01726-KJM-DMC Document 58 Filed 11/21/22 Page 3 of 3 1 1388, 1400 (7th Cir. 1991). Motions to strike are disfavored and generally seen as a delaying 2 tactic given the limited importance of pleadings in federal court. See Shaterian v. Wells Fargo 3 Bank, N.A., 829 F. Supp. 2d 873, 879 (N.D. Cal. 2011). As such, courts generally require a 4 showing of prejudice. See Sanchez v. City of Fresno, 914 F. Supp. 2d 1079, 1122 (E.D. Cal. 5 2012). If there is doubt, the motion to strike should be denied. See Holmes v. Elec. Document 6 Processing, Inc., 966 F. Supp. 2d 925, 930 (N.D. Cal. 2013). 7 In his motion to strike – which is directed at each of the separate answers filed 8 on September 15, 2022 – Plaintiff argues that the asserted affirmative defenses “are devoid of 9 substantial, relevant, legally-applicable facts, with the great majority being mere ‘boilerplate,’ 10 so containing no facts in support thereof whatsoever.” ECF No. 46, pg. 2. Plaintiff has not, 11 however, identified any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter and a review 12 of Defendants’ answers reflects appropriate defenses. Further, Plaintiff has not demonstrated 13 how he would suffer prejudice in the absence of an order striking defenses. 14 III. CONCLUSION 15 16 17 Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion to strike, ECF No. 46, is denied. 18 19 Dated: November 18, 2022 ____________________________________ DENNIS M. COTA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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