SSM Managed Care Organization, L.L.C. v. Comprehensive Behavioral Care, Inc.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs motion to strike defendants answer is GRANTED. Doc. 48 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the answer of defendant Comprehensive Behavioral Care, Inc. is STRICKEN from the record. Doc. 16 IT IS F URTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall mail a copy of this Memorandum and Order to defendant Comprehensive Behavioral Care, Inc., c/o Clark A. Marcus, 3405 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Suite 101, Tampa, Florida 33607. Signed by District Judge Charles A. Shaw on 1/22/2014. (RAK)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
SSM MANAGED CARE ORGANIZATION, )
COMPREHENSIVE BEHAVIORAL CARE, )
No. 4:12-CV-2386 CAS
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on plaintiff’s motion to strike defendant’s answer. For the
following reasons, the Court will grant plaintiff’s motion to strike.
Plaintiff filed this action against defendant for breach of a Facility Provider Agreement.
Defendant appeared in this action and filed its answer through attorneys Nicole Galli and Stephen
Ferguson of the law firm Benesch and Friedlander and attorney Jordan Ault of the law firm Husch
Blackwell, LLP. The parties submitted a joint scheduling plan on April 12, 2013, and the Court
issued a Case Management Order on April 17, 2013. The case was scheduled for court-ordered
mediation on November 19, 2013.
On November 4, 2013, defendant’s counsel filed motions to withdraw. Counsel stated that
defendant has not abided by the client agreements with the attorneys’ law firms, “which has created
irreconcilable differences between [the law firms] and [defendant] CompCare that have not been
resolved.” On December 5, 2013, after a hearing, the Court held the motions in abeyance, and
ordered defendant to obtain substitute counsel no later than January 6, 2014. Defendant did not
obtain substitute counsel by January 6, 2014. The Court granted defense counsel’s motions to
withdraw on January 16, 2014. In response to the Court’s order of January 16, 2014, plaintiff’s
counsel filed, inter alia, a motion to strike defendant’s pleadings.
Motions to strike are properly directed only to pleadings. 2 James W. Moore, et al., Moore’s
Federal Practice §12.37 (3rd ed. 2012). Motions to strike are not favored and are infrequently
granted, because they propose a drastic remedy. Stanbury Law Firm v. Internal Revenue Service,
221 F.3d 1059, 1063 (8th Cir. 2000). Nonetheless, resolution of such a motion lies within the broad
discretion of the Court. Id. A corporation is an artificial entity that can only act through agents,
cannot appear pro se, and must be represented by counsel. Rowland v. California Men’s Colony,
506 U.S. 194, 201-02 (1993). “Entry of a default judgment is appropriate where a defendant
corporation fails to comply with a court order to obtain counsel.” Woods v. KC Masterpiece, No.
4:04-CV-936 CAS, slip op. at 1 (E.D. Mo. May 14, 2006) (quoting R. Maganlal & Co. v. M.G.
Chem. Co., Inc., No. 88 CIV. 4896 MJL THK, 1996 WL 715526 at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 12, 1996));
see Top Sales, Inc. v. Designer Vans, Inc., No. CIV.A. 3:96-CV-0721, 1997 WL 786254 at *2 (N.D.
Tex. Dec. 11, 1997) (court grants counsel’s motion to withdraw and orders defendant corporation
to retain substitute counsel or risk having its pleadings stricken and default judgment entered against
Based on the foregoing, the Court will strike defendant’s answer. Defendant has failed to
comply with the Court’s order of December 5, 2013, and based on defendant’s inaction since early
November 2013, it is apparent that defendant will not comply with the Court’s order in the future.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion to strike defendant’s answer is
GRANTED. [Doc. 48]
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the answer of defendant Comprehensive Behavioral
Care, Inc. is STRICKEN from the record. [Doc. 16]
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall mail a copy of this
Memorandum and Order to defendant Comprehensive Behavioral Care, Inc., c/o Clark A. Marcus,
3405 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Suite 101, Tampa, Florida 33607.
CHARLES A. SHAW
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 22nd day of January, 2014.
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