Logan v. Charter Communications, LLC
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER. (See Full Order.) IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that defendant's motion to strike [# 7 ] is denied. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to amend her petition to fix her typographical errors and remove a reference to the wrong defendant employer [# 15 ] is granted. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2). Signed by District Judge Catherine D. Perry on 03/11/2015. (CBL)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
Case No. 4:15 CV 246 CDP
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This action is before the Court on defendant Charter Communications,
LLC’s motion to strike most of the petition. Charter argues that nearly all of the
allegations that appear in plaintiff Samantha Logan’s petition were copied
verbatim from an unrelated lawsuit. As such, according to Charter, they should be
stricken as “immaterial” under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(f). For her part, Logan admits
that she “borrow[ed] heavily” from the complaint in the unrelated lawsuit, but she
denies that the borrowing alone demonstrates that there is no factual foundation for
her allegations. Logan’s counsel has filed an affidavit indicating that his client has
provided him with “the necessary factual statements to support the allegations”
made in the complaint. Additionally, plaintiff has filed a motion for leave to
amend to remove an incorrect reference to a non-party.
Striking a party’s pleading under Rule 12(f) “is an extreme and disfavored
measure.” See BJC Health Sys. v. Columbia Cas. Co., 478 F.3d 908, 917 (8th Cir.
2007); see also 5C Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, FEDERAL PRACTICE &
PROCEDURE § 1382 (3d ed. 2009) (motions to strike generally “should be denied
unless the challenged allegations have no possible relation or logical connection to
the subject matter of the controversy and may cause some form of significant
prejudice”). The party moving to strike bears the burden of demonstrating why the
challenged allegations should be stricken. E.g., Sw. Bell Tel., L.P. v. Mo. Pub.
Serv. Comm’n, 461 F. Supp. 2d 1055, 1064 (E.D. Mo. 2006). Here, Charter has
not shown Logan lacks personal knowledge to support her allegations, so it has not
shown that the copied allegations are immaterial. I will therefore deny Charter’s
motion to strike.
Charter argues broadly that a party who copies allegations from another
pleading should be penalized in one way or another, whether by striking or
dismissing the offending pleading or by imposing sanctions. But even in the main
case relied on by Charter, Brown v. Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., the district
court recognized that “copying itself is not problematic.” 276 F.R.D. 599, 604 (D.
Minn. 2011). What was problematic in Brown was that the plaintiff had no
knowledge to substantiate the facts she had alleged. In that case plaintiff’s
importing language from another pleading was evidence that her allegations had no
basis in fact. Putting aside Brown’s questionable applicability,1 the sanctionable
conduct in that case was not copying allegations but rather filing a complaint that
the plaintiff “knew or should have known lacked evidentiary support for many (if
not most) of its allegations.” Id. at 606. Here, Logan’s adoption of language from
another complaint does not necessarily mean that she lacks knowledge to support
her allegations against Charter. If it later turns out that Logan had no factual basis
for the claims she has made, Charter is welcome to file additional motions, as long
as they comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Based on the foregoing,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that defendant’s motion to strike [#7] is
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion to amend her
petition to fix her typographical errors and remove a reference to the wrong
defendant employer [#15] is granted. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2).
CATHERINE D. PERRY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 11th day of March, 2015.
Brown concerned Rule 11, which requires some inter-party communication before a motion is
filed in court. See Rule 11(c)(2). Here, it appears that Charter did not meaningfully discuss its
objections with Logan before moving to strike her petition. Rule 12(f) does not mandate such
communication, but the fact that it did not happen here distinguishes Brown from this case.
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