Naes v. City of St. Louis, Missouri et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER : For the foregoing reasons, Defendants' Motion to Strike Portions of Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 28 ) is DENIED.Signed by District Judge Sarah E. Pitlyk on 10/13/20. (ARL)
Case: 4:19-cv-02132-SEP Doc. #: 38 Filed: 10/13/20 Page: 1 of 3 PageID #: 151
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS, et al.,
Case No. 4:19-cv-02132-SEP
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on a Motion to Strike Portions of Plaintiff’s Second
Amended Complaint submitted by Defendants City of St. Louis (“City”), Major Angela Coonce,
and Chief John Hayden (collectively, “Defendants”). Doc. . The motion is fully briefed. 1
For the reasons set forth below, the motion is denied.
A court may “strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial,
impertinent, or scandalous matter.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(f). “Striking a party’s pleading . . . is an
extreme and disfavored measure.” BJC Health Sys. v. Columbia Cas. Co., 478 F.3d 908, 917
(8th Cir. 2007) (citing Stanbury Law Firm, P.A. v. IRS, 221 F.3d 1059, 1063 (8th Cir. 2000)).
Motions to strike are infrequently granted, but resolution of such a motion lies within the broad
discretion of the Court. Stanbury, 221 F.3d at 1063.
On March 30, 2020—after this motion was briefed—Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint
(Doc. ) adding claims under the Missouri Human Rights Act, which he could not have included
earlier because he was awaiting his Right to Sue letter from the Missouri Commission on Human Rights.
Doc. . The parties requested that the Court apply previously filed motions to the Second Amended
Complaint, id., which request the Court granted on April 1, 2020. Doc. .
Case: 4:19-cv-02132-SEP Doc. #: 38 Filed: 10/13/20 Page: 2 of 3 PageID #: 152
“To prevail on a motion to strike, 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 defendants.” Laney v. City of St. Louis, No. 4:18-CV-1575 CDP, 2019 WL 2423308, at *8
(E.D. Mo. June 10, 2019) (quoting Aldridge v. City of St. Louis, No. 4:18-CV-1677 CAS, 2019
WL 1695982, at *15 (E.D. Mo. Apr. 17, 2019). “If there is any doubt whether the matter may
raise an issue, the motion should be denied.” Tucker v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 1:06-CV-19
CAS, 2006 WL 1134712, at *4 (E.D. Mo. Apr. 26, 2006) (citing 2 James W. Moore et al.,
Moore’s Federal Practice § 12.37 (3d ed. 2005)). “If allegations are redundant or immaterial,
they should be stricken only if prejudicial to the moving party.” Id.
Defendants seek to strike ¶¶ 12-21 of Plaintiff Louis Naes’s Second Amended Complaint
(Doc. ). Those ten paragraphs concern Randy Grim, the founder of Stray Rescue STL. Naes
claims that Grim was involved in illegal activities and that he made racist and anti-heterosexual
comments. Naes also refers to Grim’s own sexual orientation, suggesting a kinship on that basis
with Defendant Coonce. Defendants argue that, since Grim is neither a City employee nor a
party to this case, the “immaterial, impertinent, and scandalous” accusations against him should
be struck. Doc.  at 2. They further argue that Grim’s alleged comments are not probative of
issues related to Naes’s sex discrimination claim and were allegedly made before Hayden
became police chief. Id. at 3. Finally, Defendants argue that it is an unnecessary burden on
Defendants if they are forced to answer allegations concerning the behavior of a non-party/nonemployee over whom Defendants have no control. Id.
Naes responds that ¶¶ 12-21 “support [Naes’s] claims that he was not removed and
reappointed to his position based upon any alleged deficiencies in his job performance to support
Case: 4:19-cv-02132-SEP Doc. #: 38 Filed: 10/13/20 Page: 3 of 3 PageID #: 153
his discrimination claim.” Doc.  at 4. He argues that the allegations provide a partial basis
for “Coonce’s gender-based animus against [him],” and that the evidence will show that Coonce
“has a bias and prejudice against men who conform to traditional male stereotypes, like [Naes],
while having a bias in favor of (to include protecting) those who do not [i.e., Grim].” Id.
Defendants have not met the high bar required to strike portions of Naes’s complaint.
According to Naes, Grim’s alleged conduct and comments support Naes’s claim that Defendant
Coonce is biased against men who conform to traditional male stereotypes, such as Naes. This is
“important context and background” to Naes’s lawsuit. Stanbury, 221 F.3d at 1063. Given
Grim’s alleged statements about having the last laugh when Coonce is in charge, and the speed
with which Naes alleges that Coonce “had him removed” from his detective assignment after
Coonce’s promotion, the Court finds that the disputed paragraphs have some “bearing on the
subject matter” of this suit. Moore et al., supra, § 12.37. Therefore, the Court declines to
take the “extreme and disfavored measure” of striking them. BJC Health Sys., 478 F.3d at 917.
For the foregoing reasons, Defendants’ Motion to Strike Portions of Plaintiff’s Second
Amended Complaint (Doc. ) is DENIED.
Dated this 13th day of October, 2020.
SARAH E. PITLYK
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?