Wills v. Paccar, Inc. et al
ORDER - The Motion for a More Definite Statement (Filing No. 19 ) is denied. Ordered by Magistrate Judge Susan M. Bazis. (GJG)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA
PACCAR, INC., KENWORTH TRUCK
COMPANY, and CUMMINS INC.,
This matter is before the Court on Defendant Cummins Inc.’s (“Cummins”) Motion for a
More Definite Statement (Filing No. 19). For the reasons explained below, the motion will be
Plaintiff filed suit against Cummins, PACCAR, Inc., and Kenworth Truck Company in
the District Court of Douglas County, Nebraska on October 26, 2016. (Filing No. 1.) The action
was removed to this Court on November 28, 2016. (Id.)
The Complaint seeks relief for a series of alleged defects with a Kenworth truck
purchased by Plaintiff. The truck is equipped with a Cummins diesel engine. Plaintiff asserts
claims for breach of express and implied warranties, as well as a claim under Nebraska’s Lemon
Law, codified at Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-2701, et seq.
Cummins requests that the Court order Plaintiff to file an Amended Complaint setting
forth a more definite statement of his Lemon Law claim made against Cummins pursuant to Fed.
R. Civ. P. 12(e). Plaintiff opposes the motion.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(e) permits a motion for a more definite statement if a
pleading “is so vague or ambiguous that the party cannot reasonably prepare a response.” Fed.
R. Civ. P. 12(e). However, motions for a more definite statement are rarely granted “in light of
the liberal notice pleading standard of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 and the liberal
discovery available to both sides.” Lemp v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, No. 8:08CV35, 2008
WL 2276935, *2 (D. Neb. May 30, 2008). See also Geir v. Educational Service Unit No. 16,
144 F.R.D. 680, 685 (D. Neb. 1992) (“Motions under Rule 12(e) are designed to strike at
unintelligibility in a pleading rather than want of detail”). Rule 8 only requires that a complaint
contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Therefore, “[w]here information sought by the party moving for a more
definite statement is available or properly sought through discovery, the motion should be
denied.” Oceanic Cablevision, Inc. v. M.D. Electric, 771 F. Supp. 1019, 1022 (D. Neb. 1991).
Cummins maintains that because Plaintiff has combined its Lemon Law allegations
against all Defendants under one count in the Complaint, it cannot ascertain which allegations
are actually directed at Cummins. Cummins requests that Plaintiff be ordered to amend the
Complaint and state the following in separately numbered paragraphs: (1) which alleged defects
Plaintiff contends are associated with the Cummins engine; (2) whether Plaintiff provided
Cummins with prior written direct notification by certified mail; and (3) whether Plaintiff
afforded Cummins a reasonable number of attempts to cure the specific defects for which
Cummins is allegedly responsible. (Filing No. 20 at CM/ECF p. 2.)
The Court has reviewed the Complaint and finds that the allegations are sufficient to
inform Cummins of the claims against it. In fact, Cummins has already filed an Answer to the
Complaint, and has denied the allegations pertaining to the Lemon Law claim. (Filing No. 21.)
Although the Complaint may not specifically allege which Defendant committed which
particular acts, additional detail (including the information Cummins wants added to the
Complaint) can be obtained through discovery. See Lemp, 2008 WL 2276935, at *2 (denying
motion for more definite statement where complaint did not specifically allege which defendant
committed which particular acts because additional specificity could be obtained in discovery).
IT IS ORDERED that the Motion for a More Definite Statement (Filing No. 19) is
Dated this 15th day of February, 2017.
BY THE COURT:
s/ Susan M. Bazis
United States Magistrate Judge
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