Fehrenbach v. Accounts Receivable, Inc

Filing 10

ORDER denying Plaintiff's 7 Motion to Strike Affirmative Defenses signed by U.S. District Judge John C Coughenour. (TH)

Download PDF
THE HONORABLE JOHN C. COUGHENOUR 1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 7 8 9 CHARITY FEHRENBACH, 10 Plaintiff, ORDER v. 11 12 CASE NO. C18-0286-JCC ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE, INC., 13 Defendant. 14 15 This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff’s motion to strike Defendant’s 16 affirmative defenses (Dkt. No. 7). Having thoroughly considered the parties’ briefing and the 17 relevant record, the Court DENIES the motion for the reasons explained herein. 18 Plaintiff filed a complaint in King County Superior Court alleging that Defendant 19 engaged in unlawful debt-collection practices. (Dkt. No. 1-1.) Defendant removed the matter to 20 this Court. (Dkt. No. 1.) Plaintiff now moves to strike the seven affirmative defenses included in 21 Defendant’s answer, alleging they are no more than placeholder defenses that do not provide 22 Plaintiff notice of their nature and grounds. (Dkt. No. 7 at 3); (see Dkt. No. 3 at 7) (Defendant’s 23 answer). 24 While motions to strike are disfavored, the Court has discretion to “strike from a pleading 25 an insufficient defense.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(f); see Cortina v. Goya Foods, Inc., 94 F. Supp. 3d 26 1174, 1182 (S.D. Cal. 2015). A defense is “insufficient” if it fails to provide a plaintiff fair notice ORDER C18-0286-JCC PAGE - 1 1 of the defense raised. Simmons v. Navajo Cty., 609 F.3d 1011, 1023 (9th Cir. 2010) (citing 2 Wyshak v. City Nat’l Bank, 607 F.2d 824, 827 (9th Cir. 1979)). 1 “The function of a 12(f) motion 3 to strike is to avoid the expenditure of time and money that must arise from litigating spurious 4 issues by dispensing with those issues prior to trial.” Fantasy, Inc. v. Fogerty, 984 F.2d 1524, 5 1527 (9th Cir. 1993) (quotation marks and indications of alteration omitted), overruled on other 6 grounds by Fogerty v. Fantasy, Inc., 510 U.S. 517 (1994). 7 In arguing to strike, Plaintiff relies on prior rulings from courts in this district. (Dkt. No. 7 8 at 1–2) (citing Villa v. Genesis Credit Mgmt., LLC, Case No. C17-0872-TSZ, slip op. at 1 (W.D. 9 Wash. Aug. 14, 2017); Dawson v. Genesis Credit Mgmt., LLC, Case No. C17-0638-JCC, slip op. 10 at 1–2 (W.D. Wash. June 26, 2017)). But those rulings are distinguishable. There, the defendants 11 alleged a laundry list of affirmative defenses without any factual support or specificity. See Villa, 12 Case No. C17-0872-TSZ, Dkt. No. 4 at 8–9; Dawson, Case No. C17-0638-JCC, Dkt. No. 10 at 13 5–6. Here, Defendant articulates sufficient facts, albeit often on information and belief, to put 14 Plaintiff on notice as to the nature and grounds of its defenses. (See Dkt. No. 3 at 7); see also 15 Park v. Thompson, 851 F.3d 910, 928 (9th Cir. 2017) (claims may be asserted based on facts 16 gleaned on information and belief). 17 While Defendant’s final defense—reserving the right to assert additional defenses—is a 18 placeholder, the Court views this as no more than a statement of uncontroverted fact. (See Dkt. 19 No. 3 at 7.) To the extent the rules permit it, Defendant may assert additional defenses. To the 20 extent the rules do not, Defendant may not. Therefore, the Court finds no need to strike this 21 defense. 22 23 24 25 26 For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s motion to strike (Dkt. No. 11) is DENIED. // 1 Plaintiff suggests that the Court should apply Iqbal/Twombly’s heightened standard to the pleading of affirmative defenses. (Dkt. No. 7 at 5 n.2.) Like other courts in this district, the Court declines to do so. See Christian v. Rent Recovery Sols., LLC, Case No. C17-0866-RSL, slip op. at 1–2 (W.D. Wash. Oct 2, 2017). ORDER C18-0286-JCC PAGE - 2 1 DATED this 11th day of April 2018. A 2 3 4 John C. Coughenour UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 ORDER C18-0286-JCC PAGE - 3

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?