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Motion to strike affirmative defenses under Rule 12(f) in answers in United States District Court

Filing a motion to strike the affirmative defenses contained in an answer in United States District Court civil litigation pursuant to Rule 12(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is the topic of this blog post. A motion to strike affirmative defenses is generally made on the grounds that none of the affirmative defenses in the answer state a sufficient defense, and that the allegations are not relevant to the causes of action in the complaint and constitute immaterial allegations which should be stricken.

Rule 12(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states in pertinent part that a district court “may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.”

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that “The function of a 12(f) motion to strike is to avoid the expenditure of time and money that must arise from litigating spurious issues by dispensing with those issues prior to trial . . . .” Fantasy, Inc. v. Fogerty, 984 F.2d 1524, 1527 (9th Cir. 1993) (overruled on other grounds in Fogerty v. Fantasy, Inc., 510 U.S. 517 (1994).

The Ninth Circuit has defined “immaterial” matter as “that which has no essential or important relationship to the claim for relief or the defenses being pleaded.” Fantasy, Inc. v. Fogerty, 984 F.2d, supra at 1527 (9th Cir.1993) (internal citation omitted) (overruled on other grounds, Fogerty v. Fantasy, Inc., 510 U.S. 517 (1994).

While motions to strike under Rule 12(f) are disfavored, a very good argument can be made that any answer that contains affirmative defenses that are insufficient, or contain immaterial allegations should be stricken to avoid having to litigate spurious issues.  Many plaintiffs are filing motions to strike deficient or immaterial affirmative defenses contained in answers to their complaints.

Any plaintiff who has been served with an answer by a defendant that contains affirmative defenses that do not state a sufficient defense and allegations that are not relevant to the causes of action in the complaint and are immaterial allegations should consider filing a motion to strike under Rule 12(f).

Attorneys or parties in civil litigation in United States District Court who wish to view a sample motion to strike affirmative defenses in an answer pursuant to Rule 12(f) can see below.

 

Attorneys or parties that would like more information on a Federal litigation document package containing 42 sample documents including a sample Motion to strike affirmative defenses under Rule 12(f) can use the link shown below.

Federal litigation document package

The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995.

If you enjoy this blog post, tell others about it. They can subscribe to the author’s weekly California and Federal legal newsletter by visiting the following link: http://www.legaldocspro.net/newsletter.htm

To view all of the sample legal documents for use in California and Federal Courts sold by the author of this blog post visit http://www.scribd.com/legaldocspro/documents

Copyright 2013 Stan Burman. All rights reserved.

<strong>DISCLAIMER:</strong>

Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

These materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

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