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Airtex Manufacturing LLLP v. Boneso Brothers Construction, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Kansas

December 10, 2019

AIRTEX MANUFACTURING LLLP d/b/a Engineered Air, Plaintiff,
v.
BONESO BROTHERS CONSTRUCTION, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          CARLOS MURGUIA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Airtex Manufacturing LLLP, doing business as Engineered Air, provided defendant Boneso Brothers Construction, Inc. roof top air equipment. In turn, plaintiff expected under the parties' agreements to receive $1, 445, 114.00. Plaintiff instead received far less: $1, 372, 151.25 less. Or, so plaintiff alleges. (See generally Doc. 1-1.) In responding to plaintiff's allegations, defendant asserts various affirmative defenses. (See generally Doc. 7.) As to two of those affirmative defenses, plaintiff now moves the court either to strike the defenses or order defendant to state the defenses more definitely. Because the defenses afford plaintiff fair notice and require no responsive pleading, the court denies plaintiff's Motion To Strike Defendant's Affirmative Defenses Or Alternatively Motion For More Definite Statement (Doc. 10).

         I. Legal Standards

         A. Motion to Strike

         “[M]otions to strike are generally disfavored.” Constr. Indus. Laborers Pension Fund v. Explosive Contractors, Inc., No. 12-2624-EFM, 2013 WL 3984371, at *1 (D. Kan. 2013). Still, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) authorizes this court the discretion to strike from defendant's answer any “insufficient defense.” To be sufficient, a defense need not comply with “the pleading standards of Twombly and Iqbal.[1] Falley v. Friends Univ., 787 F.Supp.2d 1255, 1259 (D. Kan. 2011). Rather, a pleaded affirmative defense need only be “affirmatively state[d]” in “short and plain terms.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(b)(1)(a) & (c)(1); see also Ross, 2019 WL 5188673 at *1-*2. A defense so stated may be struck only if:

• “no circumstances exist under which it can succeed as a matter of law”;
• it fails “to provide the plaintiff with fair notice”; or
• it “has no possible relation to the controversy and may prejudice the opposing party.”

Falley, 787 F.Supp.2d at 1257. Striking an affirmative defense, however, is “a ‘drastic remedy.'” Id. at 1259 (quotation omitted). And at this litigation's early stage, “[t]he remedy for striking defenses . . . is often to allow amendment.” Id.

         B. Motion for a More Definite Statement

         Motions for a more definite statement are no less “disfavored.” Peterson v. Brownlee, 314 F.Supp.2d 1150, 1155-56 (D. Kan. 2004) (“Such motions are disfavored in light of the liberal discovery provided under the federal rules”). Still, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(e), a party authorized to respond to a pleading may move for a more definite statement of that pleading if that pleading is “so vague or ambiguous that the party cannot reasonably prepare a response.” The motion must “point out the defects complained of and the details desired.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e). But the court will not grant the motion “merely because the pleading lacks detail;” rather, the omitted but desired details must be reasonably necessary “to enable a responsive pleading in the form of a denial or admission.” Peterson, 314 F.Supp.2d at 1156.

         II. Plaintiffs Motion

         Plaintiffs motion focuses on these two of defendant's ...


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