United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
P. JORDAN III CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Daisy Wilkerson asks the Court to strike Defendant Johnson
Controls, Inc.'s (“JCI”) affirmative defenses
because they are insufficiently pleaded. See
Pl.'s Mot. . For the reasons that follow, the Court
grants Wilkerson's Motion to Strike  as to defenses
based on the Mississippi Constitution and
Ellerth/Faragher. The motion is otherwise denied.
Facts and Procedural Posture
filed her Complaint against JCI on October 25, 2017, alleging
that JCI violated the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”), see 42 U.S.C. § 12112,
when it failed to hire her. See Compl. . JCI
responded on December 20, 2017, asserting 19 affirmative
defenses. Def.'s Answer . Less than a month later-and
before any discovery-Wilkerson moved to strike 16 of
JCI's affirmative defenses asserting that they failed to
meet the pleading standard announced in Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) and Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). See
Pl.'s Mot. .
to strike fall under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f),
which states: “The court may strike from a pleading an
insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial,
impertinent, or scandalous matter.” “A Rule 12(f)
motion serves to ‘avoid the expenditure of time and
money that must arise from litigating spurious issues by
dispensing with those issues prior to trial.'”
Zytax, Inc. v. Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc.,
No. H-09-2582, 2010 WL 2219179, at *5 (S.D. Tex. May 28,
2010) (citations omitted).
said, “[m]otions to strike defenses are generally
disfavored and rarely granted.” Solis v.
Bruister, No. 4:10-CV-77-DPJ-FKB, 2012 WL 776028, at *7
(S.D.Miss. Mar. 8, 2012) (citation omitted). Such relief is
warranted only when the defense “cannot, as a matter of
law, succeed under any circumstance.” United States
v. Renda, 709 F.3d 472, 479 (5th Cir. 2013). And
“if there is a question of law or fact regarding a
particular defense, a court must deny a motion to
strike.” Bertoniere v. First Mark Homes, Inc.,
No. 2:09-CV-156-DCB-MTP, 2010 WL 729931, at *1 (S.D.Miss.
Feb. 25, 2010) (citations omitted).
a motion to strike “generally should not be granted
absent a showing of prejudice to the moving party.”
Conn v. United States, No. 3:10-CV-300-CWR, 2011 WL
2117969, at *5 (S.D.Miss. May 27, 2011); accord Davis v.
Hinds Cty., Miss., No. 3:16-CV-674-DPJ-FKB, 2017 WL
2269010, at *2 (S.D.Miss. May 23, 2017); see also 5C
Fed. Prac. & Proc. Civ. § 1382 (3d ed.) (noting
general agreement that Rule 12(f) motions should be denied
absent showing that defense “may cause some form of
the parties spend considerable time disputing the applicable
pleading standard for affirmative defenses. In Woodfield
v. Bowman, the Fifth Circuit stated that the standards
were the same for complaints and defenses, and as such,
defendants were required to “plead an affirmative
defense with enough specificity or factual particularity to
give the plaintiff ‘fair notice' of the defense
that is being advanced.” 193 F.3d 354, 362 (5th Cir.
course, Twombly redefined fair notice as it applies
to complaints filed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
8(a). To avoid Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, a plaintiff must
plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570. The question is whether Twombly should apply to
affirmative defenses under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
8(b) and (c) the same as it applies to complaints under Rule
8(a). Wilkerson says it must and that ruling otherwise would
analysis must start with the text of Rule 8, which reveals
that its subparts are not coterminous. Rule 8(a) governs
claims for relief and provides that such pleadings must
contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). But the “showing” required
under Rule 8(a) is not found in the rules governing defenses.
Specifically, Rule 8(b)(1) provides, “[A] party must .
. . state in short and plain terms its defenses to each claim
asserted against it, ” and 8(c)(1) says “a party
must affirmatively state any avoidance or affirmative
distinctions matter because Twombly was premised on
Rule 8(a)'s unique language. According to the Supreme
Court, the plausibility standard “reflects the
threshold requirement of Rule 8(a)(2) that the ‘plain
statement' possess enough heft to ‘sho[w] that
the pleader is entitled to relief.'”
Twombly, 550 U.S. ...