United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
Gibson, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
PARADISE BAXTER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Aaron Sloan ("Plaintiff) initiated this pro se
prisoner civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 on November 14, 2014, setting forth claims against
fifteen Defendants, and alleging that each violated his civil
rights during his incarceration at SCI Somerset from
September 2013 through November 12, 2014. ECF No. 1. In
particular, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants interfered with
and denied him access to his stored legal property in
violation of the Access to Courts and Petition Clauses of the
First Amendment to the United States Constitution; conspired
to retaliate against him for filing lawsuits and grievances
in violation of the First Amendment; and wrongfully destroyed
personal property in violation of Pennsylvania law. ECF No.
response to the complaint, Defendants filed a motion to
dismiss contending that Plaintiff failed to adequately plead
an access to courts claim, a negligence claim, a conspiracy
claim, and a retaliation claim, and failed to allege the
necessary personal involvement of Defendants Rozum,
Gerhlmann, Wingard, and Sroka.
review of Plaintiff s complaint and Defendants' motion,
the Court recommended that the motion to dismiss be denied as
to Plaintiffs retaliation and federal conspiracy claims, but
that Plaintiffs state and common law tort claims be dismissed
as barred by doctrine of sovereign immunity. It was further
recommended that Plaintiffs due process property loss claims
be dismissed due to the availability of a post-deprivation
remedy. ECF No. 30. Finally, the Court recommended dismissal
of Plaintiff s access to courts claim because Plaintiff
failed to plead facts sufficient to state a cognizable claim.
In particular, Plaintiff did not allege facts which would
permit the Court to determine whether Plaintiff suffered an
actual injury to any underlying claim, and failed to allege
the personal involvement of each named Defendant in the
purported denial of access. It was recommended that Plaintiff
be permitted to file an amended complaint to rectify the
deficiencies in his access to courts claim but, due to
futility, it was recommended that no amendment be permitted
to his property-related due process and state law claims.
Id. The District Court adopted each of these
recommendations by Order dated February 10, 2016.
repeated direction, Plaintiff filed his amended complaint on
July 27, 2016. ECF Nos. 32, 33, 36, 43, 45, 46. Defendants
were granted an extension of time to respond, and on December
12, 2016, Defendants filed the pending Motion to Strike
Plaintiffs Amended Complaint. ECF Nos. 48, 54. Plaintiff has
filed his response to the motion to strike [ECF No. 55] and
the motion is now ripe for review by this
have filed a motion to strike Plaintiffs amended complaint
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f), contending that much of the
42-page document contains irrelevant allegations of fact,
attempts to assert new claims, and otherwise fails to remedy
the deficiencies of Plaintiff s access to courts claim, as
required by the Court's prior Recommendation and Order.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) authorizes courts to
"strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any
redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous
matter." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f). Although courts possess
'considerable discretion in disposing of a motion to
strike under Rule 12(f), such motions are not favored and
usually will be denied unless the allegations have no
possible relation to the controversy and may cause prejudice
to one of the parties, or if the allegations confuse the
issue in the case.'" Freedom from Religion
Foundation, Inc. v. Connellsville Area School District
2013 WL 869663, at * (W.D. Pa. Mar.7, 2013) quoting
Thornton v. UL Enterprises. LLC. 2010 WL 1005021, at *2
(W.D. Pa. Mar. 16, 2010). "Striking some or all of a
pleading is therefore considered a drastic remedy to be
resorted to only when required for the purposes of
contend the amended complaint, in its entirety, should be
stricken as containing immaterial and impertinent matter to
the extent that the document fails to cure deficiencies as
previously articulated by the Court. "Immaterial"
matter is that which has no essential or important
relationship to the claim for relief. Del. Health Care
Inc. v. MCD Holding Co., 893 F.Supp. 1279 (D.Del. 1995).
"Impertinent" matter "consists of statements
that do not pertain, and are not necessary, to the issues in
question." Zaloga v. Provident Life & Accident
Ins. Co. of America, 671 F.Supp.2d 623, 633 (M.D. Pa.
Nov.24, 2009) quoting Donnelly v. Commonwealth Fin.
Sys, 2008 WL 762085, at *4 (M.D. Pa. Mar.20, 2008).
to strike must be decided on the pleadings alone. Hanover
Ins. Co. v. Ryan, 619 F.Supp.2d 127, 132 (E.D.Pa. 2007).
Because such motions are disfavored, they typically are not
granted unless the material to be stricken bears no possible
relationship to the controversy and may cause prejudice to
one of the parties. Zaloga, 671 F.Supp.2d at 633,
citing Hanover Ins., 619 F.Supp.2d at 133 and
Miller v. Group Voyagers, Inc., 912 F.Supp. 164, 168
such is not the case. While Plaintiffs amended complaint is
prolix and difficult to follow, it is neither impertinent nor
immaterial to the access to courts claims.
Court has previously determined, Plaintiffs retaliation and
federal conspiracy claims are sufficiently pled. This Court
expresses no opinion as to whether Plaintiffs access to
courts claim is sufficiently pled, only that the allegations
of the amended ...