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Lane v. McLean

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

March 29, 2018

MICHAEL LANE, Plaintiff,
v.
TROY MCLEAN, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ROBERT D. MARIANI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On March 8, 2017, Plaintiff Michael R. Lane filed a Complaint in the above-captioned action against Troy S. McLean and TransAm Trucking, Inc., wherein he alleged Negligence (Counts I, II) and Negligent Entrustment (Count III) against the Defendants as the result of a tractor-trailer motor vehicle collision that occurred on January 24, 2017. (Doc. 1). Defendants thereafter filed a Motion to Strike Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f) (Doc. 7) and a supporting brief (Doc. 8), requesting that the Court "dismiss part of, or in the entirety, " 12 paragraphs in Plaintiffs 51 paragraph Complaint. Plaintiff filed a brief in opposition to Defendants' motion (Doc. 10), to which Defendants replied (Doc. 13).

         Defendants' Motion to Strike Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f) (Doc. 7) having been fully briefed, it is now ripe for resolution. For the reasons that follow, the Court will deny Defendants' motion in its entirety.

         II. Standard of Review

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12 provides that a "court may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f).

District courts are afforded considerable discretion when addressing a motion to strike. Generally, motions to strike 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 issues.

Yellow Book Sales & Distrib. Co., Inc. v. White, 2011 WL 830520, at *4 (E.D. Pa. 2011) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). See also, N. Penn Transfer, Inc. v. Victaulic Co. of Am., 859 F.Supp. 154, 158 (E.D. Pa. 1994). "Indeed, striking a pleading 'is a drastic remedy to be resorted to only when required for the purposes of justice' and should be used 'sparingly.'" DeLa Cruz v. Piccari Press, 521 F.Supp.2d 424, 428 (E.D. Pa. 2007) (quoting N. Penn Transfer, Inc., 859 F.Supp. at 158); see also Pozarlik v. Camelback Assocs., Inc., 2011 WL 6003841, at *3 (M.D. Pa. 2011) ("[T]he standard for striking portions of a plaintiffs complaint 'is strict and only allegations that are so unrelated to the plaintiffs' claims as to be unworthy of any consideration should be stricken'") (quoting Johnson v. Anhorn, 334 F.Supp.2d 802, 809 (E.D. Pa. 2004)) (internal alterations omitted).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Defendants request that the Court "dismiss part of, or in the entirety, paragraphs 1, 8, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32, 34, and 46 of Plaintiff's Complaint." (Doc. 7, at 1). In support of this request, Defendants, in their Memorandum of Law in Support of their Motion to Strike, divide their argument into five sections with each section addressing specific paragraphs which Defendants contend should be stricken and set forth their reasons for so arguing. Specifically, Defendants argue the following:

1. References to Defendant McLean having been charged with a criminal violation of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code, being "in blatant violation of Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code at section 3742", and being apprehended by the Pennsylvania State Police are all scandalous and immaterial matters and thus those allegations within paragraphs 1 and 46 of the Complaint should be stricken and paragraph 34 should be stricken in its entirety. (Doc. 8, at 3).
2. Plaintiffs inclusion of TransAm's website address and certain language contained on the website in its "About TransAm" section are irrelevant, immaterial, and have no essential or important relationship to the claim for relief and therefore paragraph 8 of the Complaint should be stricken in its entirety. (Id. at 4).
3. References to Defendant McLean failing to render aid to Plaintiff after the accident at issue are scandalous, immaterial, prejudicial, and have no essential or important relationship to the claims of relief and thus paragraphs 24, 30, and 31 of the Complaint should be stricken in their entirety, (Id.).
4. References to Defendant McLean failing to report an accident are scandalous, immaterial, prejudicial, and have no essential or important relationship to the claims of relief and thus paragraphs 25 and 32 of the Complaint ...

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