United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. CARLSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
case has been referred to the undersigned for the purpose of
addressing discovery disputes and other pre-trial matters.
(Doc. 96). On November 16, 2019, Prime Energy filed a motion
to submit a reply brief in support of a discovery motion
which it had filed. (Doc. 112). Prime Energy then filed its
proposed reply brief along with this motion without awaiting
leave of court to do so. (Doc. 113). One month later, on
December 20, 2019, plaintiffs counsel tendered a letter to
the court, with a copy to opposing counsel, which addressed
the pending motions in this case. This correspondence was not
placed on the docket in this case. These submissions by Prime
Energy have, in turn, inspired the defendants to file three
motions to strike this reply brief and correspondence. (Docs.
115, 117 and 118). For the reasons set forth below, we will
DENY these motions to strike but provide all parties with
future guidance regarding filings in this case.
12(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs motions
to strike pleadings and provides, in part, that:
(f) Motion to Strike. The court may strike
from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant,
immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(f).
rulings on motions to strike rest in the sound discretion of
the court, Von Bulow v. Von Bulow, 657 F.Supp. 1134,
1146 (S.D.N.Y. 1987), that discretion is guided by certain
basic principles. Because striking a pleading is viewed as a
drastic remedy, such motions are "generally
disfavored." Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical
Sales, Inc. v. Avondale Shipyards, Inc., 677 F.2d 1045,
1057 (C.A. La., 1982). As one court has aptly observed:
[S]triking a party's pleadings is an extreme measure,
and, as a result, .. . "[m]otions to strike under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f) are viewed with disfavor and are
infrequently granted." Lunsford v. United
States, 570 F.2d 221, 229 (8th Cir. 1977) (citing 5
Wright & Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure.
Civil § 1380 at 783 (1969)). See also,
Resolution Trust Corp. v. Gibson 829 F.Supp. 1103, 1106
(W.D.Mo.1993); 2 James Wm. Moore et al., Moore's
Federal Practice § l2.37[l] (3d ed. 2000).
Stanbury Law Firm v. IR.S., 22lF.3d 1059, 1063 (8th
Cir. 2000). In practice, courts should exercise this
discretion and strike pleadings only when those pleadings are
both "redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or
scandalous" and prejudicial to the opposing party.
Ruby v. Davis Foods, Inc., 269 F.3d 818, 820 (7th
consistent with this sparing approach urged by the courts
with respect to motions to strike, those
"pleadings" that may be subject to a motion to
strike are construed narrowly. Recognizing that briefs are,
by their nature, argumentative and sometimes contentious
filings, it is generally held that a brief- as opposed to
other forms of pleadings-typically will not be considered a
"pleading" which is properly the subject of a
motion to strike. Hrubec v. National R.R. Passenger
Corp., 829 F.Supp. 1502, 1506 (N.D. 111. 1993) (citing
Anna Ready Mix, Inc. v. N.E. Pierson Const Co., 747
F.Supp. 1299, 1303 (S.D. 111. 1990) and Board of
Education v. Admiral Heating and Ventilation, Inc., 94
F.R.D. 300, 304 (N.D. 111. 1982)).
case, we conclude that the subject matter of these various
motions to strike-a proposed reply brief and correspondence
from counsel-are not so irrelevant and highly prejudicial
that they should be stricken from the record in this case.
Therefore, while we will order the clerk to place plaintiff
counsel's December 20, 2019 letter on the docket, and
will instruct all parties that any future correspondence,
pleadings, or filings should be placed upon the docket, we
will DENY the motions to strike these items. Instead,
recognizing the defendant's desire to ...