United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
MELISSA RIVERA AND RICARDO SILVA, SR.
JENNIFER ROBINSON, ET AL
ORDER AND REASONS
ANN VIAL LEMMON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
HEREBY ORDERED that defendants' Joint Rule 12(f) Motion
to Strike Allegations and Exhibits (Rec. Doc. 19) is GRANTED
with respect to all challenged allegations and exhibits
except allegations relating to Robinson's statements to
the police regarding witnesses to the accident, and the State
Farm and Church Mutual insurance policies, as more fully set
action stems from a motorcycle-automobile accident that
occurred on August 25, 2018. The son of plaintiffs',
Ricardo Silva, Jr., was driving his motorcycle southbound on
Highway 1082 in Covington, Louisiana; defendant Jennifer
Robinson was driving her automobile northbound. Despite the
fact that they were approaching one another head on, Robinson
did not see Silva, and made a left turn into her driveway.
Silva collided with the rear right side of Robinson's
vehicle. Silva was transported by ambulance to St. Tammany
Parish Hospital, where he died approximately one hour later.
parents filed the instant wrongful death suit, and defendants
answered and filed the instant motion, seeking to strike
certain allegations of the complaint, as well as to strike
the voluminous exhibits attached to the complaint.
allegations defendants seek to strike are as follows: (1)
allegations regarding the fact that Robinson was not wearing
a seatbelt at the time of the crash; (2) allegations that
Robinson had a sun shade on her driver's side window
drawn down at the time of the crash; (3) allegations that
Robinson lied to police regarding witnesses to the accident;
and (4) allegations regarding a claim for loss of future
grandchildren. The exhibits defendants seek to strike consist
of photographs and videos, the coroner's report,
plaintiffs' expert report, the police report, four
insurance policies, and Silva's birth and death
Rule 12(f) standard
Rule 12(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court
may strike “from any pleading any insufficient defense
or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous
matter.” Striking a pleading is generally disfavored,
and it is "a drastic remedy to be resorted to only when
required for the purposes of justice [and] should be granted
only when the pleading to be stricken has no possible
relation to the controversy.” Augustus v. Bd. of Pub.
Instruction of Escambia Cty., Fla., 306 F.2d 862, 868 (5th
Cir. 1962) (quotation omitted); see also, United States v.
Coney, 689 F.3d 365, 379 (5th Cir. 2012). The court cannot
decide a disputed issue of fact on a motion to strike.
Augustus, 306 F.2d at 868. Further, the court should not
determine disputed and substantial questions of law when
there is no showing of prejudicial harm to the moving party.
Id. “Under such circumstances the court
[should] defer action on the motion and leave the sufficiency
of the allegations for determination on the merits.”
motions to strike are disfavored and infrequently granted,
striking certain allegations can be appropriate when they
have no possible relation to the controversy and may cause
prejudice to one of the parties." American S. Ins. Co.
v. Buckley, 748 F.Supp.2d 610, 626-27 (E.D. Tex. 2010).
District courts possess considerable discretion in ruling on
a motion to strike. Id. at 627 (citations omitted).
usually clear on the face of the pleadings whether the
challenged matter should be stricken under Rule 12(f).
“Redundant" matter consists of allegations that
constitute “a needless repetition of other averments in
the pleadings.” 5C Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R.
Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1382 (3d ed.
2004). “Immaterial” matter is that which
“has no essential or important relationship to the
claim for relief or the defenses being pleaded, ” such
as superfluous historical allegations, “or a statement
of unnecessary particulars in connection with and descriptive
of that which is material.” Id.
“Impertinent” matter overlaps with
“immaterial” matter and “consists of
statements that do not pertain, and are not necessary, to the
issues in question.” Id. Finally,
“scandalous” matter “improperly casts a
derogatory light on someone, most typically on a party to the
action[, ]” but “it is not enough that the matter
offends the sensibilities of the objecting party or the
person who is the subject of the statements in the pleading,
if the challenged allegations describe acts or events that
are relevant to the action.” Id. Any doubt
about whether the challenged material is redundant,
immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous should be resolved in
favor of the non-moving party. Id.
case, several of the challenged allegations should be
stricken due to materiality concerns. Whether or not Robinson
was wearing a seatbelt has no bearing on plaintiffs'
negligence claim, and thus no relation to the controversy. In
fact, under La. R.S. 32:295.1(E), in an action to recover
damages arising out of the operation of a motor vehicle,
"failure to wear a safety belt in violation of this
Section shall not be considered evidence of comparative
negligence." Thus, the fact that Robinson was not
wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash is immaterial and
the allegation that Robinson had an illegal sun shade on her
driver's side window drawn down at the time of the crash
is immaterial. According to the complaint, the collision
occurred after the vehicles were approaching one another head
on, and Robinson turned left into her driveway causing Silva
to collide with the rear right side of her automobile. There
is no issue regarding visibility related to Robinson's
left window, ...