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Boigris v. EWC P&T, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

October 24, 2019

BRYAN BOIGRIS, Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant,
v.
EWC P&T, LLC, Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff.

          ORDER ON DEFENDANT/COUNTER-PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STRIKE AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES TO COUNTERCLAIM

          EDWIN G. TORRES, United States Magistrate Judge.

         On September 16, 2019, Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff EWC P&T, LLC (“Defendant” or “EWC”) filed a Motion to Strike certain affirmative defenses asserted by Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant BRYAN BOIGRIS (“Plaintiff” or “Boigris”) contained within his Amended Answer to the EWC's Counterclaim. [D.E. 24]. The Honorable Judge Robert N. Scola referred that Motion to the undersigned on the same day of its filing. [D.E. 25]. Boigris responded in opposition to the Motion on September 30, 2019, and Defendant's Reply followed on October 7. [D.E. 27, 30]. As such, the Motion is now fully-briefed and ripe for disposition, and following our review of the arguments asserted in the briefing materials and the governing legal authorities, we hereby ORDER that EWC's Motion be GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Boigris filed this action to appeal a final order issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) denying Plaintiff's application to register three trademarks. [D.E. 1]. According to the Complaint, Plaintiff hoped to sell cosmetic beauty products through third-party websites using three different names for product lines: “Reveal Me, ” “Smooth Me, ” and “Renew Me.” He sought trademark protection for these three marks with the USPTO. Defendant filed a Consolidated Notice of Opposition to the registration of the marks, arguing that Plaintiff's application with the USPTO failed to establish that he possessed a bona fide intent to use each in commerce. The USPTO agreed with Defendant and sustained EWC's opposition to the application, denying Plaintiff's request for trademark protection for the product lines at issue.

         Plaintiff filed a Complaint on March 25, 2019, asking that declaratory relief be entered in his favor and that this Court reverse the USPTO's decision. EWC answered the Complaint on July 8, 2019 and asserted a counterclaim against Boigris for alleged violations of the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act and Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (Counts III and IV). The counterclaim also seeks declaratory relief affirming the USPTO's decision to deny the application (Counts I and II).

         Plaintiff answered EWC's counterclaim on August 1, 2019, and amended his Answer three weeks later. [D.E. 14, 18]. The Amended Answer asserted two affirmative defenses to Defendant's counterclaim, which read as follows:

         I. First Amended Affirmative Defense

         Counter-Plaintiff's claims should be barred by the doctrine of unclean hands.

         II. Second Amended Affirmative Defense

Counter-Plaintiff is barred from recovery insofar as Counter-Defendant acted at all times in good faith.

[D.E. 18].

         Defendant now moves to strike these affirmative defenses, arguing that each is conclusory and lacks factual specificity required by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. [D.E. 24]. Plaintiff opposes the Motion, arguing that the Complaint contains sufficient factual allegations to support each of the affirmative defenses asserted. [D.E. 27]. We disagree, and find that the defenses run afoul of the particularity requirements mandated by Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For this reason, the Motion will be granted.

         II. ANALYSIS

         An affirmative defense “admits to the complaint, but avoids liability, wholly or partly, by new allegations of excuse, justification, or other negating matters.” Adams v. Jumpstart Wireless Corp., 294 F.R.D. 668, 671 (S.D. Fla. 2013). The purpose of an affirmative defense is to give the opposing party notice of an issue to allow it to prepare to litigate the issue raised. Losada v. Norwegian (Bahamas) Ltd., 296 F.R.D. 688, 691 (S.D. Fla. 2013) (citing Hassan v. United States Postal Service, 842 F.2d 260, 263 (11th Cir. 1998)). Rule 12 permits a court to strike an insufficient affirmative defense, Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f), but ...


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