United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER 
SHERIPOLSTER CHAPPELL, JUDGE
the Court are Defendants Home Depot USA, Inc.'s and
Makita USA, Inc.'s Motions to Strike Claims Disposed of
by This Court's Prior Rulings and/or Which Have Been
Abandoned by Plaintiffs (Doc. 117 at 15; Doc. 118 at 15),
Plaintiffs John and Lori Landis' response (Doc. 121),
Plaintiffs' Motions to Strike Defendants' Affirmative
Defenses (Doc. 122; Doc. 123), and Defendants' responses
(Doc. 125; Doc. 126).
products liability case, John and Lori Landi seek damages for
an injury caused by an allegedly defective Makita miter saw.
John Landi was using the saw to cut crown molding when his
arm was pulled into the path of the blade. Landi blames a
design flaw that prevented the blade guard from covering the
exposed teeth of the blade during use. Defendants contend
that Landi caused the injury by operating the saw without
certain attachments and without heed to the warnings
accompanying the saw.
Landis' Second Amended Complaint asserted 22 counts.
(Doc. 56). The Court dismissed Makita Corporation for want of
personal jurisdiction, granted Defendants summary judgment on
eight of the remaining claims, and ordered Plaintiffs to file
a third amended complaint, asserting only the surviving
claims. The Court cautioned, “The purpose of a third
amended complaint is to streamline the pleadings for trial.
The Court is not granting Plaintiffs leave to assert facts or
legal theories not pled in the Second Amended
Complaint.” (Doc. 109 at 15 n.3). Plaintiffs' Third
Amended Complaint (Doc. 115) includes only the eight
surviving counts, but Plaintiffs moved some paragraphs from
the dismissed claims into the “Factual
Background” section of the complaint and incorporated
them into the remaining claims by reference. In their answers
to the Third Amended Complaint, Defendants move to strike
those paragraphs, all factual allegations that relate to
Makita Corporation, and Plaintiffs' claim for punitive
damages, and they raise 18 affirmative defenses. Plaintiffs,
in turn, move to strike 10 of those affirmative defenses.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) allows courts to “strike
from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant,
immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.” Motions
to strike should be used “to clean up the pleadings,
remove irrelevant or otherwise confusing materials, and avoid
unnecessary forays into immaterial matters, ” not
“to procure the dismissal of all or part of a
complaint.” Blake v. Batmasian, 318 F.R.D.
698, 700 (S.D. Fla. 2017). Granting a motion to strike is a
drastic remedy disfavored by the courts. Id. Courts
will only strike affirmative defenses that are patently
frivolous or clearly invalid as a matter of law.
Microsoft Corp. v. Jesse's Computers & Repair,
Inc., 211 F.R.D. 681, 683 (M.D. Fla. 2002).
makes little sense to strike anything from the pleadings now.
The discovery period is over, the Court has decided all
dispositive motions, and the parties are set to try the case
in a few months. There is virtually no risk that the parties
will waste resources on “unnecessary forays into
immaterial matters.” Blake, 318 F.R.D. at 700.
What is more, everything the parties want stricken was pled
in earlier pleadings. The fact that no one filed 12(f)
motions until now betrays any argument that the matters are
inherently prejudicial or so irrelevant they should be
stricken. The true goals behind the parties' motions to
strike are likely (1) to limit what the other side can talk
about during trial and (2) affect how the Court instructs the
jury. Motions in limine are better suited to the
first task, and the parties have indeed filed motions in
limine that overlap with the motions to strike. The
parties have also submitted proposed jury instructions,
verdict forms, and objections, which the Court will take up
at the proper time.
it is now ORDERED:
(1) Defendants Home Depot USA, Inc.'s and Makita USA,
Inc.'s Motions to Strike Claims Disposed of by This
Court's Prior Rulings and/or Which Have Been Abandoned by
Plaintiffs (Doc. 117 at 15; Doc. 118 at 15) are
(2) Plaintiffs' Motions to Strike Defendants'
Affirmative Defenses (Doc. 122; Doc. 123) are
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