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Jehle v. Jehle

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

January 22, 2019

CHLOE JEHLE, Plaintiff,
v.
KENNETH JEHLE, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STRIKE [2]

          JERRY H. RITTER U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court upon Kenneth Jehle's Motion to Strike [2] filed June 25, 2018. (The parties have the same last name and for clarity will be referred to by their first names hereafter.) Chloe filed a response [6] with errata [7] on July 5, 2018. Kenneth filed a reply [10] on July 23, 2018, completing the briefing.

         BACKGROUND

         Chloe filed a Complaint for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress [1-1] on May 4, 2018, in New Mexico's Second Judicial District Court. Kenneth removed the case to federal court [1] on June 25, 2018.

         Chloe's complaint [1-1, *2-5] alleges that her father Kenneth “sexually exploited [her] when she was a child” and “[b]y means of coercion, … unlawfully possessed and/or distributed video of [her] engaged in sexual intercourse.” Id., *5, ¶¶ 53-54. Chloe alleges that Kenneth caused her extreme and severe mental distress and did so “intentionally or in reckless disregard for [her] mental health”. Id., ¶¶ 57-58.

         Kenneth asserts that many of the statements in the complaint should be stricken as false, immaterial, scandalous, or prejudicial, under the authority of Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f). Chloe concedes that the described events are “scandalous” but denies that they should be stricken from the complaint.

         VIOLATION OF CONSULTATION REQUIREMENT

         As an initial matter, Chloe asserts that Kenneth failed to follow local rules of procedure when he filed his motion without first consulting with Chloe (through counsel), and that the motion should be denied on that basis. The Court declines to deny the motion on those grounds.

         In the U.S. District of New Mexico, a “[m]ovant must determine whether a motion is opposed, and a motion that omits recitation of a good-faith request for concurrence may be summarily denied." D.N.M.LR-Civ. 7.1(a). The rule encourages parties to narrow or even resolve issues without court intervention when possible. By its terms, the rule is discretionary.

         Denial of the motion to strike at this time, when all briefing has been done and clearly the parties have broad disagreement about the merits of the motion, would serve little purpose but to delay a ruling on legitimate issues. Therefore, the Court will exercise its discretion to resolve the motion on its merits instead.

         MOTIONS TO STRIKE UNDER RULE 12(f)

         Rule 12(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure says that "[t]he court may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter." A party may file a motion to strike or the court may act on its own. Id. Whether to grant a motion to strike is a matter of judicial discretion. See Nielsen v. Moroni Feed Co., 162 F.3d 604, 606 n. 3 (10th Cir.1998).

         The consensus of federal caselaw is that motions to strike are not favored and "should be denied unless the challenged allegations have no possible relation or logical connection to the subject matter of the controversy". 5C C. Wright & A. Miller, Fed. Prac. & Proc. Civ., § 1382 (3d. ed.2004) (footnotes omitted); see, e.g., Payne v. Tri-State Careflight, LLC, 327 F.R.D. 433, 445 (D.N.M. 2018). The party filing a motion to strike has a "formidable" burden to show the violative nature of the material. See Siegel v. HSBC Holdings, plc, 283 F.Supp.3d 722, 739 (N.D. Ill. 2017) (burden on movant); Gates v. District of Columbia, 66 F.Supp.3d 1, 27 (D.D.C. 2014) ("formidable" burden). Some federal courts require an additional showing of prejudice, but authority from the U.S. District of New Mexico does not. See Lane v. Page, 272 F.R.D. 581, 598-600 (D.N.M. 2011).

         ANALYSIS: FALSE OR ...


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