United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
OSTEEN, JR., District Judge.
before this court is a Motion to Strike filed by Defendants
Blue Sky Logistics, LLC, and Michael Walker Daniels
(“Defendants”). (Doc. 8.) Defendants have filed a
corrected brief in support of their motion, (Doc. 10),
Plaintiff Casimiro Graciano (“Plaintiff”) has
responded in opposition, (Doc. 11), and Defendants have
replied, (Doc. 12). This matter is ripe for resolution, and
for the reasons stated herein, this court will deny
Defendants' Motion to Strike.
following facts are recited in the light most favorable to
Plaintiff. On or about March 1, 2016, Plaintiff was operating
a tractor trailer in Surry County, North Carolina. (Complaint
(“Compl.”) (Doc. 1) ¶¶ 42, 44.) On the
same date, Defendant Michael Walker Daniels (“Defendant
Daniels”) was also operating a tractor trailer in Surry
County, North Carolina as an employee of Defendant Blue Sky
Logistics, LLC (“Defendant Blue Sky”).
(Id. ¶¶ 42-43.) The tractor trailer driven
by Defendant Daniels crashed into the tractor trailer driven
by Plaintiff, causing injuries to Plaintiff. (Id.
¶¶ 46-47.) Plaintiff alleges that he properly came
to a stop for traffic while Defendant Daniels failed to
reduce his speed, causing the collision. (Id.
Complaint details necessary requirements that Defendant Blue
Sky met in order to become a licensed motor carrier.
(Id. ¶¶ 8-10.) Plaintiff then extensively
outlines prior instances of Defendant Blue Sky employees
being cited for violations of Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Regulations. (Id. ¶¶ 11-40.) After
describing the circumstances of the collision at issue,
Plaintiff alleges that “[d]ue to the circumstances in
the collision, combined with Defendant Blue Sky Logistics,
LLC's history of hours-of-service violation, upon
information and belief Defendant Daniels was fatigued and
operating in violation of the hours of service regulation set
out in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.”
(Id. ¶ 48.) Plaintiff further alleges that
“[d]ue to Defendant Blue Sky Logistics LLC's
historic pattern of violations of the Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Regulations and state traffic laws, upon information
and belief Blue Sky Logistics had an inadequate driver
qualification, training, and monitoring process.”
(Id. ¶ 49.)
asserts, among other things, a cause of action against
Defendants for negligence, asserting that Defendant
Daniels's actions are imputed to Defendant Blue Sky under
the doctrine of respondeat superior. (Id.
¶¶ 52-62.) Plaintiff seeks, jointly and severally
from the Defendants, compensatory damages, punitive damages,
prejudgment interest, postjudgment interest, and court costs.
(Id. at 8.)
jurisdiction has not been challenged in the existing motions,
the existence of jurisdiction is a “question the court
is bound to ask and answer for itself[.]”
Mansfield, C. & L.M. Ry. Co. v. Swan, 111 U.S.
379, 382 (1884). This case finds jurisdiction in this court
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Plaintiff is a citizen of
Texas while Defendant Blue Sky is a Utah corporation with
Utah headquarters. Defendant Daniels is a citizen of Nevada.
The amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. (Compl. (Doc. 1)
Motion to Strike
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f), seek to
strike paragraphs eight through forty, forty-eight, and
forty-nine of the Complaint. (Defs.' Br. in Supp. of their
Mot. to Strike (“Defs.' Br.”) (Doc. 10) at
1.) These portions of the Complaint largely deal with alleged
prior citations issued to Defendant Blue Sky's employees.
(See Compl. (Doc. 1) ¶¶ 8-40, 48, 49.)
Defendants contend that these paragraphs “assert
inadmissible subject matter which will unnecessarily broaden
the scope and increase the expense of discovery and this
litigation as a whole, distract from the issues at bar, and
unfairly and unjustly smear Defendants.” (Defs.'
Br. (Doc. 10) at 1.) Specifically, Defendant contend that the
paragraphs at issue are purported “prior bad
acts” which are either unrelated to the conduct at
issue, (¶¶ 8-30), or, if related, are used to
suggest that Defendants acted in conformity therewith during
the time at issue, (¶¶ 8-30, 48, 49). (Id.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) provides: “The court may
strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any
redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous
matter.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f). “Such motions can
prevent the litigation of ‘unnecessary issues, '
and expedite the proceedings.” Staton v. N. State
Acceptance, LLC, No. 1:13-CV-277, 2013 WL 3910153, at *2
(M.D. N.C. July 29, 2013) (citations omitted). Courts have
broad discretion in disposing of motions to strike, but
“Rule 12(f) motions are generally viewed with disfavor
‘because striking a portion of a pleading is a drastic
remedy and because it is often sought by the movant simply as
a dilatory tactic.'” Waste Mgmt. Holdings, Inc.
v. Gilmore, 252 F.3d 316, 347 (4th Cir. 2001) (citing 5A
A. Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal
Practice & Procedure § 1380, 647 (2d ed.
1990)); see also Simaan, Inc. v. BP Prods. N.
Am., Inc., 395 F.Supp.2d 271, 278 (M.D. N.C. 2005).
“When reviewing a motion to strike, a court must view
the pleading under attack in a light most favorable to the
pleader.” Guessford v. Pa. Nat'l Mut. Cas. Ins.
Co., 918 F.Supp.2d 453, 465 (M.D. N.C. 2013) (citing
Racick v. Dominion Law Assocs., 270 F.R.D. 228, 232
(E.D. N.C. 2010)).
Motion to Strike Paragraphs Eight through Thirty as
respect to Defendants' contention that paragraphs eight
through thirty of the Complaint are irrelevant, Plaintiff