United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER
Reidinger, United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on the Claimants’
Motion to Strike Certain Paragraphs of First Amended
Complaint. [Doc. 23].
to the Amended Complaint, on August 21, 2018, an officer with
the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office stopped Rahkim
Franklin (“Franklin”) and searched his vehicle.
[Doc. 17 at ¶¶ 8-12]. During the search, the
officer discovered a concealed firearm, marijuana shake, and
$13, 205.54 (the “Defendant Currency”).
[Id. at ¶13-15]. The officer arrested Franklin
for possession of a concealed firearm and seized the
Defendant Currency. [Id. at ¶ 19-20]. While the
arrest was occurring, Shelly Medrano (“Medrano”)
arrived at the scene and claimed that the Defendant Currency
is hers. [Id. at ¶ 16].
Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) initiated
an administrative forfeiture action following the seizure of
the Defendant Currency. [Id. at ¶ 25]. On
January 7, 2019, the Government filed its original Complaint
alleging that the Defendant Currency is subject to forfeiture
pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(6). [Doc. 1].
February 7, 2019, Franklin and Medrano (collectively
“Claimants”) filed a Verified “Joint Claim
of Ownership, ” asserting that the Defendant Currency
belongs to both of them “and is money they obtained
through employment and personal savings.” [Doc. 5]. On
February 21, 2019, Claimants filed an Answer to the
Government’s Complaint, which included a motion to
strike certain paragraphs of the Complaint. [Doc. 7].
21, 2019, the Claimants filed a motion pursuant to Rule 12(f)
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to strike paragraphs
21(a), 21(b), 22, 23, and 24 of the Government’s
Complaint as immaterial, impertinent, and scandalous. [Docs.
15, 16]. In response to the Claimant’s motion, on June
3, 2019, the Government filed an Amended Complaint that
corrected certain errors and revised certain paragraphs that
were in the original Complaint. [Doc. 17]. The Court denied
the Claimants’ motion to strike as moot on June 4,
2019. [Text-only Order entered June 4, 2019].
19, 2019, the Claimants filed their Answer to the Amended
Complaint, which included a motion to strike certain
paragraphs of the Amended Complaint. [Doc. 19]. On August 12,
2019, the Claimants again filed a motion pursuant to Rule
12(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to strike
paragraphs 21(a), 21(b), 22, 23, and 24 of the
Government’s Complaint as immaterial, impertinent, and
scandalous. [Docs. 23, 24].
paragraphs read as follows:
Franklin has been implicated in numerous reports and
incidents, including but not limited to incidents involving
narcotics. Reports and incidents include the following:
a. On February 4, 2015, law enforcement visited the residence
at 121 Hill Street Forest City, North Carolina, in order to
arrest Iykiemie Franklin, Rakhim [sic] Franklin’s
brother, on an outstanding warrant for Simple Possession of
Schedule II Controlled Substance in violation of North
Carolina General Statute § 90-95 (d)(2). Although
Iykiemie Franklin was not at the residence, law enforcement
did locate Rakhim [sic] Franklin and one other individual
exiting a laundry room from which an overwhelming smell of
marijuana was emanating. One of the individuals advised that
the two had just smoked marijuana. Although Franklin and the
individual declined consent to search the room, the owner of
the residence consented to a search whereby law enforcement
ultimately found two large bags of marijuana in the laundry
b. In January 2017, a concerned parent delivered a backpack
that contained three vacuum sealed bags of marijuana to the
Forest City Police Department. The parent advised that the
parent had found the backpack while cleaning the
child’s room in the parent’s house. The parent
relayed the parent’s suspicion that Franklin and his
family kept the child high on marijuana and paid small
amounts of money to the child so that the child would work
for Franklin. The total amount of marijuana in the bags was
470 grams in the first bag, 469 grams in the second bag, and
484 grams in the third bag.
Although Franklin purportedly operates a detailing business,
law enforcement has not identified any information to suggest
that Franklin serves customers or generates revenue, much
less substantial revenue sufficient to justify his possession
of a large amount of currency, via this business, nor has law
enforcement identified customers at the purported business
Franklin has previously been charged in North Carolina with,
among other things, Felony Possession of Cocaine in violation
of N.C. G.S. § 90-95(d)(2); Simple Possession of
Marijuana in violation of N.C. G.S. § 90-95(d)(4); and