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United States District Court, N.D. Illinois

February 18, 2004.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES ZAGEL, District Judge


Rule 12(f) Motion to Strike

Defendants Emery Yost, John Yost, and Jitka Yost ("Defendants") have filed a motion to strike, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f), certain portions of Plaintiff Kevin Long's Motion for Default Judgment and Motion to Recover Service Costs. Rule 12(f) states that "upon motion made by a party within 20 days after the service of the pleading upon the party or upon the court's own initiative at any time, the court may order stricken from any pleading . . . any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f). However, a Rule 12(f) motion to strike only concerns striking matters from pleadings and a motion is not a pleading. Fed.R.Civ.P. 7(a); see also O'Connor v. State of Nevada, 507 F. Supp. 546, 548 (D.C. Nev. 1981), aff'd, 686 F.2d 749 (9th Cir. 1982). Accordingly, I deny Defendants motion to strike.

 Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions

  Defendants have also filed a Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions against Long. Rule 11(a) requires that all pleadings, written motions, and other papers be signed by a party's attorney or the party, Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(a). Defendants claim that Long has filed unsigned pleadings in this matter, but that is simply not true. All of his filed pleadings and written motions to this court are signed. Thus, he has not violated Rule 11(a).

  Rule 11(b) provides that by:

presenting to the court . . . a pleading, written motion, or other paper, an attorney or unrepresented party is certifying that to the best of the person's knowledge, information and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances, —
(1) it is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation;
(2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions therein arc warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law or the establishment of new law;
(3) the allegations and other factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, are likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery; and
(4) the denial of factual contentions are warranted on the evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably based on a lack of information and belief.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(b). Courts may sanction parties who violate this rule. Id. Although Long's status as a pro se litigant does not exempt him from Rule 11's prescriptions, see United State ex rel. Verdone v. Circuit Court for Taylor County, 73 F.3d 669, 671 (7th Cir. 1995), there is no basis at this early stage for even beginning to address the issue of sanctionable conduct. One of Defendants' alleged grounds for sanctions is a litany of unsubstantiated assertions that Long has alleged facts he knows have no support. While this may be true, it has not yet been conclusively demonstrated. Defendants' additional purported basis for sanctions is a series of actions unrelated to any representations that Long has made to this Court and thus not within the purview of Rule 11(b). Accordingly, Defendants' Rule 11 motion — while perhaps appropriate at some later date — is not appropriate now.

  For the reasons above, Defendants' Rule 12(f) Motion to Strike and Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions are DENIED.


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