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Jackson v. Methodist Medical Center of Illinois

January 11, 2007

EILEEN M. JACKSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE METHODIST MEDICAL CENTER OF ILLINOIS, METHODIST COLLEGE OF NURSING , DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael M. Mihm United States District Judge

ORDER

Before the Court is Plaintiff Eileen M. Jackson's Response to and Motion to Strike Affirmative Defenses of Defendant Methodist Medical Center of Illinois.

For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Motion to Strike is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

BACKGROUND

The facts of this case are understandably limited at this early stage of litigation. Defendant Methodist Medical Center of Illinois employed Plaintiff as a Professor for Defendant's College of Nursing from July 2004 through February 2006. Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint alleges that she was diagnosed with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder ["AADD"], generalized anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. She further alleges that her condition diminished her organizational skills and ability to focus, and that she requested that Defendant provide her with certain accommodations so that she could perform her duties as a professor of nursing.

Plaintiff claims that all of her proposed accommodations were denied. On February 17, 2006, Defendant terminated Plaintiff for "inappropriate professional behavior and poor job performance." Am. Compl., ¶ 35. On March 14, 2006, Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ["EEOC"], and in June 2006, the EEOC issued Plaintiff a Right to Sue Letter. Plaintiff filed this action on September 13, 2006, alleging that Defendant retaliated against her and terminated her in violation of the Americans with Disability Act ["ADA"] and Rehabilitation Act.

On November 7, 2006, Defendant filed its Answer and Affirmative Defenses to the allegations of Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint. Three days later, Plaintiff filed her "Response to and Motion to Strike Affirmative Defenses." Defendant has filed its Response to Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Affirmative Defense. This Order follows.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Although Plaintiff's Motion to Strike does not specifically invoke any of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, this Court believes that Plaintiff's motion is properly construed as a motion to strike under Rule 12(f). Rule 12(f) permits a district court to strike "from any pleading any insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(f). Motions to strike affirmative defenses are generally disfavored because of their potential to delay proceedings. Heller Fin., Inc. v. Midwhey Powder Co., Inc., 883 F.2d 1286, 1294 (7th Cir. 1989). Nonetheless, a motion to strike can be a useful means of removing "unnecessary clutter" from a case, which may ultimately expedite the proceedings. See id.

Affirmative defenses are pleadings and are therefore subject to all the same pleading requirements applicable to complaints. Id. Accordingly, affirmative defenses must set forth a "short and plain statement" of the basis for the defense. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a); Heller, 883 F.2d at 1294. This Court will strike an affirmative defense is if the matter is not an appropriate affirmative defense, if it is not adequately pled under the required of Federal Rules 8 and 9, or if the defendant could not prove any set of facts in support of the defense that would defeat the complaint. See Williams v. Jader Co., Inc., 944 F.2d 1388, 1400 (7th Cir. 1991); see also Reis Robotics USA, Inc. v. Concept Indus., Inc., No. 06-CV-1430, 2006 WL 3198934, at *4 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 6, 2006); Builders Bank v. First Bank & Trust Co., No. 03-C-4959, 2004 WL 626827, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 24, 2004).

ANALYSIS

In Response to Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint, Defendant asserts four affirmative defenses. Defendant asserts that Counts I, II, IV, and the claim for punitive damages fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Defendant also asserts that the "Court lacks jurisdiction of Plaintiff's claims to the extent that they exceed the scope of the charges filed with the (EEOC)," that the Complaint is time-barred to the extent that it related to events that predate the applicable statue of limitations, and that Plaintiff has failed to mitigate her alleged damages. The Court will address each defense in turn.

I. Failure to State a Claim

Defendant's First, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth affirmative defenses assert that Counts I, II, IV, and the claim for punitive damages, respectively, each fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiff's Motion to Strike essentially restates the allegations of the First Amended Complaint, arguing that her claims have been properly pled; Defendant's Response to the Motion to Strike essentially ...


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