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Swanson v. Midwest Physician Group Ltd.

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION


February 1, 2007

DAWN SWANSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MIDWEST PHYSICIAN GROUP LTD., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM ORDER

Dr. Bradley Coolidge ("Coolidge") has filed his Answer to the Complaint brought against him and Midwest Physician Group Ltd. by Dawn Swanson. This memorandum order is issued sua sponte to address some problematic aspects of that responsive pleading.

First, whenever Coolidge's counsel sets out a properly-stated disclaimer pursuant to the second sentence of Fed. R. Civ. P. ("Rule") 8(b) to get the benefit of a deemed denial (see Answer ¶¶7, 9-11, 13, 16, 19 and 20), that proper disclaimer concludes inappropriately with the phrase "and therefore denies them" or "and therefore denies it." That is of course oxymoronic--how can a party that asserts (presumably in good faith) that he lacks even enough information to form a belief as to the truth of an allegation then proceed to deny it in the same objective good faith that is required by Rule 11(b)? Accordingly the quoted phrases are stricken wherever they appear in the Answer.

Next, as for the affirmative defenses ("ADs") that Coolidge advances following his paragraph-by-paragraph Answer, three of them (ADs 5 through 7) fail to provide adequate information to conform to the principles of notice pleading embodied in the Rules. It will not do simply to parrot some of the legal labels that are set out in Rule 8(c) as examples of ADs. Instead, unless Coolidge's counsel files an amendment to the present pleading (not a fully-self-contained Amended Answer) that fleshes out those defenses on or before February 12, 2007, this Court will be constrained to strike ADs 5 through 7 as not having been properly pleaded.

20070201

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