IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION
February 8, 2012
CHARLES CHATT, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
J.B. HUNT TRANSPORT, INC., ETC., DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge
J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc. ("J.B. Hunt") has filed its Answer to the Complaint brought against it by Charles and Linda Chatt. This memorandum order is issued sua sponte to address matters in that responsive pleading that call for current attention.
To begin with, J.B. Hunt's counsel are among the lawyers who seemingly seek to invoke the disclaimer provisions of Fed. R. Civ. P. ("Rule") 8(b)(5) without having read that Rule. At least it is difficult to draw any other conclusion from counsel's failure to follow its plainly-marked-out roadmap (see Answer ¶¶3 and 14, the latter of which is contained in the response to each of the two counts of the Complaint).
Those offending paragraphs are therefore stricken, but with leave granted to file an amendment to the Answer (not a self-contained Amended Answer) correcting the flawed response on or before February 21, 2012. No charge is to be made to J.B. Hunt by its counsel for the added work and expense incurred in correcting counsel's errors.
On the plus side, however, J.B. Hunt has admitted its lack of due care in the respects alleged by Complaint ¶¶13.b and 13.d. That being so, it would appear that early efforts at possible settlement would be the most appropriate course for the litigants to take (for with liability acknowledged, the parties can focus solely on the damages issue). Although the next status hearing date has previously been set for May 2, it is hoped that counsel might bring the matter on much earlier, either to report on progress toward resolution or, if appropriate, to seek an order of reference to the assigned Magistrate Judge to assist them in that respect.
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