IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION
April 5, 2012
FIRSTMERIT BANK, N.A., PLAINTIFF,
TRINITY MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES, L.P., ET AL.,
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Although co-defendant Carsten Franck, II ("Franck") in this mortgage foreclosure action tendered several filings in mid-March, this Court's heavy involvement in other cases on its calendar (including a whole set of new case reassignments following the untimely death of its good friend and colleague Honorable William Hibbler) prevented it from reviewing those pleadings until now. One of them--Franck's Answer to the Complaint--has occasioned the issuance of this sua sponte opinion.
In a number of paragraphs of that Answer (Answer ¶¶14, 19, 20, 22, and 24, plus Answer ¶¶26, 27.D and 27.J to Complaint Count I and Answer ¶31 to Complaint Count II), Franck's counsel has provided what purport to be (but are not) Fed. R. Civ. P. ("Rule") 8(b)(5) disclaimers (see App'x ¶1 to State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Riley, 199 F.R.D. 276, 278 (N.D. Ill. 2001)). Then, having done so, counsel compounds the error by always adding the language "and, therefore denies same." 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 accordance with Rule 11(b)? Accordingly the quoted phrase is stricken from each paragraph of the Answer.
Because the filing of an amendment to the Answer to cure each of the defective responses described here would create the need to go back and forth between pleadings to see just what is and what is not at issue, Franck's entire Answer is stricken. Leave is of course granted to file a self-contained Amended Answer on or before April 18, 2012.
Finally, counsel is ordered to make no charge for the work and expenses involved in repleading--work that is attributable to counsel's own errors. As a purely informational matter and not for filing, counsel is directed to transmit to this Court's chambers a copy of counsel's letter to Franck advising him of the directive in the preceding sentence.
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