IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION
May 4, 2012
HOMESTEAD OF MORTON GROVE, LLC, ) ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
JSSH ARCHITECTS, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge
Duffy Engineering & Associates, Inc. ("Duffy") has filed its Answer to the Cross-claim brought against it by its co-defendant JSSH Architects, Inc. Because Duffy's counsel has managed to pack a number of pleading errors into the bit more than two-page Answer, this Court strikes that pleading sua sponte and directs Duffy's counsel to return to the drawing board.
First, in Answer ¶1 Duffy's counsel both ignores the clear roadmap prescribed for disclaimers by Fed. R. Civ. P. ("Rule") 8(b)(5) and adds a meaningless demand for "strict proof." In both those respects, see App'x ¶1 to State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Riley, 199 F.R.D. 276, 278 (N.D. Ill. 2001).
Next, Duffy's counsel improperly avoids complying with the mandate of Rule 8(b)(1)(B) by asserting in Answer ¶¶2 through 5 that a document referred to in the corresponding Cross-claim paragraph "speaks for itself." On that score, see App'x ¶3 to State Farm.
Finally, Answer ¶4 is also inappropriately non-responsive to the Cross-claim's corresponding allegation. If Duffy really claims that allegation is inaccurate, the principles of notice pleading (which apply to plaintiffs and defendants alike) require a more forthright and explanatory response.
In summary, the entire Answer is stricken, with leave of course granted to file an Amended Answer on or before May 18, 2012. No charge is to be made to Duffy by its counsel for the added work and expense incurred in correcting counsel's errors. Duffy's counsel is ordered to apprise his client to that effect by letter, with a copy to be transmitted to this Court's chambers as an informational matter (not for filing).
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