IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION
May 29, 2012
UNITED STATES SURETY COMPANY, PLAINTIFF,
STEVENS FAMILY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge
During yesterday's status hearing in this action this Court learned that defense counsel had previously filed an Answer to the Complaint, but without complying with this District Court's LR 5.2 (f) that requires delivery of a paper copy of every electronic filing to the judge's chambers. Later in the morning defense counsel belatedly cured that omission by delivering a copy of the Answer, after which this Court's threshold review has disclosed a flaw requiring correction.
Answer ¶¶11, 12 and 13 fail to respond to the corresponding allegations of the Complaint, as Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(b) requires, asserting instead that a document referred to in the Complaint "speaks for itself." In much the same way, Answer ¶19 fails to respond to allegations as to certain letters by stating that the "letters themselves are the best evidence of their contents."
As to the "speaks" assertions, see App'x ¶3 to State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Riley, 199 F.R.D. 276, 278 (N.D. Ill. 2001). As to the "best evidence" assertion, that improperly mixes a figurative pleading apple with the equally figurative evidentiary orange. Accordingly all of the Answer paragraphs referred to in this memorandum order are stricken, with leave to file a curative amendment to the Answer (not a self-contained Amended Answer) on or before June 5, 2012.
No charge is to be made to defendants by their counsel for the added work and expense incurred in correcting counsel's errors. Defendants' counsel are ordered to apprise their clients 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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