IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION
October 2, 2012
NATIONAL CASUALTY COMPANY, PLAINTIFF,
BARNHART CRANE & RIGGING CO., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge
Diamond Ring Specialized, LLC ("Diamond"), one of three defendants named in this declaratory judgment action brought by National Casualty Company ("National"), has filed its Answer to National's Complaint. Two types of flaw in that responsive pleading require Diamond's counsel to go back to the drawing board.
For one thing, Diamond's counsel has joined the all-too-populous group of defense counsel who inexplicably fail to conform to the straightforward requirements of the disclaimer prescribed by Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(b)(5)(see Answer ¶¶1, 2, 10 and 11). Counsel then compound that error by a meaningless demand for "strict proof," whatever that may mean, in three of those four paragraphs. In both of 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).
Counsel's other error is in the repeated denial of allegations in the Complaint on the ground that they "state[ ] a legal conclusion" (Answer ¶¶17 through 19 and 21 through 23). In that respect, see App'x ¶2 to State Farm. As with all other paragraphs of the Complaint, National's allegations in those paragraphs must be answered.
To avoid the inconvenience that is imposed on any reader in having to go back and forth between two pleadings, the entire Answer is stricken--but with leave granted, of course, to file a self-contained Amended Answer on or before October 15, 2012. No charge is to be made to Diamond by its counsel for the added work and expense incurred in correcting counsel's errors. Diamond'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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