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ADT Sec. Servs., Inc. v. Lisle-Woodridge Fire Prot. Dist.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

February 4, 2014

ADT SECURITY SERVICES, INC., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
LISLE-WOODRIDGE FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT, et al., Defendants

Page 843

For ADT Security Services, Inc., Plaintiff: A. Christopher Young, PRO HAC VICE, Robert L. Hickok, Pepper Hamilton LLP, Philadelphia, PA; Bruce Lee Goldsmith, Dykema Gossett Rooks Pitts PLLC, Lisle, IL; Jason Lawrence Pyrz, John A. Leja, Polsinelli Shughart, P.C., Chicago, IL.

For Alarm Detection Systems, Inc., D.M.C. Security Services, Inc., Illinois Alarm Services, Inc., SMG Security Systems, Inc., Plaintiffs: Bruce Lee Goldsmith, David Joel Bressler, Dykema Gossett Rooks Pitts PLLC, Lisle, IL; Michelle Kramer Schindler, Dykema Gossett PLLC, Chicago, IL.

For Lisle-Woodridge Fire Protection District, The, Defendant: Martin K. LaPointe, LEAD ATTORNEY, Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C., Chicago, IL; Susan Marie Troester, Attorney, Chicago, IL.

For Chicago Metropolitan Fire Protection, Inc., Defendant: Christopher W Carmichael, Simon B. Auerbach, Holland and Knight, LLP, Chicago, IL; Martin G. Durkin, Peter Michael Friedman, Holland & Knight LLC, Chicago, IL.

OPINION

Milton I. Shadur, Senior United States District Judge.

Page 844

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

After more than 3-1/2 years of litigation and two trips to our Court of Appeals (672 F.3d 492 (7th Cir. 2012) and 724 F.3d 854 (7th Cir. 2013), respectively cited for convenience as " ADT I, 672 F.3d at --" and " ADT II, 724 F.3d at --" ), the parties now cross swords over several affirmative defenses (" ADs" ) advanced by codefendants Lisle-Woodridge Fire Protection District (" District" ) and Chicago Metropolitan Fire Prevention Company (" Chicago Metro" ), as well as codefendants' requests for attorney's fees and their renewed demand

Page 845

for a jury. Plaintiff alarm companies (collectively " Alarm Companies" ) brought these matters to this Court's attention via a motion to strike pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. (" Rule" ) 12(f)(2).

Codefendants respond that Alarm Companies' motion is untimely and emphasize that such motions are generally disfavored, but neither argument is persuasive. True enough, Alarm Companies filed their motion well after Rule 12(f)(2)'s 21-day window period had run out. But Rule 12(f)(1) permits this Court to act on its own at any time to strike insufficient defenses, and Williams v. Jader Fuel Co., 944 F.2d 1388, 1399 (7th Cir. 1991) teaches that " Courts have read Rule 12(f) to allow a district court to consider a motion to strike at any point in a case, reasoning that it is considering the issue of its own accord despite the fact that its attention was prompted by an untimely filed motion."

Nor does the fact that motions to strike ADs often prove to be wasteful digressions from the substance of the litigation mean that this Court should not evaluate the sufficiency of the ADs here -- particularly where many of those ADs are themselves mere digressions. As Heller Fin., Inc. v. Midwhey Powder Co., 883 F.2d 1286, 1294 (7th Cir. 1989) put it:

Midwhey places great reliance on the general rule that motions to strike are disfavored. This is because motions to strike potentially serve only to delay. See United States v. 416.81 Acres of Land, 514 F.2d 627, 631 (7th Cir. 1975) (Clark, J.). But where, as here, motions to strike remove unnecessary clutter from the case, they serve to expedite, not delay. Affirmative defenses will be stricken only when they are insufficient on the face of the pleadings. Id. at 631. Ordinarily, defenses will not be struck if they are sufficient as a matter of law or if they present questions of law or fact. Id. Affirmative defenses are pleadings and, therefore, are subject to all pleading requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Bobbitt v. Victorian House, Inc., 532 F.Supp. 734, 736-37 (N.D. Ill. 1982). Thus, defenses must set forth a " short and plain statement," Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a), of the defense. Bobbitt, 532 F.Supp. at 737.

Accordingly this Court will attempt to streamline this litigation by striking some of District's and Chicago Metro's unnecessary or misconceived ADs. This memorandum opinion and order will first tackle District's ADs while addressing Chicago Metro's defenses that overlap with District's along the way. Next it will address Chicago ...


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