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Jones v. UPR Products, Inc.

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

May 29, 2015

DAVID JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
UPR PRODUCTS, INC., A.E.D. MOTORSPORT PRODUCTS, LTD., TIG-VISION, INC. a/k/a TIG-VISION WELDING & FABRICATION a/k/a TIG VISION RACE FABRICATION, GALLEY MAID MARINE PRODUCTS, INC., and WEBCO INDUSTRIES, INC., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

HON. JORGE L. ALONSO, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff David Jones suffered permanent injuries in a drag-racing accident due to the failure of the “A Arm” and “K Member” (collectively, “the Product”), two functionally-related auto parts he had purchased from defendant UPR Products, Inc. (“UPR”) and installed in his 1994 Ford Mustang to modify the vehicle for drag racing. He filed this products liability action against UPR and numerous other entities alleged to have participated in the production or design of the Product. This case comes before the Court on four motions of the parties: (1) plaintiff’s motion to strike UPR’s affirmative defenses, (2) plaintiff’s motion to dismiss UPR’s counterclaim for spoliation of evidence, (3) defendant A.E.D. Motorsport Products, Ltd.’s (“AED”) motion to dismiss Counts V-VIII, and (4) defendant Webco Industries, Inc.’s (“Webco”) motion to dismiss Counts XVII, XVIII and XIX and to require more certain allegations.

I. LEGAL STANDARDS

“A motion under Rule 12(b)(6) tests whether the complaint states a claim on which relief may be granted.” Richards v. Mitcheff, 696 F.3d 635, 637 (7th Cir. 2012). Under Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must include “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The short and plain statement under Rule 8(a)(2) must “give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (ellipsis omitted). Similarly, under Rule 8(b)(1)(A), a party responding to a complaint must “state in short and plain terms” its defenses.

Under federal notice-pleading standards, a plaintiff’s “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. Stated differently, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “In reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint under the plausibility standard, [courts must] accept the well-pleaded facts in the complaint as true, but [they] ‘need[ ] not accept as true legal conclusions, or threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements.’” Alam v. Miller Brewing Co., 709 F.3d 662, 665–66 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009)).

Pursuant to Rule 12(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a court “may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(f). Motions to strike affirmative defenses are generally disfavored, but they may be granted where the challenged affirmative defenses are “insufficient on the face of the record.” Heller Fin., Inc. v. Midwhey Powder Co., 883 F.2d 1286, 1294 (7th Cir. 1989).

II. PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO STRIKE UPR’S AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES

UPR asserts the following affirmative defenses, among others:

FIRST AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE
Plaintiff’s complaint, in whole or in part, fails to state a cause of action upon which relief may be granted under Illinois law.
SECOND AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE
Plaintiff’s claims are barred, in whole or in part, by the Statute of Limitations. 735 ILCS 5/13-202.
THIRD AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE
Plaintiff’s claims are barred, in whole or in part, by the Statute of ...

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