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White v. Department of Justice

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

August 2, 2018

WILLIAM A. WHITE, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, UNITED STATES MARSHALS SERVICE, FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS and BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, FIREARMS, AND EXPLOSIVES, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on a variety of motions filed by plaintiff William A. White. The Court addresses each in turn.

         I. Motion to Vacate Court's Orders at Doc. 92 & 94 (Doc. 97)

         White asks the Court to vacate its orders allowing the defendants to exceed the page limit for their response to White's summary judgment motion (Doc. 92) and allowing the defendants a brief extension of time to file its response and its cross-motion for summary judgment (Doc. 94). White complains that he had not been served with copies of the defendants' motions. The defendants explained their inadvertent failure to serve White at the time they filed their motions (Doc. 100) and eventually served the motions on White. The Court allowed White an opportunity to respond to the motions for extensions of page and time limits, which he has done (Doc. 114).

         Nothing White says in his response convinces the Court that it should have exercised its discretion to deny the defendants' reasonable requests for extensions of page and time limits. Nor has White shown he was prejudiced by the defendants' initial failure to serve him; even if White had been timely served and filed his objections before the Court's ruling, the ruling would have been the same. Accordingly, the Court DENIES White's motion to vacate the orders at Docs. 92 and 94 (Doc. 97).

         II. Motion to Strike Defendants' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 102)

         White asks the Court to strike the defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment (Doc. 98) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) as frivolous, malicious, impertinent and intended to harass. He asserts that the defendants' counsel has made personal attacks on White in the motion and that the summary judgment motion has no merit.

         As a preliminary matter, Rule 12(f) authorizes striking matters from pleading-that is, a complaint, answer or court-ordered reply-not from other filings. As for the Court's inherent authority to strike impermissible filings other than pleadings, see Keaton v. Hannum, No. 1:12-CV-00641-SEB, 2013 WL 1800577, at *1 (S.D. Ind. Apr. 29, 2013) (collecting cases), the Court has reviewed the defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment and finds nothing in it that justifies striking it. It describes White's litigation history, suggests his litigation under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) is frivolous or malicious, and seeks to justify the defendants' responses to his FOIA requests. None of that warrants striking. If the defendants' arguments have no merit, the Court will figure that out when it addresses the substance of the pending summary judgment motions.

         For these reasons, the Court DENIES White's motion to strike the defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment (Doc. 102).

         III. Motion to Strike Defendants' Summary Judgment Response (Doc. 103)

         White asks the Court to strike the defendants' response and its exhibits (Doc. 95) in opposition to his third motion for summary judgment because they were filed late and exceeded the page limit set forth in Local Rule 7.1(c). The defendants have responded (Doc. 111), noting that they filed their summary judgment response within the extensions discussed above in Section I. White believes the defendants' failure to initially serve him with the motion for an extension of the page and time limit justifies striking their response and its exhibits.

         The defendants' procedural failure, while regrettable, did not prejudice White because he was given, albeit belatedly, an opportunity to respond to the motions, and his objections were insufficient to have caused the Court to render a different decision on the motions, as discussed above. The defendants' response and its exhibits were filed within the extensions allowed by the Court and will therefore not be stricken. The Court DENIES White's motion to strike these documents (Doc. 103).

         IV. Motion to Set Briefing Schedule (Doc. 107)

         White asks the Court to set a briefing schedule for a subsequent round of summary judgment briefing. He anticipates that issues will remain to be decided after the ...


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