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In re Kennedy

February 3, 2009

IN RE ALAN EDWARD KENNEDY DEBTOR.
MELANIE CASEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ALAN EDWARD KENNEDY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Frank C. Damrell, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter comes before the court on defendant Alan Edward Kennedy's ("Kennedy") motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c),*fn1 and plaintiff Melanie Casey's ("Casey") motion to strike affirmative defenses pursuant to Rule 12(f). The parties oppose each other's respective motions. For the reasons set forth below,*fn2 defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part, and plaintiff's motion to strike affirmative defenses is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

BACKGROUND

At all relevant times, plaintiff Casey was a minor, and defendant Kennedy was an adult male, 23 years older than Casey, and Casey's basketball coach. (Compl. [Docket #36], filed Dec. 23, 2007, ¶¶ 2, 8, 12). Kennedy first became Casey's coach when she joined an Amateur Athletic Union ("AAU") basketball team during the summer of 2002. (Id. ¶ 8). Kennedy also coached her in June and July 2002 at a basketball camp, during a basketball tournament, and at a conditioning camp. (Id. ¶¶ 9-11). Casey and her family were hopeful that she might continue to play basketball in college. (Id. ¶ 8). Casey contends that Kennedy used his knowledge of her ambition to sexually exploit her. (Id.) Casey also contends that Kennedy used his position as an authority figure to control and influence Casey. (Id. ¶ 12). Once Kennedy had Casey's confidence, he told her that he would have a physical relationship with her. (Id. ¶ 13).

On multiple occasions from August 2002 through November 2002, Kennedy had sexual contact and sexual intercourse with Casey. (Id. ¶ 19). Subsequently, Kennedy pled no contest to violations of the California Penal Code, was sentenced, and served time in Placer County Jail. (Id. ¶¶ 24, 31, 37, 42).

On August 25, 2004, Casey filed a complaint for damages in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Placer (the "Placer County case"). On September 29, 2005, Kennedy filed a petition for bankruptcy under Chapter 7. On January 13, 2006, Casey filed a complaint to determine the dischargeability of debts (the "Bankruptcy case"). Kennedy was granted a Discharge in Bankruptcy on January 19, 2006. Casey subsequently removed the Placer County case to the Bankruptcy court. On October 5, 2007, the court granted Casey's motion to Withdraw Reference to the Bankruptcy Court, and on December 7, 2007, the court granted Casey's motion to consolidate her Placer County case with her Bankruptcy case.

On December 23, 2007, Casey filed the operative consolidated complaint in this action. Plaintiff brings claims for (1) assault; (2) battery; (3) violation of California Penal Code § 261.5(c); (4) violation of California Penal Code § 288a(b)(1); (5) violation of California Penal Code § 289(h); (6) violation of California Penal Code § 272; (7) intentional infliction of emotional distress; (8) negligent infliction of emotional distress; (9) punitive damages; and (10) determination of nondischargeability of debt on the basis of willful and malicious injury. On March 25, 2008, Kennedy filed an answer to plaintiff's consolidated complaint, asserting, inter alia, the affirmative defense of consent. (Answer to Compl. ("Answer") [Docket # 48], filed Mar. 25, 2008).

STANDARD

A. Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

When considering a motion for judgment on the pleadings presenting a defense of failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a court should employ those standards normally applicable to a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Enron Oil Trading & Transp. Co. v. Walbrook Ins. Co., Ltd., 132 F.3d 526, 528-29 (9th Cir. 1997); 5C Charles A. Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, Civil § 1368 (3d ed. 2008). On a motion to dismiss, the allegations of the complaint must be accepted as true. Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 322 (1972). The court is bound to give plaintiff the benefit of every reasonable inference to be drawn from the "well-pleaded" allegations of the complaint. Retail Clerks Int'l Ass'n v. Schermerhorn, 373 U.S. 746, 753 n.6 (1963). Thus, the plaintiff need not necessarily plead a particular fact if that fact is a reasonable inference from facts properly alleged. See id.

Nevertheless, it is inappropriate to assume that the plaintiff "can prove facts which it has not alleged or that the defendants have violated the . . . laws in ways that have not been alleged." Associated Gen. Contractors of Cal., Inc. v. Cal. State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 526 (1983). Moreover, the court "need not assume the truth of legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations." United States ex rel. Chunie v. Ringrose, 788 F.2d 638, 643 n.2 (9th Cir. 1986).

Ultimately, the court may not dismiss a complaint in which the plaintiff has alleged "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007). Only where a plaintiff has not "nudged [his or her] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible," is the complaint properly dismissed. Id. "[A] court may dismiss a complaint only if it is clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations." Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 514 (2002) (quoting Hudson v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984)).

B. Motion to Strike

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) enables the court by motion by a party or by its own initiative to "strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter." The function of a 12(f) motion is to avoid the time and expense of litigating spurious issues. Fantasy, Inc. v. Fogerty, 984 F.2d 1524, 1527 (9th Cir. 1993), rev'd on other grounds, 510 U.S. 517 (1994); see also 5C Wright & Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure ยง 1380 (3d ed. 2008). Rule 12(f) motions are generally viewed with disfavor and not ordinarily granted because of the limited importance of the pleadings in federal practice. Bureerong v. Uvawas, 922 F. Supp. 1450, 1478 (C.D. Cal. 1996). A motion to strike ...


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