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J & J Sports Productions, Inc v. Peter James Luhn and Corbin Jerrett Poirier

October 24, 2011

J & J SPORTS PRODUCTIONS, INC.,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
PETER JAMES LUHN AND CORBIN JERRETT POIRIER, INDIVIDUALLY, AND D/B/A/ MATINEE A/K/A CIBO DI VINO & THE MATINEE LOUNGE, DEFENDANTS.



ORDER DENYING IN PART AND GRANTING IN PART PLAINTIFF‟S MOTION TO STRIKE DEFENDANTS‟ AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES

This matter comes before the Court on J & J Sports Productions, Inc.‟s ("Plaintiff‟s") Motion to Strike Defendants‟ Affirmative Defenses ("MTS") (Doc. #15) contained in Peter James Luhn and Corbin Jerrett Poirier, individually, and d/b/a/ Matinee a/k/a Cibo Di Vino & The Matinee Lounge‟s (collectively "Defendants‟") Answer to Complaint ("Answer") (Doc. #12). Defendants oppose the motion in part ("Opposition") (Doc. #20).*fn1

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants intercepted the Oscar De La Hoya v. Manny Pacquiao Welterweight Championship Fight program ("the Program") when it was broadcast on December 6, 2008 and 2 caused it to be exhibited at their place of business without 3 Plaintiff‟s authorization. Plaintiff is the nationwide commercial 4 distributor of the Program, and assignee of the Copyright in the Program for enforcement purposes. Plaintiff filed this lawsuit 6 alleging violations of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §§ 101-1332, a 7 cause of action based on the state law tort of conversion, and 8 violations of California Business and Professions Code § 17200, et 9 seq. Defendants deny the allegations in the complaint, and assert seven affirmative defenses: 1) Failure to State a Claim for Relief, 2) Failure to Mitigate, 3) Third Party Acts, 4) No Proximate Causation, 5) License/Bonafide Purchaser, 6) Failure to Join an Indispensable Party, and 7) Equitable Estoppel. Plaintiff seeks to strike all seven affirmative defenses.

This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1367.

II. OPINION

A. Legal Standard

A Motion to Strike is brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f).

Rule 12(f) provides in pertinent part that the Court may order stricken from any pleading any insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter. . . . Motions to strike are disfavored and infrequently granted. A motion to strike should not be granted unless it is clear that the matter to be stricken could have no possible bearing on the subject matter of the litigation. Bassett v. Ruggles, No. CV-F-09-528-OWW-SMS, 2009 WL 2982895, at *24 (E.D. Cal. Sept. 14, 2009) (internal citations omitted).*fn2 A motion to strike applies to any part of a 2 pleading, including affirmative defenses. F. R. Civ. Proc. 12(f). "Affirmative defenses plead matters extraneous to the 4 plaintiff's prima facie case, which deny plaintiff's right to 5 recover, even if the allegations of the complaint are true." Fed. Deposit Ins. Corp. v. Main Hurdman, 655 F. Supp. 259, 262 7 (E.D. Cal. 1987).

"[A motion to strike] should only be granted if the 9 matter . . . may prejudice one or more of the parties to the suit." N.Y. City Employees' Ret. Sys. v. Berry, 667 F.Supp.2d 1121, 1128 (N.D. Cal. 2009) (internal citations omitted). Prejudice may be found where superfluous pleadings may confuse the jury, or where a party may be required to engage in burdensome discovery around frivolous matters. Neilson v. Union Bank of Cal., N.A., 290 F.Supp.2d 1101, 1152 (C.D. Cal. 2003) (avoiding confusion); Canadian St. Regis Band of Mohawk Indians ex rel. Francis v. New York, 278 F.Supp.2d 313, 325 (N.D. N.Y. 2003) (avoiding increased expense and burdensome discovery).

B. Discussion

1. Defenses 1-4

Plaintiff argues that the first four affirmative defenses pleaded by Defendants fail to meet the Rule 8(c) pleading standard for answers and that the pleaded defenses are legally insufficient.

MTS, at 6-8. Defendants do not oppose the motion with regard to 2 these four affirmative defenses. Accordingly, Plaintiff‟s motion 3 is GRANTED with respect to the first four ...


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