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Mireles v. Paragon Systems Inc.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

July 9, 2013

CRUZ MIRELES, et. al., Plaintiffs,
v.
PARAGON SYSTEMS INC., Defendant.

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO STRIKE [Doc. #34.]

M. JAMES LORENZ, District Judge.

On May 24, 2013, Plaintiffs filed a motion to strike three affirmative defenses from Defendant Paragon Systems, Inc.'s First Amended Answer. [Doc. # 34.] The motion has been fully briefed and is decided without oral argument.

1. Background

Plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and all others similarity situated, filed this putative class action against Defendant seeking unpaid wages and compensation for withheld meal and rest periods. (Comp. ¶ 1.) Defendant, a California corporation conducting substantial business in San Diego County, employed the named Plaintiffs as security officers. ( Id. ¶¶ 4-18.) Plaintiffs assert eight causes of action: (1) failure to provide meal period premium pay under California Labor Code §§ 226.7, 512 and California Code of Regulations Title 8, § 11040; (2) failure to provide rest break premium pay under California Labor Code §§ 226.7, 512 and California Code of Regulations Title 8, § 11040; (3) failure to pay overtime premium pay under California Labor Code §§ 510 and 1198; (4) failure to reimburse/indemnify under California Labor Code § 2802; (5) failure to provide accurate itemized wage statements under California Labor Code §§ 226 and 1174; (6) failure to promptly pay wages owed under California Labor Code §§ 201-204; (7) unfair and unlawful business practices under California Business and Professions Code §§ 17200, et. seq.; and (8) violation of California Private Attorney General Act of 2004 ("PAGA").

Defendant answered, asserting thirty-six affirmative defenses. [Doc. # 30.] Plaintiffs move to strike Defendant's 29th, 35th and 28th affirmative defenses as insufficient.

2. Rule 12(f) Legal Standard

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) provides that a court "may strike from a pleading any insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f). Motions to strike are "generally disfavored because they are often used as delaying tactics and because of the limited importance of pleadings in federal practice." Rosales v. Citibank, 133 F.Supp.2d 1177, 1180 (N.D. Cal. 2001). A federal court will not exercise its discretion under Rule 12(f) to strike a pleading unless the matters sought to be omitted have no possible relationship to the controversy, may confuse the issues, or otherwise prejudice a party. Ollier v. Sweetwater Union High Sch. Dist., 735 F.Supp.2d 1222, 1223 (2010). In other words, "[m]otions to strike generally will not be granted unless it is clear that the matter to be stricken could not have any possible bearing on the subject matter of the litigation." In re Facebook PPC Adver. Litig., 709 F.Supp.2d 762, 773 (N.D. Cal. 2010). When considering a motion to strike, the court "must view the pleadings in a light most favorable to the pleading party." In re 2TheMart.com, Inc., 114 F.Supp.2d 955, 965 (2000). Finally, Rule 12(f) "does not authorize a district court to strike a claim for damages on the ground that such damages are precluded as a matter of law." Whittlestone, Inc. v. Handi-Craft Co., 618 F.3d 970, 971 (2010).

As noted above, a court may strike a pleading that is: (1) redundant, (2) immaterial, (3) impertinent, or (4) scandalous. FED. R. CIV. P. 12(f). An "immaterial" matter has no essential or important relationship to the claim for relief or defenses pleaded. Cal. Dept. of Toxic Substances Control v. ALCO Pac., Inc., 217 F.Supp.2d 1028, 1032 (C.D. Cal. 2002) (internal citations and quotations omitted). An "impertinent" allegation is neither responsive nor relevant to the issues involved in the action. Fantasy, Inc. v. Fogerty, 984 F.2d 1524, 1527 (1993) (rev'd on other grounds). A scandalous pleading is one which "improperly casts a derogatory light on someone, most typically on a party to the action." Aoki v. Benihana, Inc., 2012 WL 899691 at *3 (D. Del. 2012) (internal citations omitted).

3. Discussion

a. Plaintiffs' Request for Judicial Notice

"Under Rule 201 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, a court may take judicial notice of a fact that is not subject to reasonable dispute' because it is either (1) generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the trial court or (2) capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.' Judicial notice may be taken at any stage of the proceeding.' Further, judicial notice is mandatory if requested by a party and supplied with the necessary information.'" Austero v. Aurora Loan Servs. Inc., C-11-00490 JCS, 2011 WL 1585530 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 27, 2011) (citing Fed.R.Evid. 201(a, f, d)).

Plaintiffs ask the Court to take judicial notice of the following documents:

1. Exhibit A: Copy of the Collective-Bargaining Agreement ("CBA") between Paragon Systems Incorporated and the United Government Security officers of America International Union, and its affiliated Local 52, effective March 17, 2008. This document was previously attached to Defendant's Notice of Removal filed January 16, 2013.

2. Exhibit B: Copy of the CBA between Paragon Systems Incorporated and the United Government Security Officers of America International Union, and its affiliated Local 52, effective November 20, 2010. This document was previously ...


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