Monday, July 19, 2010

Twombly and Iqbal Have No Application to Pleading Affirmative Defenses

Plaintiffs' motion to strike defendants invalidity and equitable affirmative defenses was denied as moot because the court granted plaintiffs leave to file an amended complaint. However, the court provided "guidance" for any future motion challenging the sufficiency of defendant's affirmative defenses. "[Defendant's] affirmative defenses of patent invalidity, unclean hands, estoppel, laches, and waiver are insufficient, Plaintiffs argue, because they are without factual basis or a showing of plausibility. . . . The pleading of affirmative defenses is governed by Rule 8(c). That rule requires only that a party 'affirmatively state any avoidance or affirmative defense.' It does not contain the language from Rule 8(a) requiring a 'short and plain statement of the claim showing the pleader is entitled to relief[.]' Nor does it include the 'short and plain terms' language found in Rule 8(b). The Court is of the view that the pleading standards enunciated in [Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)] and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937 (2009), have no application to affirmative defenses pled under Rule 8(c)."

Ameristar Fence Products, Inc. et al. v. Phoenix Fence Company et al., 2-10-cv-00299 (AZD July 15, 2010, Order) (Campbell, J.)

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