United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division
RAJASHAKHER P. REDDY, Plaintiff,
MANJU MORRISSEY, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
YIM YOU UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
action, filed by Rajashakher P. Reddy (“Reddy”)
against Manju Morrissey (“Morrissey”), arises
from a dispute concerning the ownership of Piper and
Associates, LLC (“Piper”). Compl., ECF #1.
Morrissey moves the court for an order striking portions of
the complaint pursuant to FRE 408. ECF #5. For the reasons that
follow, the motion to strike is denied.
moves the court to strike paragraphs 19-23, 32, 34-36, 45,
and 51 of the complaint on the basis that they are
inadmissible settlement communications and negotiations under
12(f) permits a court to “strike from a pleading an
insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial,
impertinent, or scandalous matter.” Motions to strike
are generally disfavored and are not granted unless it is
clear that the matter sought to be stricken could have no
possible bearing on the subject matter of the litigation.
See LeDuc v. Kentucky Cent. Life Ins. Co.,
814 F.Supp. 820, 830 (N.D. Cal. 1992); Colaprico v. Sun
Microsystem, Inc., 758 F.Supp. 1335, 1339 (N.D. Cal.
courts in this circuit have acknowledged, FRCP 12(f) may been
used to strike allegations from complaints that detail
settlement negotiations. See Jones v. Metro Life
Ins. Co., No. C-08-03971-JW (DMR), 2010 WL 4055928, at
*14 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 15, 2010) (“[U]nder [FRCP] 12(f),
courts have granted motions to strike references to
settlement negotiations even at the pleadings stage of a
case, on the basis that the contents of settlement
discussions would otherwise be inadmissible under Federal
Rule of Evidence 408 and are therefore immaterial and
potentially prejudicial.”); see also
Baroness Small Estates, Inc. v. BJ's Restaurants,
Inc., No. SACV 11-468-JST, 2011 WL 13228020, at *2 (C.D.
Cal. Sept. 15, 2011); Stewart v. Wachowski, No. CV
03-2873 MMM (VBKx), 2004 WL 5618386, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Sept.
28, 2004). “Under Rule 408, evidence of conduct or
statements made in compromise negotiations is inadmissible to
prove liability . . . . Although this is a rule of evidence,
courts have routinely granted motions to strike allegations
in pleadings that fall within the scope of Rule 408.”
Stewart, 2004 WL 5618386, at *2 (citing Kelly v.
L.L. Cool J., 145 F.R.D. 32, 40 (S.D.N.Y. 1992)).
to strike are generally disfavored. Rosales v.
Citibank, 133 F.Supp.2d 1177, 1180 (N.D. Cal. 2001);
Lazar v. Trans Union LLC, 195 F.R.D. 665, 669 (C.D.
Cal. 2000). Whether to grant a motion to strike is within the
sound discretion of the district court. Lemberg v. JP
Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., No.17-cv-05241-JSC, 2018 WL
2463214, at *3 (N.D. Cal. June 1, 2018). In exercising its
discretion, the court views the pleadings in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party. Koninklijke Philips
Elec. N.V. v. Nat'l Film Labs Inc., No. CV 12-4576
GAF (FFMx), 2012 WL 12886833, at *3 (C.D. Cal. Dec. 4, 2012).
Courts often require a “showing of prejudice by the
moving party” before granting the requested relief.
Sec. and Exch. Comm'n v. Sands, 902 F.Supp.
1149, 1166 (C.D. Cal. 1995). In most cases, a motion to
strike should not be granted unless “the matter to be
stricken clearly could have no possible bearing on the
subject of the litigation.” Platte Anchor Bolt,
Inc. v. IHI, Inc., 352 F.Supp.2d 1048, 1057 (N.D. Cal.
2004); Wailua Assocs. v. Aetna Cas. and Sur. Co.,
183 F.R.D. 550, 553-54 (D. Haw. 1998).
paragraphs 20-22, 32, 34-36, 45, and 51 do not disclose a
post-contractual settlement effort, but rather, when read in
a light most favorable to Reddy, are merely references to the
terms of the original agreement and Morrissey's purported
breach of that agreement. Likewise, this court is not
persuaded to strike paragraph 19 of the complaint, which
alleges that Reddy “further offered to pay [Morrissey]
$12, 642, which was the outstanding amount of expenses that
[Morrissey] represented to [Reddy] she had incurred.”
Compl. ¶ 19, ECF #1. Despite the use of the word
“offered, ” there is no reason to believe this is
a compromise amount or anything other than what Reddy
allegedly owed under the original agreement, which
purportedly included repayment of expenses. See Id.
in paragraph 23 of the complaint, Reddy alleges that
Morrissey “demanded $350, 000 in exchange for
returning” the property. Id. ¶ 23. It is
unclear in what context this demand was made and whether it
was an offer of compromise. “A litigant asserting the
applicability of [FRE] 408 must make a ‘substantial
showing' that the communications were part of the
attempts to settle the dispute.” Rondor Music
Int'l, Inc., v. TVT Records LLC, No. CV 05- 2909,
2006 WL 5105272, *11 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 21, 2006). Morrissey
also has failed to show how leaving this allegation in the
complaint causes her any prejudice. Given the uncertainty
regarding admissibility, the disfavored status of motions to
strike, and the absence of any specific prejudice to
Morrissey, the court declines to strike paragraph 23 at this
time. Stewart, 2004 WL 5618386, at *6;
see also Anchutz Corp. v. Merrill Lynch and Co.
Inc., 785 F.Supp.2d 799, 820 (N.D. Cal. 2011) (denying
motion to strike where it cannot be said that the settlements
“have no possible bearing on the subject of the
motion to strike pursuant to FRCP 12(f) (ECF #5) is DENIED.