United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division
ORDER AND OPINION
matter is before the court upon Plaintiff David Roberts,
III's Motion to Strike. (ECF No. 10.) Plaintiff seeks to
strike a number of Defendant Auto Pro's Sales of Rock
Hill Inc.'s (“Defendant”) affirmative
defenses (ECF No. 7), prayer for declaratory judgment (ECF
No. 7), and Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 7). (ECF No. 10 at 1.)
For the reasons stated herein, the court
DENIES Plaintiff's Motion to Strike (ECF
No. 10), DENIES Defendant's Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings (ECF No. 7), and
GRANTS Defendant's voluntary withdrawal
of its prayer for declaratory judgment (ECF No. 16).
court has original jurisdiction over the federal claims in
this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 because the
action arises under federal law, specifically 15 U.S.C.
§ 1643. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 1.) Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1367, the court has supplemental jurisdiction over all
state claims because the state and federal claims derive from
a common nucleus of operative facts. (ECF No. 1.)
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
purchased an automobile from Defendant in May 2018. (ECF No.
1 ¶ 5; ECF No. 7 ¶ 4.) The parties agree that on
the day of purchase, Plaintiff signed a Retail Installment
Contract & Security Agreement (the
“Contract”) that indicated $150.00 bi-weekly
payments and a total price of $3, 250.00. (ECF No. 1-1.; ECF
No. 1 ¶ 6; ECF No. 12 ¶ 5.) A second, unsigned
contract for the automobile indicates a total financed amount
of $7, 500.00. (ECF No. 1-2.)
Plaintiff filed his Complaint on August 31, 2018, claiming
that Defendant committed fraud, was negligent and reckless.
(ECF No. 1 ¶ 1.) He also alleged that Defendant
violated the Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1643
et seq.; the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices
Act, SC Code Ann. § 39-5-10 et seq. (1985 &
Supp. 2017); and the South Carolina Dealer's Act, SC Code
Ann. § 56-15-10 et seq. (2006 & Supp. 2015)
(ECF No. 1 ¶ 1.) Plaintiff seeks monetary
damages and demands a jury trial. (Id. at 9-10.)
Defendant answered by specifically denying Plaintiff's
allegations and asserting a bona fide clerical error was
made. (ECF No. 7 ¶¶ 4-5.) Defendant counterclaimed
for damages stemming from Plaintiff's alleged breach of
contract and unjust enrichment. (Id. ¶¶
20-21.) Defendant asserted affirmative defenses under the
doctrines of breach of contract, unjust enrichment/unclean
hands, waiver and estoppel, and wrongdoing and asserted an
affirmative defense based on Plaintiff's violation of the
covenant of good faith and fair dealing. (Id.
¶¶ 21-25.) In his Answer, Defendant included a
Motion to Dismiss which the court construes to be under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). (Id. ¶¶ 26-27.)
Plaintiff filed a Motion to Strike: 1) Defendant's
affirmative defenses of waiver and estoppel, wrongdoing, and
Plaintiff's violation of the covenant of good faith and
fair dealing; 2) Defendant's request for declaratory
judgment; and 3) Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No.
10.) Defendant responded by voluntarily withdrawing its
request for declaratory judgment. (ECF No. 16.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Motion to Strike under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f)
12(f) motion allows a federal court, acting on its own or
upon a party's motion, to “strike from a pleading
an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial,
impertinent, or scandalous matter.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f).
Generally, such motions “are only granted when the
challenged allegations ‘have no possible relation or
logical connection to the subject matter of the
controversy' or ‘cause some form of significant
prejudice to one or more of the parties to the
action.'” Moore v. Novo Nordisk, Inc., No.
1:10-2182-MBS-JRM, 2011 WL 1085650, at *8 (D.S.C. Feb. 10,
2011) (citations omitted). “A motion to strike is a
drastic remedy which is disfavored by the courts and
infrequently granted.” Clark v. Milam, 152
F.R.D. 66, 70 (S.D. W.Va. 1993). See also Waste Mgmt.
Holdings, Inc. v. Gilmore, 252 F.3d 316, 347 (4th Cir.
2001) (“Rule 12(f) motions are generally viewed with
disfavor ‘because striking a portion of a pleading is a
drastic remedy and because it is often sought by the movant
simply as a dilatory tactic.'” (quoting 5A Charles
Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice
& Procedure § 1380 (2d ed. 1990))).
12(f) motion falls within the discretion of a district court.
See Palmetto Pharm. LLC v. Astrazeneca Pharm. LP,
No. 2:11-cv-00807-SB-JDA, 2012 WL 6025756, at *4 (D.S.C. Nov.
6, 2012) (citation omitted); Xerox Corp. v. ImaTek,
Inc., 220 F.R.D. 241, 243 (D. Md. 2003). “When
reviewing a motion to strike, ‘the court must view the
pleading under attack in a light most favorable to the
pleader.'” Piontek v. Serv. Ctrs. Corp.,
No. PJM 10-1202, 2010 WL 4449419, at *3 (D. Md. Nov. 5, 2010)
Motion to Dismiss
party files a motion to dismiss contemporaneously with its
answer, federal courts should treat the motion to dismiss as
seeking a judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(c), rather than as a motion to dismiss pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). See Walter v. Kelly, 589 F.3d
127, 139 (4th Cir. 2009). See also L. Foster Consulting,
LLC v. XL Grp., Inc., No. 3:llcv800-REP, 2012 WL
2785904, at *1 (E.D. Va. 2012). “A motion for judgment
on the pleadings made pursuant to Rule 12(c) is decided under
the same standard as a motion to dismiss made pursuant to
Rule 12(b)(6) with the sole difference being that the court
is to consider the answer in addition to the
complaint.” L. Foster Consulting, LLC, 2012 WL
2785904, at *3 (citing Walter, 589 F.3d at 139).
12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted “challenges the legal sufficiency
of a complaint.” Francis v. Giacomelli, 588
F.3d 186, 192 (4th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted);
Republican Party of N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943,
952 (4th Cir. 1992) (“A motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6) . . . does not resolve contests surrounding the
facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of
defenses.”). To be legally sufficient, a pleading must
contain a “short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
12(b)(6) motion “should not be granted unless it
appears certain that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts
which would support its claim and would entitle it to
relief.” Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d
1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion, a federal court should accept, as true, all
well-pleaded allegations and should view the complaint in a
light most favorable to the plaintiff. Ostrzenski v.
Seigel, 177 F.3d 245, 251 (4th Cir. 1999); Mylan
Labs., 7 F.3d at 1134. “To survive a motion to
dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
“A claim ...