United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
ORDER GRANTING IN PART MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF
THE AMENDED COMPLAINT
L. LUDINGTON United States District Judge
October 26, 2016, Plaintiff Aaron Robinson filed a complaint
which alleged that Defendants Genesee County Sheriff's
Department, Sergeant Gerald Park, Deputy Ryan Rainwater,
Deputy F/N/U Hoover, and ten other John Does repeatedly beat
and otherwise mistreated Robinson while he was confined in
the Genesee County Jail. ECF No. 1. Defendant Rainwater was
served on December 16, 2016. In response to the complaint,
Rainwater filed a motion for a more definite statement, ECF
No. 6, seeking additional information regarding “which
Defendant allegedly committed what tort and when.”
Id. at 4. On January 16, 2017, the Genesee County
Sheriff's Department appeared for the purpose of filing a
motion to dismiss, arguing that a sheriff's department is
not an independent legal entity that is amenable to suit
under Michigan law. ECF No. 14. On January 30, 2017, Robinson
filed a motion to substitute Genesee County for the
Sheriff's Department as a Defendant, acknowledging that
the Sheriff's Department should not have been named as a
Defendant. On February 14, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion
seeking leave to file an amended complaint and a motion
seeking an extension of the service deadline. ECF Nos. 25,
March 24, 2017, the Court issued an opinion and order
addressing the pending motions. ECF No. 36. Among other
things, the Court dismissed the Genesee County Sheriff's
Department, but directed Robinson to file an amended
complaint which provided a more definite statement and added
Genesee County as a Defendant on or before April 7, 2017.
Robinson did not file an amended complaint that provided a
more definite statement at the deadline. After being directed
to show cause why the suit should not be dismissed for
failure to provide a more definite statement, see
ECF No. 40, Robinson filed a more definite statement in
narrative form. ECF No. 47. Robinson also requested, for the
third time, that the deadline to serve Defendant Hoover be
extended. ECF No. 46. On June 2, 2017, the Court granted
Robinson another extension of time to file an amended
complaint which complied with the previous order to provide a
more definite statement, but denied the motion for an
extension of time to serve Defendant Hoover. ECF No. 55.
16, 2017, Robinson filed an amended complaint which
incorporated, in pleading form, the information in his
previously filed more definite statement. ECF No. 56. On June
30, 2017, Defendants filed a motion to strike portions of the
amended complaint, ECF No. 57, and an answer to the amended
complaint. ECF No. 58. For the following reasons,
Defendants' motion to strike will be granted in part.
stage, all well-pleaded allegations in Robinson's amended
complaint are assumed to be true. In the amended complaint,
Robinson names F/N/U Rainwater, Sergeant Gerald Park, and
Genesee County as Defendants. Am. Compl., ECF No. 56.
Robinson alleges that he was arrested in August 2011 and
charged with “larceny, firearms, home invasion and with
the murder of a highly respected retired Genesee County
Sheriff Department Lieutenant who arrived home while the
burglary was in process.” Id. at 3-4. While
awaiting trial, Robinson was incarcerated at the Genesee
County Jail. Id. at 3.
alleges that, during his incarceration, “he was
assaulted, with varying degrees of severity, by [Genesee
County Jail] guards 3-4 times per week.” Id.
at 4. “Each and every one of Plaintiff's assailants
referenced their relationship with the slain lieutenant as
the reason they were assaulting[, ] beating, threatening and
torturing the Plaintiff.” Id. Robinson asserts
that the assaults “typically involved 3-4 guards”
who “on most occasions wore black gloves during the
assaults.” Id. Robinson was allegedly
assaulted in his cell, in the common area, and in solitary
confinement. Id. at 4-5. Sometimes, Robinson was
handcuffed before the assaults occurred. Id. at 4.
to Robinson, Defendant Rainwater “was present during
Plaintiff's entire period of incarceration at GCJ and
frequently bragged about being an MMA amateur fighter. He was
a ring-leader and participated in at least 50% of the
beatings.” Id. at 13. Defendant Park, also a
“ring-leader, ” participated in about half the
beatings. Id. Robinson asserts that Park used his
position of authority to condone the assaults and provide
“false testimony in the various misconduct
hearings.” Id. at 14. Robinson alleges that
Park's employment was terminated because a civil suit
exposed Park's chronic mistreatment of inmates.
his incarceration, Robinson was repeatedly placed in solitary
confinement (spending a total of seven months in solitary).
Id. at 5. Robinson alleges that, when falsely
accused of charges that would result in solitary confinement,
the guards interfered with his ability to defend himself at
the hearing. Id. at 6. While in solitary
confinement, Robinson allegedly experienced repeated abuse,
including being denied meals. Id. at 5. He also
alleges that, on at least one occasion, the water to his cell
was turned off and then he was pepper sprayed. Id.
at 6. In general, Robinson did not receive medical treatment
for his injuries. Id. at 11.
provides several descriptions of specific assaults. For
example, he alleges that the first assault occurred four days
after his arrest. Robinson was accused of throwing a tissue
out of his cell by second shift personnel. When third shift
personnel came on duty, they removed Robinson's cellmate,
handcuffed Robinson, and beat him. Id. at 7. The
last assault occurred in October 28, 2013, when Robinson was
being transferred to Michigan Department of Corrections
custody. While processing Robinson, Rainwater allegedly
punched him in the right eye. Id. at 12.
alleges that he kept a journal of the beatings. Id.
at 8. However, the journal was confiscated when he was placed
in solitary confinement and he has not recovered it.
Id. at 9. Robinson also alleges that he phoned a
friend after each attack and informed her. He further alleges
that his sister visited him twice and on both occasions saw
bruises on his body. Id.
informed both his trial counsel and the presiding judge of
his mistreatment. Id. at 10-11. Robinson contends
that shift supervisors at the jail were aware of the beatings
but did not stop the beatings, report the incidents, or
otherwise investigate. Id. at 12. Robinson alleges
that some of the beatings were recorded by surveillance
cameras within the jail, but Robinson is unsure if those
recordings still exist. Id. at 14-15.
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f), the “court
may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any
redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous
matter.” The district court may strike a portion of a
pleading on its own, or “on motion made by a party
either before responding to the pleading, or, if a response
is not allowed, within 21 days after being served with the
pleading.” Id. at Rule 12(f)(2). A defense is
insufficient “if as a matter of law, the defense cannot
succeed under any circumstances.” Hahn v. Best
Recovery Servs., LLC, 2010 WL 4483375, *2 (E.D. Mich.
Nov.1, 2010) (internal quotation marks and citations
omitted). A Rule 12(f) motion is also proper “if it
aids in eliminating spurious issues before trial, thereby
streamlining the litigation.” Id. (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted). “Generally,
however, a Rule 12(f) motion should not be granted if the
insufficiency of the defense is not clearly apparent, or if
it raises factual issues that should be determined on a
hearing on the merits.” Id. (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted). Motions seeking to
strike an affirmative defense are disfavored and should be
used sparingly. As observed by the Sixth Circuit, a motion to
strike “is a ...