Legal Memorandum: Considerations for a Motion to Strike

Issue: In Minnesota, under what facts and circumstances may a motion to strike be granted?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Grant of motion to strike; Facts and circumstances
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 427 N.W.2d 728; 170 N.W.2d 594; 417 N.W.2d 102; 481 F.2d 1204; 284 Minn. 489; 724 N.W.2d 546; 248 N.W.2d 921; 284 N.W.2d 368; 728 N.W.2d 261; 311 Minn. 236; 379 N.W.2d 194
Cited Statutes: Minn. R. Civ. P. 11, Rule 12.06, Rule 37.02(b), Rule 37.04; Minn. Prac. § 3:7
Date: 01/01/2011

There are several grounds for striking a pleading.  A motion to strike may be used when the pleader has violated Minn. R. Civ. P. 11, for instance, by making the allegations in its answer in bad faith, or pursuant to Rule 12.06, when a defense is insufficient as a matter of law.   See Minn. R. Civ. P. 11, 12.06; 30 Minn. Prac. §§ 3:2–:6, :9–:11 (2010).  Motions under Rule 11 or Rule 12.06 must, however, be brought before a responsive pleading is filed or, if none is allowed, within twenty days of service of the offending pleading, unless the court brings the motion on its own initiative (which it may do at any time).  Id.  For a general discussion of the bases for striking an answer within the Rule 11 and 12 time limits, or on the court’s own initiative, see generally 61A Am. Jur. 2d Pleading §§ 424 (2010) (striking sham or frivolous pleadings); 641 (striking an answer for substantial insufficiency); 643 (striking an answer that contradicts a written contract); 644 (striking an answer that pleads legal conclusions).

Minn. R. Civ. P. 37.02(b) permits the court to strike a pleading or parts thereof for a party’s failure to obey an order to provide discovery, and Minn. R. Civ. P. 37.04 allows the court to strike a pleading for a party’s failure to respond or object to interrogatories or document requests.  See Minn. R. Civ. P. 37.02(b), .04; 30 Minn. Prac. § 3:7. 

More specifically, under Rule 37.02,


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