Federal judge rejects 'bare bones' motions to dismiss

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Aug 19, 2014

ST. LOUIS (Legal Newsline) – A Missouri federal judge has denied several motions to dismiss an asbestos case, holding that the defendants’ motions were “bare bones” requests with no legal support.

Plaintiff Birlie Smith filed the action on behalf of decedent Ronald Smith, Sr., alleging he was exposed to asbestos from military aircraft while employed at Boeing.

The case was removed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri after Boeing Company asserted an independent right to removal according to the Federal Officer Removal Statute.

Judge Catherine D. Perry delivered the July 22 order.

Perry explained that numerous motions to dismiss the claims alleged by Smith were filed in state court by various defendants.

However, because a first amended petition was filed in state court, Perry concluded the motions are moot and denied each one.

Additionally, several motions to dismiss the amended petition were also filed in state court by various defendants.

Perry explained that the motions seek dismissal on the plaintiff’s alleged failure to state a claim.

“These are all bare bones motions, unsupported by any legal memoranda,” she held.

After reviewing the plaintiff’s complaint, Perry found that it adequately stated claims against the defendants seeking dismissal.

“I also find that plaintiff is not required to file a more definite statement of her claims against these defendants, as I do not find the complaint so unintelligible, vague, or ambiguous such that the defendants cannot reasonably frame a response,” she wrote.

As a result, Perry denied all other pending motions to dismiss as moot.

She added that any motions for summary judgment are also denied, but parties may submit new motions in accordance with federal and local rules after a case schedule has been set.

“I warn all parties, however, that I will not tolerate generic, baseless motion practice designed to delay or to multiply the proceedings, so any motion must accord with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11, the local rules of this court, and counsel’s attendant ethical obligations to this court,” Perry added.

Furthermore, Perry granted defendant Pneumo Abex’s motion for institution of denials.

Pneumo Abex asked the court to apply Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 5(c)(1)(B), which holds that “in cases involving a large number of defendants, ‘any cross claim, counterclaim, avoidance or affirmative defense in those pleadings and replies to them will be treated as denied or avoided by all other parties.’”

“Given the number of defendants and the voluminous size of the state court file, I believe it is appropriate to grant this motion,” Perry concluded.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Heather Isringhausen Gvillo at asbestos@legalnewsline.com

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