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Kegerise v. Susquehanna Township School District

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Brief Fact Summary.

Plaintiff claimed that Defendants violated state and federal laws in connection with her alleged discharge as school superintendent. She sought judgment on the pleadings based on Defendants’ allegedly insufficient responses to the allegations of the complaint.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(b) permits a party to respond to an allegation by (1) denying it; (2) admitting it; or (3) stating that it lacks information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the allegation.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

A party may also be held to the duty to exert reasonable effort to obtain knowledge of a fact.

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Facts.

Plaintiff sued Defendants seeking to recover damages for her alleged discharge as superintendent, which she claimed violated both state and federal law. She alleged that Defendants’ responses to some of the allegations of the complaint were insufficient under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(b) and that those allegations should therefore be deemed admitted, which would lead to judgment for Plaintiff on various counts of the complaint.

Issue.

Were Defendants’ responses to the allegations of the complaint inadequate such that the allegations should be deemed admitted?

Held.

No. The responses were inadequate in all but a few instances; nevertheless, the court granted Defendants an opportunity to file an amended answer.

Discussion.

Defendants violated Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 8(b)(4) by denying part of an allegation but not also admitting or denying the rest of the allegation, and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(b) by neither admitting nor denying allegations but asserting that they were conclusions of law for which no response was required, and claiming lack of information or knowledge with regard to allegations of which they should have knowledge.


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