Citation. 173 F.R.D. 509, 1997 U.S. Dist. 9218
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Brief Fact Summary.
Plaintiff, Controlled Environment Systems, answered the counterclaim of Defendant, Sun Process CO., Inc., in a manner that was contrary to Rule 8(b).
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
In order for an answer to be considered a denial under Rule 8(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a party has to affirmatively deny the allegations or represent a lack of information sufficient to form a belief regarding the allegations.
Plaint brought a claim against Defendant, and Defendant brought counterclaims. In their answer to the counterclaims, Plaintiffs claimed a lack of personal knowledge of the allegations and neither admitted or denied the allegations, and demanded strict proof of the allegations. It was uncertain to Defendant whether the answer was a denial.
The issue is whether Plaintiff satisfied Rule 8(b) to have their answer deemed a denial.
The court held that Plaintiff’s answer should be stricken and should file a corrected amendment or a self-contained Amended Answer. Rule 8(b) requires a more demanding representation in order for the answer to be considered a denial.
Plaintiff had to either admit or deny, but they could not put forward an answer that is equivocating. This puts Defendant in a position where they are uncertain how they are to respond to the answer.