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Falk v. HP Inc.

United States District Court, D. Idaho

May 4, 2018

KEVIN FALK, Plaintiff,
v.
HP INC. a Delaware Corporation, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          B. Lynn Winmill, Chief U.S. District Court Judge.

         INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Amend his Complaint (Dkt. 14), and Defendant's Motion to Dismiss the Second Cause of Action (Dkt. 9) and Motion to Strike (Dkt. 10). The motions are fully briefed, and the Court finds these matters appropriate for decision without oral argument. For the reasons described below, the Court will grant Plaintiff's motion to amend, and deny Defendant's motions as moot.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff's Complaint alleges violations of the Age Discrimination and Employment Act (“ADEA”), the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (“OWBPA”), the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended (“ADA-AA”), and the Idaho Human Rights Act (“IHRA”), as well as other state law claims. Compl. ¶1, Dkt 1. On January 17, 2018, Defendant timely filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Cause of Action, Motion to Dismiss, Dkt. 9, and a Motion to Strike Plaintiff's claims for punitive damages under Idaho state law, Motion to Strike, Dkt. 10. Defendant filed an Answer on January 18, 2018. Answer, Dkt. 12.

         On February 7, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Amend his Complaint. Motion to Amend, Dkt. 14. Plaintiff agreed to remove the second cause of action, and to strike his claims for punitive damages under Idaho law. See Pl.'s Br., Dkt, 14-1. Defendant objected, and the parties briefed all three motions.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         “A party may amend its pleadings once as a matter of course within . . . 21 days after service of a responsive pleading or . . . motion under Rule 12(b).” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1)(B). Otherwise, a party may amend its pleading with the consent of the other party or with leave from the court. Id. 15(a)(2). “The court should freely give leave when justice so requires.” Id.

         On motion by a party, “the court may strike from a pleading . . . any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.” Id. 12(f). Motions to strike are “disfavored” because they are often “sought by the movant simply as a dilatory or harassing tactic.” 5C Charles Alan Wright and Arthur R. Miller. Federal Practice & Procedure, § 1380 (3d ed. 2012).

         Under Idaho law, “no claim for damages shall be filed containing a prayer for relief seeking punitive damages.” Idaho Code § 6-1604(2). Instead, “a party may, pursuant to a pretrial motion and after hearing before the court, amend the pleadings to include a prayer for relief seeking punitive damages.” Id.

         ANALYSIS

         1. Motion to Strike

         Plaintiff's Complaint contains a prayer for relief seeking punitive and liquidated damages. See Compl. at 12. Defendant filed a Motion to Strike Plaintiff's claims for punitive damages under Idaho law, pursuant to Idaho Code § 6-1604(2). See Motion to Strike, Dkt. 10. As indicated by the filing of Plaintiff's Motion to Amend and his proposed First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff has agreed only to pursue punitive damages under federal law at this stage. See Pl.'s Br. at 2, Dkt. 14-1; Proposed Am. Compl. at 12, Dkt. 14-3. Defendant does not object. Def.'s Reply at 2-3, Dkt. 19. As such, the Court will grant Plaintiff's motion as to punitive damages, and will deny Defendant's Motion to Strike as moot.

         2. Motion to Dismiss ...


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