Brown v. Clayton
A District Court possesses the power to strike documents that qualify as "immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous," pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f). The plaintiff, George Brown, filed a civil-rights suit, pursuant to 42 United States Code §1983. The defendant alleged that Brown's attorney, Sally Roberts, filed "irrelevant and false accusations about defense counsel's conduct." The defendant requested that the court order sanctions and strike pleadings. The court found that unsubstantiated attacks on the integrity, ethics and character of defense counsel were not merited. "The pleadings," wrote the court, "contain language directed toward defendant's counsel that is abusive, inappropriate, unwarranted and unprofessional." Attorney Roberts offered to apologize and to retract statements in court pleadings that reference defense counsel. The court ordered Attorney Roberts to apologize in writing to the defendant's attorney within seven days. The court ordered the clerk of the court to strike four documents as "immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous," pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f). The court granted the defendant permission to file a Rule 11 request for sanctions and a motion for costs.