Wanamaker v. Town of Westport, Board of Education
While there is authority to the contrary, the better-reasoned and more modern view is that a motion to strike is not an appropriate vehicle for challenging evidence presented in support of, or in opposition to a motion for summary judgment. Sally Wanamaker, a former elementary school teacher with the Westport Board of Education, brought this suit against the board alleging violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. §2601, Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12101 and Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, C.G.S. §46a-60(a). Pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the defendant moved for summary judgment. As required by the local rules of the district, the defendant filed a Local Rule 56(a)1 statement. The plaintiff responded with a Local Rule 56(a)2 statement. The defendant moved to strike some of the plaintiff's statement and exhibits offered in opposition to the summary judgment motion. The District Court denied the motion. The defendant's motion to strike challenged the admissibility of certain exhibits and portions of the statement for failing to comply with Local Rule 56(a). A court only may consider admissible evidence when ruling on a motion for summary judgment. That premise, however, does not translate into a requirement that these matters be stricken. The modern view is that a motion to strike is not an appropriate vehicle for challenging evidence presented in support of or in opposition to a motion for summary judgment. In 2010, Rule 56(c)(2) was amended to call for a simple "objection" to summary judgment evidence that cannot be presented in a form that would be admissible at trial. The drafters of the 2010 amendment stated that "[t]here is no need to make a separate motion to strike." Rule 12(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, governing motions to strike, allows a court to strike pleadings only. Arguments largely based upon the lack of relevancy of certain exhibits or that the exhibit in question does not support the proposition for which it is cited should be made in the reply brief, not in a motion to strike.