United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division
K. EPPS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is Defendants' motion to strike pleading and
for sanctions filed after the case was administratively
closed. (Doc. no. 133.) Plaintiff opposes the motion. (Doc.
no. 134.) The Court DIRECTS the Clerk to reopen the case, and
for the reasons set forth below, GRANTS Defendants'
motion to strike pleading (doc. no. 133-2), DENIES
Defendants' motion for sanctions (doc. no. 133-1), and
STRIKES Plaintiff's Notice to Court of Outcome of the
Mediation (doc. no. 132) from the record.
September 26, 2016, the Court, having been notified by the
parties of their interest in settlement, ordered the Clerk of
Court to administratively close this case pending mediation.
(Doc. no. 126.) The Court further instructed the parties to
conduct a mediation and notify the Court of its outcome on or
before November 28, 2016. (Id.)
November 28, 2016, Defendants filed a Report on Mediation,
informing the Court that mediation was unsuccessful and the
case is ready for trial. (Doc. no. 130.) On December 1, 2016,
Plaintiff filed his own Notice to Court of Outcome of the
Mediation. (Doc. no. 132.) In this Notice, Plaintiff detailed
the timeline and substance of the mediation, including the
negotiation position of Plaintiff and Defendants and their
respective settlement offers. (See id. at 3-4.)
Plaintiff also alleged that Defendants obstructed justice by
transferring Plaintiff to the mediation without his legal
materials in retaliation for his filing of this lawsuit.
(Id. at 2.) Plaintiff further alleged this transfer
caused him to lose eighteen pounds and “put [him] at
risk of heart attack or stroke.” (Id.)
subsequently filed a motion to strike Plaintiff's Notice
and for sanctions. (Doc. no. 133.) They contend
Plaintiff's Notice violates the confidentiality terms of
the mediation, introduces improper evidence of offers of
settlement negotiation, and contains no relevant information
to the case. (See id. at 1-3.) They further request
corrective sanctions against Plaintiff for his
“symbolic thumbing his nose at the process of law,
” but do not recommend any sanction in particular.
(Id. at 3-4.) Plaintiff opposes their motion,
contending as a pro se litigant he did not fully
understand the confidentiality terms of the mediation and
that his allegations regarding his treatment during transport
are cognizable constitutional violations. (Doc. no. 134.)
Plaintiff's Notice to Court of Outcome of the Mediation
Should Be Struck from the Record.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f), “[t]he court may
strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any
redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous
matter.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f). “Although reflective
of ‘the inherent power of the Court to prune down
pleadings, ' motions to strike are drastic, generally
disfavored remedies.” Tomason v. Stanley, 297
F.R.D. 541, 544 (S.D. Ga. 2014) (internal citations omitted).
Therefore, a motion to strike will generally “be denied
unless the allegations have no possible relation to the
controversy and may cause prejudice to one of the
parties.” Payne v. J.B. Hunt Transp., Inc.,
154 F.Supp.3d 1310, 1317 (M.D. Fla. 2016) (quoting Seibel
v. Soc'y Lease, Inc., 969 F.Supp. 713, 715 (M.D.
Plaintiff's Notice has no possible relation to the
present controversy. Defendants have already notified the
Court that mediation was unsuccessful and the case is ready
for trial; Plaintiff does not dispute this information. The
settlement amounts offered by Defendants and demanded by
Plaintiff have no bearing on the outcome of this case.
Nothing in Plaintiff's Notice is relevant to the merits
of the controversy at issue.
contends his Notice is relevant because the manner of his
transportation to the mediation was retaliatory and therefore
constitutionally impermissible. However, Defendants'
alleged retaliation is not at issue in this action; the only
issue is whether Plaintiff has a valid Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”) claim
under 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc-1(a) and an Establishment
Clause claim against Defendants. (See doc. no. 14,
pp. 2-3.) Therefore, Plaintiff's allegations regarding
retaliation are separate claims and have no relation to the
present case. Should Plaintiff wish to pursue claims related
to his transportation to the mediation, he must file a new
complaint and motion to proceed in forma pauperis.
the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion to Strike Pleading
(doc. no. 133-2) and STRIKES from the record Plaintiff's
Notice to Court of Outcome of the Mediation (doc. no. 132).
Plaintiff Should Not Be Sanctioned.
also request the Court sanction Plaintiff for his disclosures
and inflammatory allegations in his Notice. (Doc. no. 133-1.)
“[O]nce a pro se . . . litigant is in court,
he is subject to the relevant law and rules of court,
including the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. These rules
provide for sanctions for misconduct and for failure to
comply with court orders.” Moon v. Newsome,
863 F.2d 835, 837 (11th Cir. 1989). However, when considering
sanctions, “the court must take into account the