United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
OWEN BOWDRE CHEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court are cross-motions to strike allegations and
exhibits in the parties' briefing on the Defendants'
motion to abstain. (Docs. 43, 68). For the reasons discussed
below, the court DENIES both motions and will consider all of
the arguments and evidence presented in deciding the motion
own or on motion from a party, a court “may strike from
a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant,
immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f). Further, a court may strike an affidavit
if it contains inadmissible testimony not reducible to an
admissible form. See Macuba v. Deboer, 193 F.3d
1316, 1322 (11th Cir. 1999).
to grant a motion to strike is an evidentiary ruling within
the court's discretion. See United States v.
Stout, 667 F.2d 1347, 1353 (11th Cir. 1982) (“A
trial court's ruling as to the materiality, relevancy or
competency of testimony or exhibits will ordinarily not
warrant reversal unless constituting an abuse of
discretion.” (internal citations omitted)).
AAL USA's Motion to Strike Defendants'
has moved to strike the eight exhibits attached to the
Defendants' motion to abstain. The Defendants'
attached the court filings from the Madison County case and
an affidavit from Keith Woolford to their motion.
argues the court should strike the state court filings
because they are unverified pleadings and AAL USA is using
them to establish certain facts as true. The court disagrees.
In considering the motion to abstain, the court would not be
using the state court filings to establish whether a fact is
true. Instead, the court would look to those exhibits to
establish the nature of the state court litigation. Because
defining the scope of the state court action is a critical
component of any abstention analysis, these exhibits are
relevant and should not be struck.
AAL USA need not worry the exhibits will be used for an
improper purpose. See Talley v. Triton Health Sys.,
LLC, No. 2:14-CV-02325-RDP, 2016 WL 4615627, at *7 (N.D. Ala.
Sept. 6, 2016) (“The court is able to determine when
testimony and statements contained in the parties'
evidentiary submissions are conclusory or irrelevant and due
to be disregarded, without striking such evidence.”).
The court is capable of ensuring the filings from state court
are not considered as evidence of the truth of the matters
alleged, but merely as evidence of what is being litigated in
argues the court should strike the affidavit of Mr. Woolford
because it contains “a number of proven
falsehoods.” (Doc. 43 at 9). AAL USA has provided a
number of affidavits they contend contradict many of Mr.
Woolford's statements. But, at this stage of the
litigation, the existence of conflicting evidence is not a
basis to strike an exhibit. Nor is the court to make
credibility determinations when addressing these motions.
also argues Mr. Woolford's affidavit should be struck
because it contains hearsay and statements not based on his
personal knowledge. The Defendants respond that Mr.
Woolford's affidavit is merely offers evidence that
Birmingham is an inconvenient forum.
challenges two assertions related to this point. Mr. Woolford
stated that “to my knowledge, ” every Black Hall
employee working in Alabama lives in or around Madison County
and that none of the Defendants have employees, records or
operations in Jefferson County. (Doc. 9-8 at 11-12).The
phrase “to my knowledge, ” unlike “to the
best of my knowledge, ” is sufficient to satisfy the
requirements that affidavits be made on personal knowledge.
See Gayne v. Dual-Air, Inc., 600 S.W.2d 373, 375
(Tex. Civ. App. 1980) (“The words ‘within my
knowledge' . . . imply that the affiant has sufficient
knowledge of the facts to verify his statement as to the
truth and justness of the account. On the other hand, the
words ‘to the best of my knowledge' do not
necessarily connote a knowledge of the facts by the affiant
sufficient to support the verity of such a
statement.”). Because “to my knowledge” is
more akin to “within my knowledge” than “to
the best of my knowledge, ” the court finds that the
relevant statements of Mr. Woolford's affidavit were made
with personal knowledge. Therefore, the court
DENIES AAL USA's motion to strike.
Defendants' Motion to Strike AAL USA's ...