Tuesday, April 15, 2008, 9:42 PM

COA Holds Trial Court Erred In Striking Untimely Answer

Today in Carpenter v. Carpenter the Court of Appeals (COA) held that a failure to timely file an answer is not a proper ground for striking a pleading under Rule 12(f).

A week and a half after the deadline passed for filing an answer to her complaint, Plaintiff moved for judgment on the pleadings. Defendant responded by filing an answer two weeks later, which was about four weeks after the deadline, and it raised affirmative defenses and counterclaims. Plaintiff moved under Rule 12(f) to strike the answer as untimely. The motion was granted. Then, on the basis of that ruling, the trial court granted Plaintiff's motion to for judgment on the pleadings. The COA held that the trial court abused its discretion in striking defendant's untimely answer.

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