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Metropolitan Property & Casualty Insurance Co. v. Bolin

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Ashland

March 8, 2018

METROPOLITAN PROPERTY & CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHNNY E. BOLIN, DEFENDANT.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Henrv ft. Wllholt. Jr. United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court upon Defendant Johnny E. Bolin's Motion for a More Definite Statement [Docket No. 6]. Plaintiff has responded to the motion [Docket No. 7]. For the reasons set forth herein, the Court will overrule the motion.

         I.

         On November 26, 2016, certain property at 2224 Jones Creek Road in West Liberty, Kentucky was destroyed by fire [Complaint, Docket No. 1, ¶ 3].

         Plaintiff Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company ("Metropolitan") issued a Homeowners Insurance Policy, Policy No. 4880443700, with a renewal, issued to Named Insured Johnny Bolin, with an effective policy term of December 9, 2015 to December 9, 2016. Id. at ¶8.

         Following the fire, Bolin made a claim pursuant to the policy. Id. at ¶ 12.

         Subsequently, on December 22, 2017. Metropolitan filed this civil action. In its Complaint for Declaratory Judgment, Metropolitan alleged that there may be no coverage, or only limited coverage, under the Policy to the extent that Bolin may have (1) not had an insurable interest in the property, (2) breached the Policy, (3) failed to cooperate in the investigation of the claim, and/or (4) concealed or misrepresented material facts.

         In response to the Complaint, Bolin filed a motion, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.Proc. 12(e), seeking a more definite statement of the claims alleged.

         II.

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(e) provides:

A party may move for a more definite statement of a pleading to which a responsive pleading is allowed but which is so vague or ambiguous that the party cannot reasonably prepare a response. The motion must be made before filing a responsive pleading and must point out the defects complained of and the details desired.

Fed.R.Civ.Proc. 12(e).

         Rule 12(e) must be read in conjunction with Rule 8 which sets forth the general rules of pleading in federal civil actions. Rule 8(a)(2) requires only notice pleading. Leatherman v. Tarrant County Narcotics Intelligence & Coordination Unit, 507 U.S. 163, 168 (1993). A complaint need only provide "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Thus, to satisfy the pleading requirements a claimant need only give the defendant "fair notice of what the plaintiffs claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Dura Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Broudo, 544 U.S. 336, 346 (2005) (internal citation omitted).

         In view of the great liberality of Rule 8, permitting notice pleading, Rule 12(e) should be called upon only to correct abject unintelligibility in a pleading, not merely a claimed lack of detail. Accordingly, a "motion for more definite statement is designed to strike at unintelligibility rather than simple want of detail.... [It] must be denied where the subject complaint is not so vague or ambiguous as to make it unreasonable to use pretrial devices to fill any possible gaps in detail." Schwablev. Coates, 2005 WL 2002360, at *1 (N.D.Ohio 2005), see also SKY Technology Partners, LLC v. Midwest Research Institute, 125 F.Supp.2d 286, 298 (S.D.Ohio 2000) (A "motion ...


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