Rule 8, Specific Cases

Zielinski v. Philadelphia Piers (PPI)
  • Forklift collided with plaintiff cause him to be injured and to seek damages. In federal court on diversity (since this is a tort case, Yeazell, bottom of p. 384).
  • PPI not company really responsible for accident, but plaintiff wants PPI in the case anyway. Wants order saying PPI the operator and employer of person at fault
    • A judicially imposed stipulation (deem something to be true that X is true as a matter of law even if not as a matter of fact).
    • I.e., just deem PPI as the employer (as "admitted") even though PPI hasn't admitted that.
    • Will assume admission for purposes of trial.
  • Why? Because PPI screwed up litigation in Answer (ineffective denial).
    • PPI denied "owned, operated and controlled," and that accident occurred, but other facts show PPI does actually admin accident occurred
      • They mistakenly denied whole paragraph, even though they only intended to deny parts.
      • Also they did own the forklift.
  • Two other problems:
    • 1. Didn't correct Johnson’s misperception of his employer,
    • 2. Didn't use proper pronoun in Interrogatory 2 (see Yeazell, p. 383, para 7)—said "we"—but actually a company called Carload Contractors did investigation.
  • District court avoids attributing bad faith to PPI, thinks of it as careless instead.
  • The problem:
    • Rhe statute of limitations has run, plaintiff can't simply refile (Rule 18?) against different plaintiff by amending complaint.
    • Also same insurance company covers both PPI and Carload.
      • Thus, not many economic issues.
      • Otherwise there might have been a different result.
  • Practitioner's Note: Paragraph 5 is a compound allegation lumping everything together, contributing to the problem.
    • Split up every allegation into its own paragraph.
  • Perhaps a little counter-intuitive to see reliance on Pennsylvania court decisions.
    • But this is all about federal rules of civ pro—and state court principles not included: Hannah v. Plumer. (BUT case PRECEEDES Hannah.
Layman v. Southwestern Bell (Affirmative Perry)
  • Affirmative defense would be easement, want to introduce documents at trial to show that.
    • Plaintiff says defendant should have put affirmative defense in Answer.
    • Trial court disagreed, allowed into evidence.
    • Court of appeal reverses trial court.
  • Why? List in Rule 8 doesn’t mention easements.
    • But see 8(c )—other matters that should be considered affirmative defense, list is not exhaustive.
    • Is this a new affirmative defense? Or is it just logical? Tricky question.
      • See Yeazell's notes, p 389-392.
      • Goal is to try to avoid unfair surprises.
      • Purpose of Rule 8(c ) to clue other side in as to what case is about.
        • I.e., fair notice and avoiding unjust surprise.
    • Implications: how much we should insist on in the Answer may depend on how much is going to be uncovered during the course of discovery that supplements the answer.
      • This case was unlikely to have much discovery (vs. high-stakes litigation with lots of back-and-forth).
    • Why wouldn't phone company go ahead and list easement in the Answer?
      • If they WANT surprise, not OK with court, not something we protect.
      • Actually about BURDEN of PROOF—if it's an affirmative defense, then you must prove existence (defendant then has the burden of proof).
        • Burden of proof usually tracks burden of pleading. See note 5, p. 391.
        • Can write "deny to the extent that there was an easement"—this kind of language doesn't insist that it's an affirmative defense.
          • Thus MAY reduce burden of proof possibility.
          • I.e., doesn’t CONCEDE that issue.
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