Monday, March 15, 2010

Vague Affirmative Defenses and Motions to Strike Them

The new issue of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Civil Litigation Update features as its cover story, my latest article, Vague Affirmative Defenses and Motions to Strike Them (.pdf). A "vague" affirmative defense is merely an affirmative defense asserted in the New Matter section of the Defendant's Answer with no material facts pleaded in support thereof. A brief excerpt:
"This article will address vague affirmative defenses, motions to strike them under Pennsylvania law, and factors to consider in deciding whether to file such a motion to strike. First, we will start with the procedural rules that make such vague affirmative defenses nearly inevitable, and then follow with an analysis of a motion to strike under these circumstances. The analysis will address the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure (Pa. R.C.P.), Pennsylvania case law, and the logical policy implications for and against striking vague affirmative defenses. Finally, this article will identify some of the practical considerations a party faced with a vague affirmative defense should weigh before submitting a motion to strike them."
It's not an employment-law specific issue, but it's helpful for anyone litigating in Pennsylvania state courts.

Posted by Philip Miles, an employment lawyer with McQuaide Blasko in State College, Pennsylvania.