It is not uncommon for a defendant in a personal injury case to assert what are known as affirmative defenses, which attempt to shift harm for a plaintiff’s injuries onto the plaintiff. While affirmative defenses are generally permitted, there are some instances in which a plaintiff may have grounds to ask the court to strike certain defenses. What defenses a defendant can assert was recently discussed in a Florida case in which the plaintiff sought damages from a cruise ship line. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to the negligence of an entity that owns cruise ships, it is wise to confer with a skillful Florida personal injury attorney to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your potential claims.
Facts of the Case
It is reported that the plaintiffs, a husband and wife, entrusted their eighteen-month-old daughter to the care of her grandfather while they were on a cruise operated by the defendant. Tragically, the grandfather lifted the toddler up to a window, and she fell 150 feet to her death. The plaintiffs then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that its negligence led to their daughter’s untimely passing. The defendant filed an answer to the plaintiff’s complaint and asserted numerous affirmative defenses, many of which attributed liability to the grandfather. The plaintiffs moved to strike these defenses, arguing they attempted to assign fault to a person that was not a party to the case.
Affirmative Defenses Permissible Under Maritime Law
Under the relevant rules of procedure, a court may strike any matter from a pleading that is scandalous, impertinent, immaterial, or that constitutes an insufficient defense. While granting a motion to strike is a drastic remedy, it will be granted in cases in which it is clear that the matter which will be stricken has no bearing on the subject of the litigation, such as when the recovery sought is unavailable as a matter of law.