Another update to the WWE and MLW lawsuit
MLW has responded to WWE’s response to MLW shooting down their potential defenses. The filing was made with The U.S. District Court California Northern District (San Jose) yesterday, and has all the update information on the back and forth. Check it out below. (Courtesy of PW Insider)
Plaintiff MLW Media LLC (“MLW”) was forced to bring this Motion1 because Defendant World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (“WWE”) asserted a number of frivolous and unsupported Affirmative Defenses that “never should have been filed.”
WWE concedes as much by attaching a proposed Amended Answer that strikes the improper Affirmative Defenses that MLW challenged, and repleads those Affirmative Defenses that MLW demonstrated are inadequate.
Indeed, WWE sheepishly attempts to withdraw, without substantively acknowledging, its first, second, fifth, sixth, eighth, and twelfth Affirmative Defenses—which MLW pointed out were patently improper—by striking them in its proposed Amended Answer.
Despite these clear and glaring deficiencies, WWE baselessly accuses MLW of wasting the Court’s time and resources. WWE’s accusation is a textbook example of projection. Rather than assuming responsibility for its insufficient pleading and stipulating to amend its Answer, WWE untenably opposes a straightforward motion that it forced MLW to bring. WWE spends most of its Opposition casting aspersions and engaging in misdirection in an attempt to salvage what remains of its insufficient Affirmative Defenses.
But WWE’s Opposition is most notable for what it omits: it does not argue that its boilerplate pleading satisfies the Twombly/Iqbal standard (because, of course, it does not) and wholly ignores reference to the overwhelming authority from this Court that makes clear that “courts in this district continue to require affirmative defenses meet [that] standard.”
WWE filed a response to the Motion. WWE does not address, much less distinguish, this Court’s opinion in Goobich, but instead spends six pages of its Opposition arguing why this Court is wrong, citing to cases far and wide, including from district courts in Hawaii, Montana, and Washington, all the while ignoring overriding authority from this District.
But no amount of sophistry alters the reality that the heightened pleading standard under Twombly/Iqbal requires a defendant to “include enough supporting information [for its affirmative defenses] to be plausible.”
WWE implicitly concedes that, despite having sixty (60) days to draft its Answer, its boilerplate pleading does not satisfy its legal obligation, and therefore advocates for a “more relaxed pleading standard” applied by certain courts in other districts.
Recognizing that its Affirmative Defenses are insufficient, WWE argues that the Motion should be denied because MLW has not made a showing of prejudice.
However, this Court has no such requirement. Rather, this Court routinely strikes inadequately pleaded and improper affirmative defenses without considering prejudice. And, of course, it is apparent that requiring MLW to engage in costly discovery and argument on patently improper and inadequate affirmative defenses is inherently prejudicial. Because WWE implicitly acknowledges in its proposed Amended Answer that its first, second, fifth, sixth, eighth, and twelfth Affirmative Defenses are improper, and that its remaining Affirmative Defenses are inadequately pleaded, MLW has no objection to this Court granting leave to WWE to amend its Answer, while striking with prejudice the “Reservation of Rights” section and the first, second, fifth, sixth, eighth, and twelfth Affirmative Defenses, as WWE’s proposed Amended Answer concedes all the relief MLW requested in the Motion.