United States District Court, D. Minnesota
PATRICIA KEECH and DAVID NEWFIELD, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
SANIMAX USA, LLC, Defendant.
L. Sheets, LIDDLE & DUBIN, P.C., and Jeffrey S. Storms,
NEWMARK STORMS DWORAK LLC, for plaintiffs.
W. Davis, STINSON LEONARD STREET LLP, and Matthew J. Salzman,
STINSON LEONARD STREET LLP, for defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S
MOTION TO STRIKE CLASS ALLEGATIONS
R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE
Patricia Keech and David Newfield bring this purported class
action against Sanimax USA, LLC (“Sanimax”), a
rendering and waste oil processing facility located in the
City of South St. Paul (the “Facility”). (Compl.
¶¶ 2-5, Mar. 12, 2018, Docket No. 1.) The Facility
purifies agri-food industry by-products and turns them into
animal feed, pet food, soap, and industrial chemicals.
(Id. ¶ 7.)
allege that their properties have been, and continue to be,
physically invaded by noxious odors originating from the
Facility. (Id. ¶¶ 8-9.) They allege that
Sanimax is liable in both nuisance and negligence for
interfering with their use and enjoyment of their property as
well as for decreased property values. (Id.
¶¶ 25, 30, 39, 41.) They allege that the Facility
has a “well documented history of failing to control
its odorous emissions.” (Id.¶ 10.) People
living nearby have filed complaints with the City of South
St. Paul, and in February 2015 the City designated the
Facility a “Significant Odor Generator.”
(Id.) Plaintiffs allege that approximately 80
households have contacted their counsel regarding odors they
attribute to the Facility. (Id. ¶ 11.)
Plaintiffs also allege that Sanimax has “failed to
install and maintain adequate technology to properly control
its emissions of noxious odors, ” including the
Facility's ozone generation system, odor abatement
equipment, and raw material intake and storage systems.
(Id. ¶ 12.)
propose a class defined as “[a]ny and all individuals
who owned or occupied residential property at any time
beginning in 2015 to present that are located within the area
outlined in the map attached hereto as Exhibit 1.”
(Id. ¶ 14.) The map shows the location of the
Facility surrounded by three concentric circles that
delineate three radii around the facility: 1-mile, 1.5-miles,
and 2-miles. (Compl. ¶ 14, Ex. 1.) Plaintiffs seek
compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive
relief beyond that which is already required by Sanimax's
Federal- and State-issued Air Permits. (Compl. at
before the Court is Sanimax's Motion to Strike Class
Allegations. (Mot. to Strike Pleadings, May 18, 2018, Docket
No. 20.) Sanimax seeks to strike the class allegations set
forth in the Complaint and seeks to amend the caption to
eliminate “all others similarly situated.”
(Id.) Because the Court finds that it is too early
to determine whether Plaintiffs' claims could be proven
on a class-wide basis, the Court will deny Sanimax's
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Motion to Strike Class Allegations
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) allows the court to
“strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any
redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous
matter.” The court may act on its own or on motion by
the party. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f)(1)-(2). But “[m]otions to
strike under Rule 12(f) are viewed with disfavor and are
infrequently granted.” Lunsford v. United
States, 570 F.2d 221, 229 (8th Cir. 1977).
23(d)(1)(D) provides that a court may issue an order that
“require[s] that the pleadings be amended to eliminate
allegations about representation of absent persons and that
the action proceed accordingly.” “Where a
plaintiffs class allegations are insufficient to satisfy the
requirements for certification, the Court has authority to
strike those allegations” under this rule. In re
St. Jude Med. Inc. Silzone Heart Valves Prod. Liab. Litig.
(“In re St. Jude”), No. MDL. 01-1396
(JRT/FLN), 2009 WL 1789376, at *2 (D. Minn. June 23, 2009).
23(c)(1)(A) provides that a court should determine whether to
certify an action as a class action “[a]t an early
practicable time after a person sues or is sued as a class
representative.” The advisory committee notes on this
rule indicate that its intention is to “determine as
early in the proceedings as may be practicable” whether
a class action can be maintained. Rule 23 gives the district
court “broad discretion to determine the
maintainability and the conduct of class actions.”
In re St. Jude, 2009 WL 1789376, at *2 (quoting
Vervaecke v. Chiles, Heider & Co., Inc., 578
F.2d 713, 719 (8th Cir. 1978)).
Class Action Requirements
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a), an action may be
brought by ...