Nutrinova Nutrition Specialties & Food Ingredients GmbH v. Viachem, No. 07 C 4232, Min. Order (N.D. Ill. Nov. 27, 2007) (St. Eve, J.).

Judge St. Eve granted in part plaintiff’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(e) motion for a more definite statement regarding defendant The Ingredient House’s (“TIH”) affirmative defenses and counterclaim. The Court ordered TIH to amend its patent misuse affirmative defense to provide factual allegations outlining the alleged misuse. TIH’s original defense simply stated that plaintiff’s claims were “barred by patent misuse.” The Court also ordered TIH to amend “incongruous statements” in its pleading that appeared to be clerical errors.

The Court denied plaintiff’s motion as to TIH’s defamation counterclaim. TIH was not required to plead which state’s law governed TIH’s defamation claim.

Practice Tip: Defendants frequently plead affirmative defenses with an unsupported statement of the defense. The better practice, and the one that avoids Rule 12(e) motions, is to plead at least the basic facts underlying the defense.