In Ansari v. Electronic Document Processing, Inc., 2012 WL 3945482 (N.D.Cal. 2012), Judge Koh applied Iqbal/Twombly to FDCPA affirmative defenses.
This Court previously considered both of Defendants arguments in Perez. With respect to Defendants’ first argument, as set forth in Perez, notwithstanding the textual differences between Rule 8(a)(2) and Rule 8(b)(1)(a), “it is well established that ‘[a]ffirmative defenses are governed by the same pleading standard as complaints.’ “ Id. (quoting Qarbon.com Inc. v. eHelp Corp ., 315 F.Supp.2d 1046, 1049 (N.D.Cal.2004)). Furthermore, as to Defendants’ second argument, the twenty-one days given to Defendants to respond with affirmative defenses is not unfair because “this Circuit has liberalized the requirement that affirmative defenses be raised in a defendant’s initial pleading and allows affirmative defenses to be asserted in a later motion absent prejudice to the non-moving party.” Perez, 2012 WL 1029425 at *7 (citing Dion v. Fulton Friedman & Gullace LLP, No. 11–2727 SC, 2012 WL 160221, at *3 (N.D.Cal. Jan. 17, 2012)). ¶ Thus, as it did in Perez, the Court rejects Defendants’ arguments and sides with the vast majority of district courts that have held that Twombly and Iqbal do apply to affirmative defenses. See Perez, 2012 WL 1029425 at *8 (collecting cases). “This standard ‘serve[s] to weed out the boilerplate listing of affirmative defenses which is commonplace in most defendants’ pleadings where many of the defenses alleged are irrelevant to the claims asserted.’ “ Id. (quoting Barnes, 718 F.Supp.2d at 1172). “This standard is also consistent with Iqbal’s admonition that fair notice pleading under Rule 8 is not intended to give parties free license to engage in unfounded fishing expeditions on matters for which they bear the burden of proof at trial.” Perez, 2012 WL 1029425 at *8 (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678–79). ¶ *4 Applying the standards set forth in Twombly and Iqbal, the Court holds that “[w]hile a defense need not include extensive factual allegations in order to give fair notice, bare statements reciting mere legal conclusions may not be sufficient.” Perez, 2012 WL 1029425 at *8 (quoting Scott v. Fed. Bond and Collection Serv., Inc., No. 10–CV–02825–LHK, 2011 WL 176846, at *4 (N.D.Cal. Jan. 19, 2011)). “Just as a plaintiff’s complaint must allege enough supporting facts to nudge a legal claim across the line separating plausibility from mere possibility, a defendant’s pleading of affirmative defenses must put a plaintiff on notice of the underlying factual bases of the defense.” Perez, 2012 WL 1029425 at *8 (quoting Dion, 2012 WL 160221, at *2 (internal citations omitted)). “If the Court determines that a pleading is deficient, it may strike the pleading and require the non-moving party to submit an amended pleading that includes more specific allegations.” Perez, 2012 WL 1029425 at *8 (citing Helm v. Alderwoods Grp., Inc., No. C 08–1184 SI, 2011 WL 5573837, at *2 (N .D. Cal. Nov. 15, 2011)). When striking an affirmative defense, leave to amend should be freely given so long as no prejudice to the moving party results. Wyshak, 607 F.2d at 826.