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Affirmative defenses are pleadings and, as such, are subject to all the same pleading requirements applicable to complaints. Heller Fin., Inc. v. Midwhey Powder Co., Inc., 883 F.2d 1286, 1294 (7th Cir. 1989). Thus, affirmative defenses must set forth a 'short and plain statement' of the basis for the defense. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a); Heller, 883 F.2d at 1294. Even under the liberal notice pleading standards of the Federal Rules, an affirmative defense must include either direct or inferential allegations as to all elements of the defense asserted. Renalds v. S.R.G. Rest. Group, 119 F. Supp. 2d 800, 802 (N.D. Ill. 2000). '[B]are bones conclusory allegations' are not sufficient. Heller, 883 F.2d at 1295; Surface Shields, Inc. v. Poly-Tak Prot. Sys. Inc., 213 F.R.D. 307. 308 (N.D. Ill. 2003).


Most courts apply a three-part test for examining the sufficiency of an affirmative defense. Surface Shields, 213 F.R.D. at 308; Bobbitt v. Victorian House, Inc., 532 F. Supp. 734, 737 (N.D. Ill. 1982). First, they determine whether the matter is appropriately pled as an affirmative defense. Surface Shields, 213 F.R.D. at 308. Second, they determine whether the defense is adequately pled under ...

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