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Hagen v. McAlpine & Co. Ltd.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

January 26, 2015

Rick Hagen and Merhar's Ace Hardware, Inc. d/b/a Merhar Plumbing, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
McAlpine & Co. Ltd. and Mountain Accessories Inc., d/b/a Mountain Plumbing Products, Defendants.

Gordon C. Pineo, Esq., Deal & Pineo, PA, ; and Paul A. Sand, Esq., Mark A. Solheim, Esq., and Shawn M. Raiter, Esq., Larson King, LLP, counsel for Plaintiffs.

Heidi A. O. Fisher, Esq., Mary E. Johnson, Esq., and Patrick M. Fenlon, Esq., Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly LLP, counsel for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

DONOVAN W. FRANK, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

This case is before the Court on a Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint brought by Defendants McAlpine & Co. Ltd. ("McAlpine & Co.") and Mountain Accessories Inc., d/b/a Mountain Plumbing Products ("MPP") (together, "Defendants"). (Doc. No. 18.) For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants in part and denies in part the motion.

BACKGROUND

Defendants are both in the business of designing, manufacturing, and selling plumbing products. (Doc. No. 17, First Am. Class Action Compl. ("Am. Compl.") ¶¶ 4, 7.) Plaintiffs Rick Hagen ("Hagen") and Merhar's Ace Hardware, Inc., d/b/a Merhar Plumbing ("Merhar Plumbing") (together, "Plaintiffs") allege that Defendants manufacture certain angle valves that are the subject of this lawsuit. ( Id. ¶¶ 13, 20.)

Plaintiffs allege that Hagen, through Merhar Plumbing, purchased five MPP angle valves bearing part number MT6003-NL/ORB (the "Valves") from Pipeline Supply, Inc. ("Pipeline"), an authorized distributor of MPP products. ( Id. ¶¶ 53-54.) On August 1, 2012, Merhar Plumbing installed the five Valves on each toilet in Hagen's house. ( Id. ¶ 55.) On October 19, 2012, one of the Valves failed in a second floor bathroom, allowing hundreds of gallons of water to leak into the house, and causing thousands of dollars in damage to the house and items located inside. ( Id. ¶¶ 20, 56.) Plaintiffs allege that the body of one Valve cracked. ( Id. ¶ 56.)

On October 22, 2012, Plaintiffs allege that a representative of Merhar Plumbing called a sales representative of Pipeline to inform them of the failed Valve. ( Id. ¶ 60.) According to Plaintiffs, Pipeline advised Merhar Plumbing that it would research the problem. ( Id. ¶ 61.) On November 27, 2012, Plaintiffs allege that Pipeline informed Merhar Plumbing that it should immediately remove all of the Valves in Hagen's house and asked Merhar Plumbing to return the Valves. ( Id. ¶ 65.) Plaintiffs allege that representatives of Defendants contacted Merhar Plumbing by phone that same day, and admitted that the Valves were "defective." ( Id. ¶¶ 66-68.) On November 28, 2012, Merhar Plumbing removed all of the Valves from Hagen's house. ( Id. ¶ 77.) At some point, Plaintiffs hired an expert to test the failed Valves. ( Id. ¶¶ 82-83.) Plaintiffs assert that the Valves were manufactured using brass that is high in zinc content that prematurely degrades and fails through processes such as dezincification and stress corrosion cracking. ( Id. ¶¶ 32-34, 82-84.)

On April 14, 2014, Plaintiffs filed this action. (Doc. No. 1, Compl.) Defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint. (Doc. No. 11.) On June 11, 2014, Plaintiffs filed an Amended Class Action Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial. (Am. Compl.) In their Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs allege the following causes of action: (1) Breach of Implied Warranty - Merchantability; (2) Breach of Express Warranties; (3) Negligence; (4) Negligent Failure to Warn; (5) Negligent Misrepresentation;[1] and (6) Declaratory and Injunctive Relief. ( See id. ) In addition, Plaintiffs purport to bring this lawsuit as a class action. ( See id. ) Defendants move to dismiss all claims. ( See Doc. No. 11.)

DISCUSSION

I. Motion to Dismiss

In deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a court assumes all facts in the complaint to be true and construes all reasonable inferences from those facts in the light most favorable to the complainant. Morton v. Becker, 793 F.2d 185, 187 (8th Cir. 1986). In doing so, however, a court need not accept as true wholly conclusory allegations, Hanten v. Sch. Dist. of Riverview Gardens, 183 F.3d 799, 805 (8th Cir. 1999), or legal conclusions drawn by the pleader from the facts alleged. Westcott v. City of Omaha, 901 F.2d 1486, 1488 (8th Cir. 1990). A court may consider the complaint, matters of public record, orders, materials embraced by the complaint, and exhibits attached to the complaint in deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). Porous Media Corp. v. Pall Corp., 186 F.3d 1077, 1079 (8th Cir. 1999).

To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Although a complaint need not contain "detailed factual allegations, " it must contain facts with enough specificity "to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. at 555. As the United States Supreme Court reiterated, "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, " will not pass muster under Twombly. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In sum, this standard "calls for enough fact[s] to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of [the claim]." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.

II. Warranty Claims[2]

Plaintiffs assert claims for breach of both implied and express warranties. Defendants argue that Plaintiffs' warranty claims fail because Plaintiffs have not returned the Valves as required by the applicable warranty, the remedies available for breach of either express or implied warranties are limited by the terms of the warranty, and the damages Plaintiffs seek are excluded by the terms of the warranty. Because this action involves a ...


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