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Armstrong v. Sumitomo Rubber USA, LLC

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

November 18, 2016

Tyler Armstrong, as Trustee for the Next-of-Kin of Terrance W. Armstrong, Deceased, and Joshua McCaskey, as Trustee for the Next-of-Kin of Kari Jo Armstrong, Deceased, Plaintiffs,
v.
Sumitomo Rubber USA, LLC f/k/a Goodyear Dunlop Tires North America, LTD.; The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, and Harley Davidson, Inc., Defendants.

          Robert H. George, Esq. and Hilliard Munoz Gonzales, L.L.P. and Markus C. Yira, Esq. and Yira Law Office, Ltd, counsel for plaintiffs.

          Clark W. Hedger Esq. and Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C., and Mark A. Solheim, Esq. and Larson King, LLP, counsel for defendant Sumitomo Rubber.

          Brian N. Johnson, Esq. and Nilan Johnson Lewis PA, and Steven I. Klein, Esq. and Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, counsel for defendant Harley-Davidson.

          ORDER

          David S. Doty, Judge

         This matter is before the court upon the motions to dismiss by defendants Sumitomo Rubber USA, LLC, f/k/a Goodyear Dunlop Tires North America, Ltd., The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, and Harley-Davidson, Inc.[1] Based on a review of the file, record, and proceedings herein, and for the following reasons, the motions are granted.

         BACKGROUND

         This product liability case arises from the deaths of Terrence W. Armstrong and Kari Jo Armstrong. On or about April 10, 2009, the Armstrongs installed a Dunlop D402 tire on their 2000 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic motorcycle. Compl. ¶¶ 10, 14, 17. On July 4, 2013, the Armstrongs were killed while riding the motorcycle. Id. ¶¶ 18, 19. Plaintiffs Tyler Armstrong, as trustee for the next-of-kin of Terrance W. Armstrong, and Joshua McCaskey, as trustee for the next-of-kin of Kari Jo Armstrong, allege that the tire “catastrophically deflated, causing a loss of control and crash of the Motorcycle.” Id. ¶ 19.

         In August 2014, plaintiffs filed a suit in Hennepin County against Goodyear Dunlop Tires North America, Ltd., alleging that the tire was defective and the cause of the accident. A few months later, plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the suit without prejudice. Then, on July 5, 2016, plaintiffs initiated a new Hennepin County lawsuit, alleging design defect, manufacturing defect, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, negligence, misrepresentation, and fraud against the Goodyear defendants, and failure to warn, marketing defect, and negligence against Harley Davidson.[2] Defendants timely removed and now move to dismiss the complaint.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Standard of Review

         To survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, “‘a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 594 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff [has pleaded] factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)). Although a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, it must raise a right to relief above the speculative level. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. “[L]abels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action” are not sufficient to state a claim. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

         The court does not consider matters outside the pleadings under Rule 12(b)(6). Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). The court may, however, consider matters of public record and materials that are “necessarily embraced by the pleadings.” Porous Media Corp. v. Pall Corp., 186 F.3d 1077, 1079 (8th Cir. 1999) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Here, the materials submitted by the parties are properly considered by the court.

         II. Statute of Limitations

         The issue before the court is narrow. Plaintiffs concede that they filed the instant complaint after the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations, but argue that the statute should be tolled on the basis of fraudulent concealment. Under Minnesota law, a “defendant's fraudulent concealment tolls the statute of limitations until the plaintiff discovers or has reasonable opportunity to discover the concealed facts.” Doe v. Order of St. Benedict, 836 F.Supp.2d 872, 876 (D. Minn. 2011) (citing Hydra-Mac, Inc. v. Onan Corp., 450 N.W.2d 913, 918 (Minn. 1990)). To establish fraudulent ...


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