United States District Court, D. Minnesota
RILEY JOHANNESSOHN; DANIEL C. BADILLA; JAMES KELLY; RONALD KRANS; KEVIN R. WONDERS; WILLIAM BATES; and JAMES PINION, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
POLARIS INDUSTRIES, INC., Defendant.
Douglas J. McNamara, Theodore J. Leopold, and Andrew N.
Friedman, COHEN MILSTEIN SELLERS & TOLL PLLC; Karen
Hanson Riebel and Kate M. Baxter- Kauf, LOCKRIDGE GRINDAL
NAUEN PLLP; Steven Calamusa and Robert E. Gordon, GORDON
& DONER, for plaintiffs.
L. Wise, Nathan J. Marcusen, Paul G. Cereghini, and Isaac W.
Messmore, BOWMAN AND BROOKE LLP, for defendant.
Patrick J. Schiltz United States District Judge
case arises out of an alleged design defect in four-wheel
all-terrain vehicles (“ATVs”) manufactured by
defendant Polaris Industries, Inc. (“Polaris”).
Plaintiffs bring this action on behalf of themselves and a
putative class of purchasers, asserting various
consumer-protection claims and a claim for breach of the
implied warranty of merchantability.
matter is before the Court on Polaris's motion to dismiss
plaintiffs' consumer-protection claims and demand for
punitive damages. For the reasons that follow, the motion is
granted in part and denied in part. Specifically, the Court
dismisses Count I to the extent that it asserts a claim under
Minn. Stat. § 325F.67; Count II to the extent that it
asserts a claim of fraud under Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code
§ 17200; Count III in its entirety; Count V in its
entirety; and plaintiffs' demand for punitive damages.
The motion is denied in all other respects.
is a manufacturer of boats, snowmobiles, and recreational
ATVs. Am. Compl. ¶ 19. Polaris makes several different
models of ATVs sold under the name “Sportsman.”
Am. Compl. ¶ 20. Polaris has 1, 800 dealers in North
America. Am. Compl. ¶ 19. In 2015, Polaris had overall
sales of $4.7 billion and net profit of $455 million. Am.
Compl. ¶ 19.
are seven individuals living, respectively, in Minnesota,
California, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, New York, and North
Carolina. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 8-14. Plaintiffs allege
that they purchased new Sportsman ATVs in 2015 and 2016, and
that their ATVs were manufactured between 2009 and 2016. Am.
Compl. ¶¶ 1, 8-14. Plaintiffs allege that their
Sportsman ATVs are defectively designed because the exhaust
pipe is routed next to the rider's leg and then directly
under the rider's seat toward the right rear tire. Am.
Compl. ¶ 2. As a result, plaintiffs say, riders are
exposed to temperatures of up to nearly 250 degrees
Fahrenheit. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 2, 24. According to
plaintiffs, the heat not only can cause injury to the rider,
but also can cause components such as the seat, seat base,
fender, foot well, and side covers to melt. Am. Compl. ¶
seek to represent a nationwide class of consumers who
purchased Sportsman ATVs between October 4, 2010 and October
4, 2016. Am. Compl. ¶ 64. Alternatively, if the Court
finds that Minnesota law does not apply to all purchases of
Sportsman ATVs in the United States, plaintiffs seek to
represent seven subclasses of Sportsman purchasers, one for
each of their states of residence. Am. Compl. ¶ 65.
Plaintiffs assert claims under the consumer-protection laws
of their states as well as a claim for breach of the
implied warranty of merchantability. Plaintiffs'
consumer- protection claims are largely premised on their
allegation that Polaris failed to disclose the defect.
Standard of Review
reviewing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a court must accept as true all
of the factual allegations in the complaint and draw all
reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Aten
v. Scottsdale Ins. Co., 511 F.3d 818, 820 (8th Cir.
2008). Although the factual allegations need not be detailed,
they must be sufficient to “raise a right to relief
above the speculative level . . . .” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The
complaint must “state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Id. at 570.
if the parties present, and the court considers, matters
outside of the pleadings, a Rule 12(b)(6) motion must be
treated as a motion for summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d).
But the court may consider materials that are necessarily
embraced by the complaint as well as any exhibits attached to
the complaint without converting the motion into one for
summary judgment. Mattes v. ABC Plastics, Inc., 323
F.3d 695, 697 n.4 (8th Cir. 2003). In this case, the parties
have submitted materials outside of the pleadings, but the
Court has not considered those materials, and thus the Court
will not convert the motion into one for summary judgment.
Sufficiency of Allegations
first argues that all of plaintiffs' consumer-protection
claims fail because plaintiffs have not plausibly pleaded
that Polaris knew of the alleged defect before plaintiffs
purchased their ATVs. To support its argument, Polaris cites
Fed.R.Civ.P. 9(b), which requires that fraud be pleaded with
9(b) does not apply to allegations of knowledge, however.
Instead, Rule 9(b) explicitly exempts knowledge and other
states of mind from its ambit: “Malice, intent,
knowledge, and other conditions of a person's
mind may be alleged generally.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 9(b)
(emphasis added). As a result, allegations of knowledge are
subject only to the pleading standards of Rule 8(a)(2) as