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DeFebo v. Andersen Windows

September 24, 2009

DANIEL DEFEBO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ANDERSEN WINDOWS, INC., AND HOME DEPOT U.S.A., INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Baylson, J.

MEMORANDUM RE: MOTION TO DISMISS

Presently before the Court is Defendant Andersen Window's (hereinafter, "Andersen") Motion to Dismiss Counts I, III, and V of the Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). As this Court noted in its prior Memorandum in this case addressing Defendant Home Depot's Motion to Dismiss, the subject dispute arises between a purchaser of windows and the seller and manufacturer of those windows. DeFebo v. Andersen Windows, Inc., 2009 WL 2837684, at *1-2 (E.D. Pa. September 03, 2009). For the following reasons, this Court will deny Andersen's Motion to Dismiss.

I. Facts and Procedural History

Plaintiff brought this action against Andersen Windows and the Home Depot after he was allegedly unable to install jamb extensions onto windows specially ordered from Home Depot. Plaintiff alleged that the installation problems were due to a misalignment between the arched windows and the casement windows, which were allegedly manufactured by Andersen Windows. Plaintiff also included allegations of problems with several other Andersen products, ordered from the Home Depot, including a door and other windows. According to the Complaint, after several attempts to have the Home Depot and Andersen Windows address the problem and finally purchasing new products from a different manufacturer, Plaintiff filed his suit seeking consequential and incidental damages. In its Memorandum addressing the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant Home Depot, this Court described in more detail the factual allegations in this case. See DeFebo, 2009 WL 2837684, at *1-2. The Court will not repeat those details now and will assume the parties' familiarity with the facts.

In response to Andersen's first Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 5), Plaintiff filed the operative Amended Complaint (Doc. 11) on July 29, 2009. The Amended Complaint asserts three claims against Andersen: (1) breach of contract (Count I); (2) breach of express warranty (Count III); and (3) violation of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (hereinafter, "UTPCPL"), 73 P.S. 201-1, et seq. (Count V). Notably, the UTPCPL claim is based on Andersen's alleged breach of warranty, which is identified as an unfair trade practice in 73 P.S. 201-2(4)(xiv). Both Count III and Count V rely on a written Limited Warranty that Plaintiff allegedly received from Andersen and which is attached to the Complaint as Exhibit B.*fn1

Andersen now moves to dismiss all three counts.

II. Parties' Arguments

A. Andersen's Arguments

Andersen argues that both the breach of contract and breach of express warranty claims should be dismissed for failing to comply with the pleading standard under Fed. R. Civ. P. 8, as expounded in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009). As to the breach of contract claim, Andersen asserts that Plaintiff does not describe with sufficient detail the nature of the alleged contract between Andersen and Home Depot, but instead merely asserts that such a contract exists and that Plaintiff was a third party beneficiary of the contract. Similarly, with respect to the breach of express warranty claim, Andersen contends that Plaintiff has not alleged that Andersen provided an express warranty covering Plaintiff's chief complaint, namely that the windows and doors Andersen manufactured did not comply with Plaintiff's construction plans. Rather, Andersen contends that the warranty only covered defects in manufacture, material, and workmanship and that Plaintiff did not allege such defects. Andersen also argues that there are no allegations in the Complaint that it did not supply the products actually ordered by Home Depot and that even if an express warranty covering Plaintiff's complaints existed, Plaintiff has not provided sufficient allegations that Andersen failed to comply with that warranty.

Similarly, Andersen suggests that the UTPCPL claim must be dismissed because Plaintiff did not allege that the products it received suffered from defects in manufacturing, materials, or workmanship. In addition, Andersen argues that it did respond to Plaintiff's complaints, as Plaintiff admits in the factual allegations, and thus, Plaintiff has not sufficiently alleged that Andersen did not comply with the terms of the warranty. Alternatively, Andersen reasons that even if the Limited Warranty covered the defects complained of, the economic loss doctrine bars the claim under the UTPCPL. Andersen relies on the decision in Werwinski v. Ford Motor Co., 286 F.3d 661 (3d Cir. 2002), in which the Third Circuit applied the doctrine to fraud claims brought under the UTPCPL.

Finally, Andersen suggests that all three Counts must be dismissed because they seek consequential and incidental damages barred by the subject warranty, which provides for limited recovery in the event of a breach of warranty. Andersen relies on § 2-719 of the Uniform Commercial Code, 13 Pa. C.S. § 2719, which allows a seller to limit the remedies of a buyer to either return of the goods and repayment of the purchase price or to repair and replacement of the nonconforming goods.

B. Plaintiff's Arguments

Plaintiff responds that it has sufficiently alleged facts supporting the existence of a contract between Andersen and Home Depot as well as Plaintiff's status as a third party beneficiary of that contract. Plaintiff notes that Andersen does not deny the existence of such a contract but merely argues that Plaintiff is not an intended beneficiary.

As to Count III, Plaintiff contends that it has pleaded a defect to the manufacture, material, or workmanship of the products provided by Andersen. According to Plaintiff, the Amended Complaint specifically alleges that installation of the window jambs is impossible due to an obstruction over the windows and misalignment of the window frames, which was allegedly caused by Andersen's improper mulling of the windows. Plaintiff further alleged that certain windows are misaligned, that the patio door is assymetrical, and that the garage doors do not open in the proper direction. According to Plaintiff, all of these conditions are defective for purposes of the Limited Warranty. Finally, the Complaint alleges that an Andersen representative acknowledged the problem and agreed to remedy it.

Turning to Count V, Plaintiff suggests that it has properly pleaded all of the essential elements for a claim under the UTPCPL. Again, Plaintiff contends that it did plead a defective condition covered under the warranty and that Andersen had not remedied the problem, as promised, despite Plaintiff attempting to contact Andersen on several occasions. Furthermore, Plaintiff argues that the economic loss doctrine does not apply to statutory claims and suggests that there is significant authority opposing the decision in Werwinski.

Finally, with respect to the issue of consequential and incidental damages, Plaintiff argues that the Pennsylvania statute only allows parties to limit such remedies if the limitation is not unconscionable or if the circumstances cause the limited remedy to fail of its essential purpose. Plaintiff argues it has alleged that Andersen attempted to send replacement parts, but those parts were ...


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