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Mobile Conversions, Inc. v. Allegheny Ford Truck Sales

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

December 29, 2014

MOBILE CONVERSIONS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
ALLEGHENY FORD TRUCK SALES, Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff,
v.
HENDRICKSON USA, LLC, Third-Party Defendant

For MOBILE CONVERSIONS, INC, Plaintiff, Cross Defendant: Sherrill Hondorf, LEAD ATTORNEY, Hondorf Law Office, Batavia, OH.

For ALLEGHENY FORD TRUCK SALES, Defendant, ThirdParty Plaintiff, Cross Defendant: Joseph F. Butcher, Zimmer Kunz P.L.L.C., Pittsburgh, PA; Joseph W. Selep, Samantha Quinn, Zimmer Kunz, Pittsburgh, PA.

For HENDRICKSON USA, LLC, ThirdParty Defendant, Cross Defendant, Cross Claimant: Michael F. Nerone, LEAD ATTORNEY, Nerone, Girman, Winslow & Smith, P.C., Pittsburgh, PA; John T. Pion, Pion, Pion, Nerone, Girman, Winslow & Smith, Pittsburgh, PA.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Terrence F. McVerry, Senior United States District Judge.

Pending before the Court is the MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF No. 90) filed by Third-Party Defendant, Hendrickson USA, LLC (" Hendrickson"), along with a brief in support (ECF No. 91). Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff Allegheny Ford Truck Sales (" Allegheny Ford") has joined in Hendrickson's motion (ECF No. 93).[1] Plaintiff, Mobile Conversions, Inc. (" Mobile Conversions"), has filed a response in opposition to the motion (ECF No. 95). Hendrickson and Allegheny Ford have filed reply briefs (ECF Nos. 97, 99). Accordingly, the motion is ripe for disposition.

I. Background

Mobile Conversions builds custom mobile facilities for mobile health screening and imaging. Sometime in 2010, Geisinger Medical Center (" Geisinger") ordered a custom coach from Mobile Conversions. In addition to other specifications, Geisinger required that the coach be equipped with an air-ride suspension system. Mobile Conversions found a cab and chassis at Allegheny Ford that fit most of the required specifications, but the truck did not conform to the desired cab-to-axle dimension and had a spring suspension system instead of an air-ride suspension system. Before purchasing the truck, Michael G. Dobbins (" Dobbins"), president of Mobile Conversions, specifically asked Allegheny Ford to equip the cab and chassis with the air-ride suspension system recommended by the manufacturer and to install it pursuant to factory specifications. Allegheny Ford, in turn, contacted Hendrickson through a Rear Suspension Application Request form and other communications, to determine which system was needed. Hendrickson responded that the PRIMAXX suspension system was appropriate for this particular truck. Based on this representation, Allegheny Ford purchased the PRIMAXX suspension system, manufactured by Hendrickson, from Daimler Trucks North America, LLC (" Daimler"), and installed the system in late August/early September 2010. After the system was installed, the truck was delivered to Mobile Conversions.

Mobile Conversions completed the body work on the truck and delivered the finished product to Geisinger in October 2010. Geisinger was only able to use the coach for about six weeks before the transmission failed. Mobile Conversions alleges that the PRIMAXX suspension system installed by Allegheny Ford was not suitable for the cab and chassis and the transmission failed as a result of unusual loading caused by the wrong air-ride system having been installed.

Mobile Conversions filed suit against Allegheny Ford in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in May 2012. On October 15, 2012, the case was transferred to this Court. In February 2013, Mobile Conversions filed a seven-count Amended Complaint. The Amended Complaint seeks the following in the way of damages: " recovery of the losses, costs and expenses incurred by Mobile Conversions, Inc.; " " [t]he value of the loss of good will, reputation and future business from a valued customer who had purchased multiple custom units; " " [r]ecovery of the losses incurred by the Plaintiff's customer which have been billed to Plaintiff as a result of the actions of the Defendant as recounted in this Complaint; " and " costs, expenses and attorneys [sic] fees." [2] In response, Allegheny Ford filed a motion to dismiss/motion to strike (ECF No. 30), which the Court granted in part and denied in part on May 9, 2013, leaving only the claims for breach of contract and breach of warranty (ECF No. 37). On December 17, 2013, Allegheny Ford filed a Third-Party Complaint against Hendrickson and Daimler (ECF No. 48) and, following the filing of a motion to dismiss by Hendrickson, an Amended Third-Party Complaint (ECF No. 69). Daimler has since been voluntarily dismissed from the case under Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a)(1)(A)(ii) (ECF No. 87).

II. Standard of Review

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a) provides:

A party may move for summary judgment, identifying each claim or defense -- or the part of each claim or defense -- on which summary judgment is sought. The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

Summary judgment, or partial summary judgment, must be granted when " the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The movant must identify those portions of the record demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). A material fact is one " that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). " Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted." Id.

To withstand a motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving party must show a genuine dispute of material fact for trial by citing to particular parts of material in the record. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). A dispute about a material fact is " genuine" only " if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. " [T]he mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Id. at 247-248. The parties must support their position by " citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials, " Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c) (1)(A), or by " showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or ...


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