United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
EUGENE RUDDY and REBECCA RUDDY, husband and wife, individually and as parents Of SCOTT RUDDY, a minor, Plaintiff,
POLARIS INDUSTRIES INC. AND POLARIS SALES INC., Defendants.
RICHARD P. CONABOY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
consider here a motion by Defendants Polaris Industries, Inc.
and Polaris Sales, Inc. That motion (Doc.12) is characterized
by Defendants as a "Partial Motion to Dismiss" the
object of which is to strike Count III of Plaintiff's
Complaint sounding in breach of warranty. The parties have
fully briefed (Docs. 14, 21, and 24) the issues and the
motion is ripe for disposition.
seek to strike Count III of Plaintiff's complaint
pursuant to Rule 12 (b) (6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure due to their assertion that it is barred by the
applicable statute of limitations. As Defendants assert (Doc.
14 at 3), a statute of limitations may properly be raised in
a motion under Rule 12 (b) (6). See Robinson v.
Johnson, 313 F.3d 128, 135, (3d Cir. 2002). Defendants
contend that, whether Plaintiff's Count III is construed
as an express or implied warranty claim, it is time-barred
under the applicable statute, 13 Pa. C.S. § 2725
Because the complaint in this matter was not filed until 7
years after the vehicle in question was delivered to
Plaintiff and some 15 years after it was sold to the original
purchaser, Defendants contend that the four year limitation
period of § 2725 (a) should operate to preclude
Plaintiff's Count III.
Eugene Ruddy and Rebecca Ruddy, both individually and on
behalf of their minor son, Scott Ruddy, respond that, while
§ 2725 does generally limit breach of warranty claims to
those that arise within four years of the date of purchase of
the goods in question, warranty claims that arise afterward
are still viable if they flow from an express warranty that
the item in question is "safe and fit for the ordinary
and particular purpose for which it was sold". (Doc. 21
at 5). Plaintiffs contend that such an express
warranty can toll the statute of limitations. See 13 Pa. C.S.
§ 2725 (b); also Fassett v. Sears Holdings
Corp., 2015 WL 5093397 (M.D. PA 2015). Plaintiffs state
further that, because the statute of limitations is an
affirmative defense, they were under no obligation to plead
facts that support the tolling mechanism. Schmidt v.
Skolar, 770 F.3d 241, 251, (3d Cir. 2014). Accordingly,
Plaintiffs argue that they should be permitted to engage in
discovery to determine whether Defendants issued any express
warranty other than the one Defendants have filed with their
motion (see Docket Item 12-2) or, in the alternative, whether
Defendants had advertised the subject goods in a fashion that
could be tantamount to an express warranty. (Doc. 21 at 7-8).
respond that "common sense and everyday experience"
compel the conclusion that Defendants did not provide an
express warranty of such extended length to cover the 15 year
gap between their sale of the vehicle and its acquisition by
the Plaintiffs. Defendants contend too that the one year
warranty (alluded to above) for the goods, a 2002 Virage i
PWC, was the only express warranty issued with respect to
that personal watercraft. (Doc. 24 at 4-5). Defendants deride
Plaintiffs allegation that they may have extended an
additional express warranty or published an advertisement
tantamount to an additional express warranty that the goods
in question would be fit for their intended purpose for 15
years or more as "rank speculation" and too
implausible to pass the heightened pleading requirements of
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009) (Doc. 24
at 6-7). This "implausibility", Defendants contend,
justifies this Court's dismissal of Plaintiffs'
breach of warranty claim.
reviewed the parties' arguments, the Court is unconvinced
that there is no set of facts that could be adduced which
would support Plaintiffs' breach of warranty claim. The
Court is also convinced that Plaintiffs' Complaint is
sufficiently specific to give Defendants fair notice of the
basis for their breach of warranty claim. Accordingly, the
court will allow the parties to engage in discovery to
determine whether any express warranty other than the one
already proffered by Defendant was made or whether any
advertisement published by the Defendants and relied upon by
Plaintiffs could properly be construed as the sort of express
warranty envisioned by the tolling provision of 13 Pa C.S.
§ 2725 (b). If discovery, which will be necessarily
extensive in a products liability case of this nature, does
not yield evidence of an extended express warranty, Defendant
will then be free to move for summary judgment on that issue.
 It is axiomatic that in a case where
jurisdiction is based on diversity, such as this one, the
substantive law of the forum state controls.
 There is no question that implied
warranties can never be extended beyond the 4 year
limitations period. Fassett v. Sears ...