United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh.
ADAMS POINTE I, L.P., ADAMS POINTE II, L.P., BAYBERRY NORTH ASSOCIATES L.P., AND; BETTERS REAL ESTATE HOLDINGS, L.P., INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF THOSE SIMILARLY SITUATED; JBCO, ADAMS POINTE III, L.P., ADAMS POINTE NORTH CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, L.P., ADAMS POINTE MASTER ASSOCIATION, L.P., COULTER & GRAHAM, LLP., MICHAEL AND KATHLEEN BICHLER, JOHN EVANS, Plaintiffs,
TRU-FLEX METAL HOSE CORP., TRU-FLEX, LLC, AND; AND PRO-FLEX LLC, Defendants, et al.,
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Cynthia Reed Eddy, United States Magistrate Judge.
before the court for disposition is a motion to dismiss
Third-Party Plaintiffs Tru-Flex Metal Hose Corp., Tru-Flex
LLC (collectively “Tru-Flex”) and Pro-Flex
LLC's (“Pro-Flex”) Third-Party Complaints for
failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) and motion to dismiss Plaintiff's
Original Class Action Complaint submitted by Third-Party
Defendant Ward Manufacturing (“Ward”). [ECF No.
motion is fully briefed and ripe for disposition.
See [ECF Nos. 168, 169, 191, 192, 193, 194, 203].
For the reasons that follow, it is respectfully recommended
that Ward's motion to dismiss be granted in part and
dismissed without prejudice in part. Specifically, it is
respectfully recommended that Pro-Flex and Tru-Flex's
claim against Ward for indemnification be dismissed with
prejudice and Pro-Flex and Tru-Flex's claim for
contribution against Ward be dismissed without prejudice. It
is further respectfully recommended that Ward's motion to
dismiss the Named Plaintiff's Original Complaint be
dismissed without prejudice as moot.
factual background of this case and the operable Third-Party
Complaints was set forth at length in this court's prior
Report and Recommendation. [ECF No. 259]. Because the court
writes primarily for the parties, the court incorporates the
factual background of that Report as if fully set forth
herein and will only recount the allegations necessary to
support this Report and Recommendation.
and Tru-Flex assert a claim for indemnification and/or
contribution against Third-Party Defendant Ward. Ward is in
the business of manufacturing, designing, distributing and/or
selling CSST in Pennsylvania and nationwide. Third-Party
Complaint [ECF No. 90] at ¶ 51. Pro-Flex and Tru-Flex allege
that they visually inspected properties at Adams Pointe and
identified the presence of a CSST product manufactured by
Ward (hereinafter “WardFlex CSST”) in certain
residences at Adams Pointe. Id. at ¶ 53.
Pro-Flex and Tru-Flex allege that to the extent they are
found liable to the Adams Pointe Plaintiffs for the presence
of CSST at Adams Pointe, Ward is solely liable to the Adams
Pointe Plaintiffs, jointly or severally liable with Pro-Flex
and Tru-Flex, or is liable to Pro-Flex and Tru-Flex for
contribution and/or indemnity. Id. at ¶ 54.
Pro-Flex and Tru-Flex allege that the duty to indemnify is
“implied in the law to prevent an unjust result[,
]” and that Ward's negligence was the proximate
cause of any damages sustained by the Adams Pointe
Plaintiffs. Id. at ¶¶ 55-56. Pro-Flex and
Tru-Flex allege that to the extent that the Adams Pointe
Plaintiffs have alleged to have “incurred damages in
the form of property loss, structural damage, expended costs,
loss of value in the marketing and sale of the residences,
and increased insurability costs[, ]” those damages
were caused by Ward and not Pro-Flex and Tru-Flex.
Id. at ¶¶ 52-56.
moves to dismiss the Third-Party Complaints and argues that
the Third-Party Complaints are improper under Rule 14(a) and
the Third-Party Complaints otherwise fail to state a claim
against Ward for indemnity and/or contribution under
Pennsylvania law. Further, Ward moves to dismiss the Named
Plaintiffs' Original Complaint and argues that the Named
Plaintiffs lack standing to recover damages beyond those
incurred as a result of the purported fires at the Adams
Pointe properties and the Named Plaintiffs' claims for
damages in connection with the properties at Adams Pointe not
directly harmed by the fire incident are barred by the
economic loss doctrine.
Motion to Dismiss the Third-Party Complaints
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 14(a)
14(a) allows a defendant to file a third-party complaint
against a non-party “who is or may be liable to him for
all or part of the plaintiff's claim against him.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 14(a). The purpose of Rule 14(a) is “to
permit additional parties whose rights may be affected by the
decision in the original action to be joined and brought in
so as to expedite the final determination of the rights and
liabilities of all of the interested persons in one
suit.” Glens Falls Indem. Co. v. Atl. Bldg.
Corp., 199 F.2d 60, 63 (4th Cir.1952).
third-party complaint must attempt ‘to transfer to the
third-party defendant the liability asserted against him by
the original plaintiff.'” Monarch Life Ins. Co.
v. Donahue, 702 F.Supp. 1195, 1197 (E.D. Pa. 1989)
(citing Baltimore & Ohio R. Co. v. Central Ry. Serv.,
Inc., 636 F.Supp. 782, 786 (E.D.Pa.1986)). A
defendant/third-party plaintiff may use Rule 14(a) to implead
a third-party defendant “only if the proposed
third-party defendant may be liable to the third-party
plaintiff derivatively or secondarily.” Jabara v.
Lang, 1:12-CV-1833, 2014 WL 47767, at *2 (M.D.Pa. Jan.
6, 2014) (citing Naramanian v. Greyhound Lines,
Inc., 07-CV-4757, ...