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Ligato v. Ryder Used Vehicle Sales, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

July 16, 2019

THERESA LIGATO, DONNA BUSILLO, individually and as members of D & T Transport Services, LLC, and D&T TRANSPORT SERVICES, LLC
v.
RYDER USED VEHICLE SALES, INC.

          MEMORANDUM

          John R. Padova, J.

          Plaintiffs Theresa Ligato, Donna Busillo, and D&T Transport Services, LLC bring this action asserting breaches of express and implied warranties and violations of the Pennsylvania Automobile Lemon Law, 73 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 1951 et seq., violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty-Federal Trade Commission Improvement Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2301 et seq. (“MMWA”), and violations of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, 73 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 201-1 et seq. (“UTPCPL”). Defendant Ryder Vehicle Sales, LLC (misidentified in the Complaint as “Ryder Used Vehicle Sales, Inc.”) has moved to dismiss some of Plaintiff's claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, we grant the Motion in its entirety.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The Complaint alleges that Theresa Ligato, Donna Busillo, and D&T Transport Services, LLC purchased a certified used 2011 Freightliner Cascadia 125 truck from Defendant Ryder Used Vehicle Sales on July 23, 2018. (Compl. ¶ 5, Ex. A.) Plaintiffs bought the truck for “business and general transportation purposes, ” and Plaintiffs Ligato and Busillo personally signed and guaranteed payments for the truck. (Id. ¶¶ 7, 23.) Defendant issued several warranties in connection with the truck, including an automatic 30-day limited powertrain warranty and an express 12-month/100, 000 mile warranty. (Id. ¶¶ 8-9.) Plaintiffs discovered defects in the truck on August 8, 2018-16 days after buying the truck-and took the truck to be repaired the following day. (Id. ¶¶ 12-13.) Over the next four months, Plaintiffs sought repairs under the vehicle warranty a total of seven times, causing Plaintiffs to lose clients and business revenue. (Id. ¶¶ 14-21.) The truck continues to break down regularly and to exhibit defects and nonconformities that substantially impair its use, value, and safety. (Id. ¶¶ 21-22.)

         The Complaint asserts five claims: 1) breach of implied warranty, 2) breach of express warranties, 3) violation of the Pennsylvania Automobile Lemon Law, [1] 4) violation of MMWA, and 5) violation of the UTPCPL. Defendant asks us to dismiss Counts III, [2] IV, and V for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         When considering a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), we consider “only the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, [and] matters of public record, as well as undisputedly authentic documents if the complainant's claims are based upon these documents.” Mayer v. Belichick, 605 F.3d 223, 230 (3d Cir. 2010) (citing Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993)). We “‘accept all factual allegations [of the complaint] as true [and] construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.'” DelRio-Mocci v. Connolly Props., Inc., 672 F.3d 241, 245 (3d Cir. 2012) (second alteration in original) (quoting Warren Gen. Hosp. v. Amgen Inc., 643 F.3d 77, 84 (3d Cir. 2011)). A plaintiff's pleading obligation is to set forth “‘a short and plain statement of the claim, '” which gives “‘the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (alteration in original) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), and Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). The complaint must contain “‘sufficient factual matter to show that the claim is facially plausible,' thus enabling ‘the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for [the] misconduct alleged.'” Warren Gen. Hosp., 643 F.3d at 84 (quoting Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009)).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Count IV: MMWA

         Count IV asserts that Defendant violated the MMWA by failing to comply with the express written warranties that it provided Plaintiffs. (See Compl. ¶¶ 53-59.) Defendant moves to dismiss this Count on the ground that Plaintiffs are not “consumers” as defined by the MMWA and thus cannot assert a claim under the Act. Defendant also maintains that the truck is not a “consumer product” and is therefore not covered by the MMWA.

         The MMWA provides that “a consumer who is damaged by the failure of a supplier, warrantor, or service contractor to comply with any obligation under this chapter, or under a written warranty, implied warranty, or service contract, may bring suit for damages and other legal and equitable relief” in either state or federal court. 15 U.S.C. § 2310(d)(1). The Act defines a consumer to be:

a buyer . . . of any consumer product, any person to whom such product is transferred during the duration of an implied or written warranty (or service contract) applicable to the product, and any other person who is entitled by the terms of such warranty (or service contract) or under applicable State law to enforce against the warrantor (or service contractor) the obligations of the warranty (or service contract).

15 U.S.C. § 2301(3). A consumer product is defined as “any tangible personal property which is distributed in commerce and which is normally used for personal, family, or household purposes.” 15 U.S.C. § 2301(1) (emphasis added). “[H]ow a particular buyer uses the goods is irrelevant as long as the goods are ‘normally used' for consumer purposes.” Triad Charters, Inc. v. Viking Yacht Co., Civ. A. No. 88-4977, 1989 WL 21763, at *4 (D.N.J. Mar. 6, 1989) (citations omitted); see also Mendelson v. Country Coach, Inc., Civ. A. No. 06-572, 2007 WL 4812279, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 9, 2007) (“The broad policy of the Mag-Moss Act and its regulations indicates that a ‘type' or ‘class' analysis of a product is the appropriate test in resolving the issue of coverage. An individual's deviation from the normal use of a particular type product will not affect its classification for purposes of the Act.” (citations omitted)).

         The truck at issue is a 2011 Freightliner Cascadia 125, which is classified by the purchase contract as a “heavy truck.” (Compl. ¶ 5; Ex. A at 8.) Other courts have found similar vehicles not to be consumer products under the MMVA. See Kwiatkowski v. Volvo Trucks N. Am., Inc., 500 F.Supp.2d 875, 877 (N.D. Ill. 2007) (“The court agrees . . . that a commercial tractor-trailer is not ordinarily used for personal, family, or household use. The normal and ordinary purpose for such trucks is to haul trailers in transport of goods and products over long distances for commercial benefit. Such a vehicle is not a “consumer ...


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