United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
OPINION AND ORDER RE: ECF NO. 6
Maureen P. Kelly Magistrate Judge
Douglas Bieda (“Plaintiff”) initiated this action
against Defendant Case New Holland Industrial, Inc.
(“CNH”) and Lamb & Webster, Inc.,
(“L&W”), alleging claims arising out of his
purchase of allegedly defective farming equipment.
before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss filed on behalf of
L&W, ECF No. 6, seeking dismissal of Plaintiff's
claims for breach of the implied warranty of merchantability
(Count I), and breach of the implied warranty of fitness for
a particular purpose (Count II). For the reasons that follow,
the Motion to Dismiss will be granted.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
January 2018, Plaintiff visited the L&W store in Grove
City, Pennsylvania to discuss his need for a new
planter. ECF No. 1-1 ¶ 4. Based upon promises
extended by L&W sales personnel related to increased crop
production, Plaintiff purchased a 2018 Case IH 2150 12 Row 30
Planter with optional attachments for $168, 000. Id.
¶ 5. The Planter was delivered on May 1, 2018.
Throughout the following month, L&W's technician
failed to complete agreed servicing to ready the Planter for
use and, upon start up by Plaintiff, the Planter displayed
various error codes and messages indicating a malfunction
with the Planter attachments. Id. ¶¶ 6-8.
Plaintiff alleges that despite several attempts by L&W
technicians, the Planter did not function properly as
equipped and, as a result, Plaintiff was unable to
satisfactorily or timely complete planting his 2018 corn
crop. Id. ¶ 9.
about May 30, 2018, L&W determined that CNH issued a
service bulletin in January 2018 indicating that the
Planter's attachments would not operate properly as
equipped, and required that Plaintiff purchase and install a
repair kit. Id. ¶¶ 12-13. The kit was not
shipped until July 2018, well after planting season, and
Plaintiff was forced to complete planting his crops with a
malfunctioning Planter. Id. ¶ 14. As a result,
Plaintiff's corn was not planted at a sufficient depth,
and Plaintiff suffered substantial losses in crop yield,
estimated to be approximately $250, 000. Id.
alleges that at the time he purchased the Planter, L&W
was aware that Planter attachments would not operate as
equipped. CNH addressed Plaintiff's concerns in the
spring of 2019; however, upon commencing planting for the
2019 crop season, Plaintiff experienced continued errors,
resulting in partial planting at an insufficient depth, and
additional crop yield losses. Id. ¶¶
thereafter commenced this lawsuit in the Court of Common
Pleas of Indiana County, Pennsylvania, against CNH and
L&W alleging claims for breach of implied warranties of
merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, and
breach of contract. ECF No. 1-1. On August 7, 2019, CNH
removed Plaintiff's lawsuit to this Court on the basis of
diversity jurisdiction, alleging CNH's status as a
Delaware limited liability corporation, and the consent of
L&W, a New York corporation. ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 7-9.
has filed the pending Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, contending
that Plaintiff fails to state a claim for breach of any
implied warranty because the relevant sales documents
expressly and conspicuously disclaim all implied warranties.
ECF No. 7 at 6. Accordingly, L&W argues that
Plaintiff's remedy, if any, is limited to his claim for
breach of contract. Plaintiff has filed his response in
opposition to the motion and argues that express oral and
written representations made at the time of sale give rise to
independent implied warranties of merchantability and fitness
for a particular purpose that survive the disclaimers set
forth in the pertinent sales documents. ECF No. 14 at 4-7.
L&W filed its reply and contends that pursuant to
Pennsylvania law, the conspicuous disclaimers apply to any
pre-sale promises, and that any injury suffered by Plaintiff
resulted from defects in the Planter itself, which Plaintiff
correctly attributes to CNH. ECF No. 15. In sum, L&W
contends that Plaintiff cannot maintain his claims for the
breach of any implied warranties as a matter of law, and
dismissal is appropriate. The Motion to Dismiss is ripe for
STANDARD OF REVIEW
complaint must be dismissed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), if
it does not allege “enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The
plaintiff must aver “factual content that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009).
a complaint ‘does not need detailed factual
allegations, ... a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.'” DelRio-Mocci v.
Connolly Prop. Inc., 672 F.3d 241, 245 (3d Cir. 2012)
(citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In other words,
“[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right
to relief above the speculative level.” Covington
v. Int'l Ass'n of Approved Basketball
Officials, 710 F.3d 114, 118 (3d Cir. 2013) (internal
citations and quotation marks omitted). A court
“take[s] as true all the factual allegations in the
Complaint and the reasonable inferences that can be drawn
from those facts, but ... disregard[s] legal conclusions and
threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action,
supported by mere conclusory statements.” Ethypharm
S.A. France v. Abbott Laboratories, 707 F.3d 223, 231,
n.14 (3d Cir. 2013) (internal citations and quotation marks
Twombly and Iqbal require [a district
court] to take the following three steps to determine the
sufficiency of a complaint: First, the court must take note
of the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a claim.
Second, the court should identify allegations that, because
they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the
assumption of truth. Finally, where there are well-pleaded
factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and
then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an
entitlement for relief.
Connelly v. Steel Valley Sch. Dist., 706 F.3d 209,
212 (3d Cir. 2013).
the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more
than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has
alleged - but it has not show[n] - that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679
(internal citations and quotation marks omitted). This
“plausibility” determination will be a