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Ward v. Latham Pool Products, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

October 9, 2019

RICHARD WARD and REBECCA WARD, Plaintiffs,
v.
LATHAM POOL PRODUCTS, INC., Defendant.

          District Judge Joy Flowers Conti

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ECF NO. 5

          MAUREEN P. KELLY, MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. RECOMMENDATION

         Plaintiffs Richard Ward and Rebecca Ward ("Plaintiffs"), bring this action against Latham Pool Products ("Latham"), for claims arising out of an allegedly defective Latham-manufactured swimming pool shell installed at their home by an authorized Latham dealer. Presently before the Court is Latham's Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim or, in the Alternative, for a More Definite Statement, ECF No. 5, seeking the dismissal of Plaintiffs' claims for breach of contract, violation of the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2301, et seq., and the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law ("UTPCPL"), 73 P.S. § 201-1, et seq.

         For the following reasons, it is respectfully recommended that the Motion, ECF No. 5, be denied.

         II. REPORT

         A. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In March 2016, Plaintiffs purchased a Viking Coronado fiberglass pool shell through their then-contractor, Kelly Pools, to be installed at their home in Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania. The shell was manufactured by Latham. Soon after installation, Plaintiffs noticed "blistering, scratches and blemishes" throughout the pool shell. ECF No. 1-1 ¶¶ 1, 5-6. Plaintiffs notified Latham of the defects and Latham attempted to repair the pool shell. Id. ¶ 8. The repairs were deemed unsatisfactory, and in September 2017, Plaintiffs requested that Latham inspect the pool shell. Id. ¶¶9-10. Upon inspection, Latham advised Plaintiffs that the pool shell was defective. Id. ¶ 11. Latham offered a repair that would be a 75% color match or, in lieu of repair, Latham would pay Plaintiffs $4, 000. Id. ¶ 12. On April 17, 2018, Plaintiffs rejected this offer and countered, requesting a repair of the pool shell to "like new" condition, and "assurances thereafter that any and all issues arising from the defective pool shell or its repair, be immediately attended to at no cost to me, the consumer. If the repair is deemed to be reasonably unsatisfactory, replacement of the pool shell in its entirety, at no cost to me would then be expected." Id. ¶ 14.

         A string of emails attached to Plaintiffs' Complaint indicates that on June 28, 2018, Latham's Warranty and Repair Manager responded to Plaintiffs counter-offer, indicating that "[a]lthough we feel that the Aquabright product is the correct answer to this problem, we will abide by your wishes and come up and re-gel coat the discolored areas and have them match the rest of the pool. Since this is a purely cosmetic issue I am assuming you are enjoying your pool, so we can schedule this repair for the fall (pool closing time). If that is not the case, please let me know and we will get the repair scheduled sooner." ECF No. 1-1 at 26. Plaintiffs inquired, "[w]ill this solution remedy the problem and restore it to like new condition with the same warranty and guarantees that come along with a brand new pool shell?" Id. at 25. Latham responded, "Yes it will," and Plaintiffs stated, "Ok. Let's get it scheduled then." Id. at 24.

         Plaintiffs assert that the attempted repair failed to return the pool shell to a "like new" condition and requested that Latham confirm it would replace the pool shell. Plaintiffs allege that Latham has failed to honor its agreement as well as its warranty regarding the condition of the pool shell.

         Plaintiffs initially filed this action in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, bringing claims for breach of contract (Count I); violation of the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2301, et seq. (Count II); and violation of the UTPCPL (Count III). On June 14, 2019, Defendants removed the state court action to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. ECF No. 1. On August 5, 2019, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim or, in the Alternative, for a More Definite Statement. ECF No. 5. The parties have filed their briefs and exhibits in support and in opposition thereto. ECF Nos. 6, 8 and 9. The Motion is ripe for consideration.

         B. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A 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).

         "Though 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, ...


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