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Noble v. Porsche Cars North America

February 18, 2010

GILBERT NOBLE, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF A CLASS OF SIMILARLY SITUATED PERSONS, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
PORSCHE CARS NORTH AMERICA, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wigenton, District Judge.

OPINION

Before the Court is Defendant Porsche Cars North America, Inc.'s ("PCNA" or "Defendant") Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Gilbert Noble's ("Noble" or "Plaintiff") Amended Class Action Complaint ("Amended Complaint") pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). This Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332(a); and 1332(d)(2)(A). Venue is proper in this District pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). The Motion is decided without oral argument pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 78. For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants Defendant's Motion.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is the purchaser of an allegedly defective 1999 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe ("Porsche 911" or "vehicle"). Plaintiff seeks to bring a class action complaint "on behalf of himself and all other persons who purchased a [.] Porsche 911 [.] which vehicle had or currently has the defective Porsche 996 water-cooled engine and have incurred or will incur fees for the service, repair and/or replacement" of said engine. (Am. Compl. ¶ 25.)

Plaintiff purchased his vehicle in 2005 from a Buy Right Dealership in Union City, New Jersey. (Id. ¶ 15.) The vehicle was manufactured during the first year that Defendant began equipping their products with a new 996 water-cooled engine ("engine") instead of the older air-cooled engines. (Id. ¶ 19.) Plaintiff's vehicle was equipped with the "new" engine. (Id. ¶ 2.) Plaintiff used and maintained the vehicle without incident until October 2006, when he noticed "large quantities of smoke being emitted from the tail pipe." (Id. ¶¶ 16, 17.) Plaintiff contacted a mechanic, who recommended he take the vehicle to a Porsche specialist. (Id. ¶ 18.) Plaintiff had the vehicle towed to Protosport, a Porsche specialist in Pompton Plains, New Jersey. (Id.) A Protosport representative found that antifreeze had leaked into the vehicle's engine oil through a defective cylinder, irreparably damaging the engine. (Id. ¶¶ 19, 20.) The Protosport representative informed Plaintiff that he "had previous experience with this same engine problem" and told Plaintiff that the leak was due to a latent manufacturer design defect in the engine. (Id. ¶ 19.)

Plaintiff reported his vehicle's defect to Defendant "on multiple occasions." (Id. ¶ 21.) However, Defendant refused to cover the cost of replacing Plaintiff's engine and his "related outof-pocket expenses" because the vehicle was "currently more than four years outside of its 4yr/50,000 mile new car limited warranty...." (Id. ¶ 22.) Additionally, the Defendant informed the Plaintiff that his vehicle was not eligible for "goodwill consideration" because goodwill funds are "utilized at PCNA's discretion and are reserved for individuals who have purchased products new from a franchised retail dealership." (Id.)

On July 22, 2008, Plaintiff commenced the instant action by filing a Class Action Complaint and Jury Demand asserting two causes of action against PCNA sounding in "Strict Products Liability" pursuant to N.J. STAT. ANN. 2A:58C-1, et seq. and "Breach of Express Warranty" (the "Complaint"). On March 27, 2009, PCNA moved to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). On September 3, 2009, Plaintiff filed the Amended Complaint which replaced his breach of warranty and statutory strict liability claims, with claims for common law strict liability and violation of New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act, N.J. STAT. ANN. 56:8-1. On September 11, 2009, Defendant filed the current Motion to Dismiss.

MOTION TO DISMISS STANDARD

The adequacy of pleadings is governed by Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2), which requires that a complaint allege "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." This Rule "requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citations omitted); see also Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232 (3d Cir. 2008) (Rule 8 "requires a 'showing' rather than a blanket assertion of an entitlement to relief." (citation omitted)). In considering a Motion to Dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), the Court must "'accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief."' Phillips, 515 F.3d at 231 (quoting Pinker v. Roche Holding Ltd.,292 F.3d 361, 374 n.7 (3d Cir. 2002)). However, "the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice."

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). As the Supreme Court has explained:

To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. The plausibility standard is not akin to a "probability requirement," but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are "merely consistent with" a defendant's liability, it "stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of 'entitlement to relief.'"

Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556--57, 570) (internal citations omitted). Determining whether the allegations in a complaint are "plausible" is "a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950 (citation omitted). If the "well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct," Id., the complaint should be dismissed for failing to "show[] that the pleader is entitled to relief" as required by Rule 8(a)(2).

DISCUSSION

I. Count I -- Strict ...


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