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C&K Auto Imports, Inc. v. Daimler AG

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

June 21, 2013

C&K AUTO IMPORTS, INC. and C&K AUTO IMPORTS SOUTH, INC., Plaintiffs-Respondents,
v.
DAIMLER AG and GARFF ENTERPRISES, INC., d/b/a KEN GARFF IMPORTS, Defendants-Respondents, and CROSSROADS MERCEDES BENZ OF LYNCHBURG VIRGINIA, INC. Defendant-Appellant, and MERCEDES BENZ USA, LLC, MERCEDES BENZ FINANCIAL, THE YOKOHAMA TRADING COMPANY, LLC, TOM SEKIGAMI, Individually, DEALER GUARD and INTREPID INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued May 28, 2013

On appeal from an interlocutory order of Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Docket No. L-4922-12.

Gary Ahladianakis argued the cause for appellant (Montgomery, Chapin & Fetten, PC, attorneys; Robert C. Chapin, of counsel; Mr. Ahladianakis, on the briefs).

Ian J. Hirsch argued the cause for respondents, C&K Auto Imports, Inc. and C&K Auto Imports South, Inc. (Law Offices of Ian J. Hirsch & Associates, LLC, attorneys; Mr. Hirsch, on the brief).

Before Judges Espinosa and Guadagno.

PER CURIAM

We granted defendant CrossRoads of Lynchburg, Inc. (CrossRoads) (improperly impleaded as Cross Roads Mercedes Benz of Lynchburg, Virginia, Inc.) leave to appeal from an order that denied its motion to dismiss the action against it on jurisdictional grounds. For the reasons that follow, we reverse.

Unless otherwise stated, the following facts are derived from the complaint:

Plaintiff C&K Auto Imports, Inc. (C&K) is licensed to do business by the State of New Jersey and has corporate offices in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. Plaintiff C&K Auto Imports South, Inc. (C&K South), is licensed to do business by the State of Florida and has corporate offices in Lighthouse Point, Florida.

This action concerns a 2008 Mercedes Benz CL65 AMG twelve-cylinder Bi Turbo two-door coupe, Vehicle Identification Number WDDEJ79X58A012250 (the vehicle). Mercedes Benz USA, LLC (MBUSA) sold the vehicle for $200, 775 to Garff Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a/ Ken Garff Imports (Garff), [1] a franchise dealer of Mercedes Benz automobiles doing business in Salt Lake City, Utah. On October 18, 2007, the vehicle was leased to a person or persons identified in the complaint as John Does 1-10, with title remaining in Daimler Title Company o/b/o Daimler Trust.

Upon expiration of the lease in October 2009, the complaint alleges that Daimler Trust took possession of the vehicle as title holder and sent the vehicle to be auctioned at the Manheim Auction Facility in Las Vegas. The vehicle was purchased online by CrossRoads, which in turn sold the vehicle to C&K Auto Imports, with an address in Lighthouse Point, Florida, and was shipped directly to that address in Florida. Thereafter, plaintiffs shipped the vehicle to their warehouse in New Jersey.

Tom Sekigami, the president and owner of The Yokohama Trading Co., LLC (Yokohama), contacted plaintiffs through a website and purchased the vehicle for $120, 000. Yokohama directed plaintiffs to ship the vehicle from JFK International Airport to Japan. Prior to shipment, Doron Sauer, CEO and owner of both plaintiffs, detected a noise and had the vehicle inspected by an authorized MBUSA and Daimler dealer in New Jersey. It was determined that the vehicle's engine had been damaged by water.

Plaintiffs repaired the vehicle at a cost of $20, 000. The complaint alleges that the engine should have been replaced by MBUSA under an implied warranty at a total cost of $141, 000 and demands compensatory damages of $206, 000 plus interest, costs of suit and counsel fees. The claims asserted against Daimler and MBUSA are fraud, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, civil conspiracy, misrepresentation, negligence, and unjust enrichment (first through sixth counts). Claims of negligence, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment are asserted against CrossRoads (seventh through ninth counts). The complaint asserts claims of negligence and unjust enrichment against Garff (tenth and eleventh counts). Plaintiffs allege breach of ...


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