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United Van Lines, LLC v. Lohr Printing, Inc.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

March 4, 2014

UNITED VAN LINES, LLC and MCCOLLISTER'S TRANSPORTATION SERVICES, INC., Plaintiffs,
v.
LOHR PRINTING, INC., Defendant/Third Party Plaintiff,
v.
CANON, U.S.A., CANON FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC., CANON BUSINESS SOLUTIONS, INC., SONAIE LONEY, AND RODNEY R. HELD Third Party Defendants,
v.
Richard LOHR, Fourth Party Defendant.

OPINION

ANNE E. THOMPSON, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Rodney Held's (hereinafter, "Mr. Held's") motion to dismiss. (Doc. No. 75). Lohr Printing, Inc. (hereinafter, "Lohr Printing") opposes the motion. (Doc. No. 76). The Court has issued the Opinion below based upon the written submissions and without oral argument pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78(b). For the reasons stated herein, the motion is granted.

BACKGROUND

In April 2009, Lohr Printing leased a Canon Image Press 60000 VP-4 (the "Printer") under a Canon Business Solutions ("CBS") service contract; the Printer was leased through and owned by Canon Financial Services ("CFS"). ( Id. at ¶¶ 51-52; 55). Both CBS and CFS are affiliates of Canon USA. ( Id. at ¶ 53). Mr. Held, a CBS account representative and alleged agent of CFS and CUSA, has sold Lohr Printing several printers. ( Id. at ¶¶ 54, 56).

In February 2011, Lohr Printing advised Mr. Held of its intention to relocate the Printer to another facility. ( Id. at ¶ 58). Mr. Held offered to assist in getting a price quote for shipping. ( Id. at ¶ 59). Mr. Held advised Lohr Printing of the following: (1) Canon often used McCollister's Transportation Services, Inc. (hereinafter, "McCollister's"); (2) McCollister's is experienced in handling this kind of equipment; and (3) Mr. Held would secure a good price for Lohr Printing. ( Id. at ¶¶ 60-61).

On February 16, 2011, Mr. Held contacted Ms. Loney, a customer service coordinator for McCollister's to request a quote on the Printer's transportation. ( Id. at ¶ 62). Mr. Held and Ms. Loney discussed the machine's characteristics and the need to crate the machine for transport. ( Id. at ¶ 63). Ms. Loney purportedly told Mr. Held that crating was unnecessary. ( Id. at ¶ 64).

After a period of negotiations in which Mr. Held was the intermediary, Mr. Held conveyed the shipping price to Lohr Printing. ( Id. at ¶¶ 75-76). Ms. Loney then contacted Lohr Printing directly for payment. ( Id. at ¶¶ 77-78). Lohr Printing contends that the parties never discussed liability limits or the fact that McCollister's was actually an agent for another carrier, United Van Lines, Inc, (hereinafter, "United"). ( Id. at ¶¶ 65, 67, 74, 79).

On March 29, 2011, United picked up the Printer at Lohr Printing's facility. ( Id. at ¶¶ 80-85). At the time of pick-up, Lohr Printing was handed a "document, " which its employee was instructed to sign. (Doc. No. 30 at ¶¶ 88-89). This document allegedly limited the liability of the shipping company to a value below the Printer's value. ( Id. ). Lohr Printing signed the document and contends that it was not aware of the limitation. ( Id. ).

On April 4, 2011, the Printer was delivered in a damaged state. ( Id. at ¶¶ 91-92). On April 13, 2011, Lohr Printing filed a "Presentation of Claim for Loss and Damages" form with United and McCollister's. ( Id. at ¶ 95). Lohr Printing estimates the total value of loss to be $251, 868.00. ( Id. at ¶ 112). In response to the above incident, Lohr Printing brought the following claims against Mr. Held: (1) Negligence; (2) Breach of Contract; (3) Breach of Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing; (4) Breach of Fiduciary Duty; and (5) Legal Fraud and Consumer Fraud.

DISCUSSION

The Court will first discuss the applicable legal standard before examining each claim.

1. Legal Standard

A motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of the complaint. Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993). The defendant bears the burden of showing that no claim has been presented. Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a district court should conduct a three-part analysis. See Malleus v. George, 641 F.3d 560, 563 (3d Cir. 2011). "First, the court must take note of the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a claim.'" Id. (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 56 U.S. 662, 675 (2009)). Second, the court must accept as true all of a plaintiff's well-pleaded factual allegations and construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009). The court may disregard any conclusory legal allegations. Id. Finally, the court must determine whether the "facts are sufficient to show that plaintiff has a plausible claim for relief.'" Id. at 211 (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679). Such a claim requires ...


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