United States District Court, D. New Jersey
RONALD J. PIEMONTE, SUZZANNE E. PIEMONTE, MARIANNE A. WILLIS, and WILLIAM J. WILLIS, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
VIKING RANGE, LLC, et al., Defendants.
WILLIAM J. MARTINI, District Judge.
Plaintiffs Ronald J. Piemonte, Suzzanne E. Piemonte, Marianne A. Willis, and William J. Willis filed this putative class action against Defendants Viking Range, LLC ("Viking"), The Middleby Corporation ("Middleby, " and together with Viking, "Moving Defendants"), Morris County Appliance Repair ("MCAR"), and A&E Appliances & Repairs ("A&E"). This matter comes before the Court on Moving Defendant's motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). There was no oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b). For the reasons set forth below, the motion to dismiss is GRANTED.
The facts alleged in the Complaint are as follows. Moving Defendant Viking manufactures and markets kitchen appliances, including refrigerators. Compl. ¶¶ 6, 17, ECF No. 1. Moving Defendant Middleby is producer of commercial cooking and food processing and packaging equipment for the food service industry and a local dealer of Viking products. Compl. ¶ 8. Plaintiffs are owners of Viking refrigerators. Compl. ¶¶ 30, 55.
In April 2009, Viking reported a manufacturing defect in certain 48 Inch Side-By-Side refrigerator/freezer models and 36 Inch Bottom Mount refrigerator models manufactured through April 2006 to the United States Consumer Safety Product Commission ("CSPC"). Compl. ¶ 17. Specifically, Viking had received reports that the doors on those refrigerators were detaching due to a defective door hinge. Compl. ¶ 18. In June 2009, the CSPC announced a recall of over 45, 000 Viking refrigerators sold from 1999 through 2006. Compl. ¶ 20. And in July 2011, Viking agreed to pay a civil penalty based on CSPC's claim that Viking was aware of the manufacturing defect for several years before reporting it. Compl. ¶ 21. Plaintiffs allege that, even after Viking paid the civil penalty, "consumers reported unreasonable delays" in receiving repairs to their refrigerators. Compl. ¶ 24. Plaintiffs also allege that the repairs often failed to correct the problem. Compl. ¶ 25. On July 25, 2013, the CSPC expanded the recall to include additional 36 Inch Bottom Mount refrigerator models manufactured from November 2005 through August 2012. Compl. ¶ 26.
Plaintiffs allege various claims on behalf of themselves and a putative class of every New Jersey resident that has ever purchased one of eleven refrigerator models manufactured by Viking from 1999 through 2012. Compl. ¶¶ 5, 14. The Complaint seeks recovery for personal injury and property damage caused by the allegedly defective refrigerators. Compl. ¶ 83. Plaintiffs further allege that Viking "deliberately concealed" both the defect and the fact that the initial recall did not remedy the problem from Plaintiffs. Compl. ¶ 72. The Complaint makes the following specific allegations with respect to the named Plaintiffs.
A. Plaintiffs Ronald and Suzzanne Piemonte
Husband and wife Plaintiffs Ronald and Suzzanne Piemonte purchased a Viking refrigerator in June 2002. Compl. ¶ 30. Their refrigerator was subject to the initial recall. Defendant MCAR repaired their refrigerator in compliance with the 2009 recall in March 2011. Compl. ¶ 38.
On July 7, 2013, Mrs. Piemonte opened the refrigerator door and it detached from the refrigerator. Compl. ¶ 39. The refrigerator door fell on top of her, causing her to hit her head on a granite countertop and fall to the ground. Compl. ¶¶ 39-42. Mr. Piemonte heard his wife scream and was able to push the door off of her. Compl. ¶¶ 43, 45. The next day, Mrs. Piemonte went to the hospital, where she "was advised that she had no broken bones but that her pre-existing medical conditions had all been severely exacerbated by the falling refrigerator door." Compl. ¶¶ 50-51. Also on July 8, 2013, MCAR visited the Piemonte's home and "confirmed that the screw attaching the pivot plate of the top hinge on the door was sheared, " which caused the door to detach and fall on Mrs. Piemonte. Compl. ¶ 53. Mr. Piemonte reported the accident to Viking that same day. Compl. ¶ 54.
B. Plaintiffs William and Marianne Willis
Husband and wife Plaintiffs William and Marianne Willis purchased a Viking refrigerator in 2003. Compl. ¶ 55. Their refrigerator was subject to the 2009 recall. They were notified of the recall in June 2009 and had their refrigerator repaired by Defendant A&E. Compl. ¶ 56. In August 2013, having not received any notice of the second recall, they contacted Viking to ask if their refrigerator needed to be repaired or replaced. Compl. ¶ 57. Although they left numerous messages with Viking's customer service department, they never received a response. Compl. ¶ 58.
II. LEGAL STANDARD
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of a complaint, in whole or in part, if the plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The moving party bears the burden of showing that no claim has been stated. Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005). In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court must take all allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 501 (1975); Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, Inc. v. Mirage Resorts Inc., 140 F.3d 478, 483 (3d Cir. 1998).
Although a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, "a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds' of his entitlement to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Thus, the factual allegations must be sufficient to raise a plaintiff's right to relief above a speculative level, such that it is "plausible on its face." See id. at 570; see also Umland v. PLANCO Fin. Serv., Inc., 542 F.3d 59, 64 (3d Cir. 2008). 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." Ashcroft v. ...