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Wilson v. Kia Motors America, Inc.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

June 25, 2015

KATHLEEN WILSON, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
KIA MOTORS AMERICA, INC., Defendant.

OPINION

JOSEPH H. RODRIGUEZ, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss [29]. The Court has considered the written submissions of the parties.[1] For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.

I. Background

This is a proposed class action against defendant, Kia Motors America, Inc. ("KMA"). Plaintiff, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, filed an Amended Complaint alleging two violations of the New Jersey Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty, and Notice Act ("TCCWNA"), N.J.S.A. 56:12-15 (1981).[2] Plaintiff claims that KMA's Lemon Law disclosure violates the TCCWNA because it requires a consumer to notify KMA of an alleged defect by "certified" mail and because it does not state verbatim the Lemon Law disclosure developed by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs ("DCA") and codified as N.J.A.C. 13:45A-26.3.

On or about May 16, 2012, Plaintiff purchased a vehicle from KMA. (Am. Compl. ¶ 16.) At the time of purchase, Plaintiff was issued a warranty notice informing Plaintiff of her protection under New Jersey's Lemon Law. (Id. at ¶ 44.) Plaintiff claims that the warranty misstates the Lemon Law and therefore violates the TCCWNA. (Id. at ¶¶ 48-50.) The warranty states that to seek remedies under the Lemon Law, the consumer must (1) notify KMA by certified mail of the problem and (2) give KMA an opportunity to repair the problem. (Id. at ¶¶ 96-103.) Plaintiff claims that the requirement that KMA be notified by certified mail is not required by statute, and violates a legal right of the consumer to file suit without sending such a letter or making arrangements for repair attempts. In addition, Plaintiff claims that the notice provided by KMA fails to use the prescribed language of N.J.A.C. 13A:45-26.3 and therefore violates the TCCWNA. For these reasons, Plaintiff alleges two violations of the TCCWNA. (Id.)

II. Standard of Review

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a party to move for dismissal of a claim based on "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A complaint should be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) if the alleged facts, taken as true, fail to state a claim. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). When deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), ordinarily only the allegations in the complaint, matters of public record, orders, and exhibits attached to the complaint, are taken into consideration. See Chester County Intermediate Unit v. Pa. Blue Shield, 896 F.2d 808, 812 (3d Cir. 1990). It is not necessary for the plaintiff to plead evidence. Bogosian v. Gulf Oil Corp., 561 F.2d 434, 446 (3d Cir. 1977). The question before the Court is not whether the plaintiff will ultimately prevail. Watson v. Abington Twp., 478 F.3d 144, 150 (2007). Instead, the Court simply asks whether the plaintiff has articulated "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).

"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. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "Where there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

The Court need not accept "unsupported conclusions and unwarranted inferences, '" Baraka v. McGreevey, 481 F.3d 187, 195 (3d Cir. 2007) (citation omitted), however, and "[l]egal conclusions made in the guise of factual allegations... are given no presumption of truthfulness." Wyeth v. Ranbaxy, Ltd., 423 F.3d 347, 351 (3d Cir. 2005). ("[A] court need not credit either bald assertions' or legal conclusions' in a complaint when deciding a motion to dismiss.")). Accord Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-80 (finding that pleadings that are not more than conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of truth).

Thus, a motion to dismiss should be granted unless the plaintiff's factual allegations are "enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all of the complaint's allegations are true (even if doubtful in fact)." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556 (internal citations omitted). "[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not shown'-that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).

III. Analysis

Plaintiff's Amended Complaint fails to state a claim under the TCCWNA. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). KMA's certified mail reporting requirement is not a violation of a clearly established right under the TCCWNA and Plaintiff fails to demonstrate that she is entitled to relief. In addition, the Court finds Plaintiff's claims in Count II are not cognizable under the TCCWNA because Plaintiff has not demonstrated a violation of a clearly established right and has not plead sufficient facts to demonstrate that she has incurred an ascertainable loss. As a result, the motion to dismiss is granted.

A. Count I

In Count I, Plaintiff contends that KMA's requirement that a certified letter be sent to KMA is a violation of the ...


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