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Murray v. Lifetime Brands, Inc.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 5, 2016

NICOLE MURRAY, Plaintiff,
v.
LIFETIME BRANDS, INC., Defendant.

          CLARK LAW FIRM, Mark W. Morris, Esq., Counsel for Plaintiff

          BATHGATE, WEGENER & WOLF, PC By: Michael M. DiCicco, Esq., William Joseph Wolf, Esq., Christopher B. Healy, Esq. One Airport Road P.O., Counsel for Defendant

          OPINION

          HON. NOEL L. HILLMAN, United States District Judge

         In this diversity suit brought pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d), Plaintiff Nicole Murray asserts that Defendant Lifetime Brands, Inc., violated the New Jersey Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (“TCCWNA”), N.J.S.A. 56:12-14 et seq., by allegedly failing to disclose certain information on its website.[1]

         Lifetime moves to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), arguing that Murray has not sufficiently alleged facts supporting a conclusion that she has suffered a concrete injury in fact as required by Article III of the United States Constitution.[2] Thus, Lifetime argues, this Court lacks Article III subject matter jurisdiction[3] to hear this case and Murray's proposed class action complaint must be dismissed.

         The Court holds that Murray has not sufficiently pled a concrete injury in fact. Accordingly, the Motion to Dismiss will be granted.

         I.

         Defendant Lifetime sells tableware (e.g., plates, cups, bowls, vases, etc.) on its website, mikasa.com. The Complaint alleges that on May 23, 2016, Plaintiff Murray purchased four fruit bowls through the website. (Compl. ¶ 4) The Complaint further alleges, “[u]pon receiving the four fruit bowls, [Murray] determined that the products did not meet her quality expectations as depicted on [Lifetime's] website. . . . [Murray] thereafter reviewed [Lifetime's] ‘Terms of Use' on [Lifetime's] website.” (Id.)

         The Complaint alleges no further information specific to Murray. The remainder of the 28-page, 90-paragraph Complaint is mainly dedicated to explaining how Lifetime's website “Terms of Use” allegedly violates New Jersey's TCCWNA. Thus, while the Complaint asserts only one count - violation of the TCCWNA, Murray appears to assert six separate theories of liability. According to the Complaint, the Terms of Use violate the TCCWNA by allegedly:

(1) Disclaiming tort liability through the use of an “exculpatory clause” (Compl. ¶¶ 17-20);
(2) Including a “‘Limitations on Liability' provision” which allegedly “deprive[s] customers of their rights and remedies under the New Jersey Product Liability Act” (Compl. ¶¶ 21-30);
(3) Including an indemnification provision which provides that website users will indemnify Lifetime for liability arising out of users' posting users' own content on the website (Compl. ¶¶ 31-33);
(4) Including a “‘Limitations on Liability' provision” which allegedly “absolve[s] [Lifetime] of its duty to protect customers from harm arising from third-party acts” (Compl. ¶¶ 34-45);
(5) Including a provision which allegedly “take[s] away [customers'] clearly established right under the [New Jersey Punitive Damages Act] to pursue punitive damages” ...

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