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Caron v. Graber Supply LLC

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

August 15, 2017

GAIL CARON, Plaintiff,
v.
GRABER SUPPLY LLC, individually doing business as GRABER BUILDINGS, et al., Defendants.

          ALLAN E. RICHARDSON RICHARDSON EMPLOYMENT AND CIVIL RIGHTS LAW, STEVEN J. RICHARDSON LAW OFFICES OF STEVEN J. RICHARDSON, PC, On behalf of Plaintiff.

          JOSEPH L. TURCHI SALMON RICCHEZZA SINGER & TURCHI TOWER COMMONS, PHILIP D. PRIORE MCCORMICK & PRIORE, PC, On behalf of Defendant Graber Supply, LLC

          OPINION

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         This matter concerns claims by Plaintiff regarding the allegedly faulty construction of a pole barn on her residential property in Monroeville, New Jersey. Defendant, Graber Supply, LLC, has filed a partial motion to dismiss, seeking the dismissal of Plaintiff's claims that it violated New Jersey's Home Improvement Practices Act, N.J.A.C. 13:45A-16.1 et seq. For the reasons expressed below, Defendant's motion will be denied.

         BACKGROUND

         According to her complaint, in late 2014, Plaintiff, Gail Caron, contracted with Defendant Graber Supply, LLC (“Graber”) to construct a 100' x 70' building, commonly referred to as a pole barn, on her residential property. Construction began on February 4, 2015. On February 18, 2015, a member of Graber's crew hit and cracked a truss with a forklift. Plaintiff claims that Graber made no offer to repair the damage in any manner and the damaged truss will cause the roof to leak. Plaintiff also claims that Graber did not follow the engineering drawings, which also compromised the integrity of the building. As a result, Plaintiff claims that the pole barn did not pass inspection by the municipal building inspector.

         These alleged failures, among others regarding Graber's business practices, serve as the basis for her complaint, which alleges that Graber violated New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 et seq., through violations of the Home Improvement Practices Act, N.J.A.C. 13:45A-16.1 et seq., and committed common law fraud, negligence, and breach of contract.[1]Graber has moved to dismiss, or for summary judgment if the Court considers documents outside the pleadings, Plaintiff's Home Improvement Practices Act claims. Graber argues that the pole barn cannot be considered a home improvement under the Act, and therefore Plaintiff's claims for violations of the Act fail as a matter of law. Plaintiff has opposed Graber's motion, arguing that Graber is a licensed home improvement contractor who is covered by the Act, and that the pole barn constitutes an improvement to her residential property that falls under the Act.

         DISCUSSION

         A. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

         Graber removed this action from New Jersey state court to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441. This Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 because there is complete diversity of citizenship between the parties and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. The citizenship of the parties is as follows: Plaintiff is a citizen of New Jersey; Graber is a citizen of Pennsylvania; Defendant Triple D Truss, LCC is a citizen of Pennsylvania; Defendant L&S Truss, LLC is a citizen of Pennsylvania; and Defendant Premier Structures, LLC is a citizen of Pennsylvania. (See Amended Notice of Removal, Docket No. 35 at 2-3.)

         B. Standard for Motion to Dismiss/Summary Judgment

         When considering a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a court must accept all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 351 (3d Cir. 2005). It is well settled that a pleading is sufficient if it contains “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Under the liberal federal pleading rules, it is not necessary to plead evidence, and it is not necessary to plead all the facts that serve as a basis for the claim. Bogosian v. Gulf Oil Corp., 562 F.2d 434, 446 (3d Cir. 1977). However, “[a]lthough the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not require a claimant to set forth an intricately detailed description of the asserted basis for relief, they do require that the pleadings give defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Baldwin Cnty. Welcome Ctr. v. Brown, 466 U.S. 147, 149-50 n.3 (1984) (quotation and citation omitted).

         Summary judgment is appropriate where the Court is satisfied that the materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations, admissions, or interrogatory answers, demonstrate that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 330 (1986); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).

         C. ...


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