United States District Court, D. New Jersey
THOMAS P. GORCZYNSKI, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
ELECTROLUX HOME PRODUCTS, INC., SUPER K CORPORATION d/b/a ABC DISCOUNT APPLIANCES, MIDEA AMERICA CORP., MIDEA MICROWAVE AND ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES MANUFACTURING CO., LTD., AND ABC CORPS. 1-10, Defendants.
MONGELUZZI, BARRETT & BENDESKY, P.C. By: Simon B. Paris,
Esq.; Patrick Howard, Esq.; Charles J. Kochner, Esq. Counsel
for Plaintiff Thomas P. Gorczynski
K&L GATES LLP By: Patrick J. Perrone, Esq.; Loly G. Tor,
Esq.; Michael S. Nelson, Esq. Counsel for Defendant
Electrolux Home Products, Inc.
GREENBERG HELLER & REIDY, LLP By: Gerhard P. Dietrich,
Esq.; Gabrielle A. Giombetti, Esq. 1835 Market Street, Suite
650 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103 Counsel for Defendant
Midea America Corp.
OPINION [DKT. NOS. 35, 47]
RENÉE MARIE BUMB, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE:
Thomas P. Gorczynski (“Plaintiff”) brings this
putative class action, alleging that Defendants Electrolux
Home Products, Inc. (“Electrolux”) and Midea
America Corp. (“Midea USA”) knowingly
manufactured, marketed, and sold microwaves with defective
handles in violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act
(“CFA”), N.J.S.A. § 56:8-2. Plaintiff also
claims that Defendant Electrolux violated the Magnuson-Moss
Consumer Products Warranties Act (“MMWA”), 15
U.S.C. § 2301, et seq., and breached the
implied warranty of merchantability.
Electrolux [Dkt. No. 35] and Midea USA [Dkt. No. 47] now move
to dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint [Dkt. No. 26] on
various bases. Defendants' primary arguments for
dismissal are that Plaintiff's claims are subsumed by the
New Jersey Products Liability Act (“PLA”),
N.J.S.A. 2A:58C-1, et seq., and that Plaintiff has failed to
sufficiently plead his CFA claim. Electrolux also sets forth
arguments for dismissal of the breach of implied warranty and
MMWA claims. For the reasons set forth herein, both Motions
to Dismiss will be DENIED, without
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
purported class action, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants
designed, manufactured, and marketed over-the-range
stainless-steel microwaves (the “Microwaves”)
with defective stainless-steel handles that become
excessively hot if an individual is cooking on a stovetop
below (the “Handle Defect”). Plaintiff alleges
that in May 2015, he purchased a Frigidaire Gallery
Over-the-Range Microwave, which is a model that suffers from
the Handle Defect. See Am. Compl., at ¶ 12.
contends that the Microwaves in question, including his own,
were manufactured by Midea Microwave China (“Midea
China”) and distributed by Electrolux in the United
States. As alleged in the Amended Complaint, Midea USA is
“the North American headquarters of Midea, the
world's leading manufacturer of air conditioners and home
appliances.” See id. at ¶ 26. Meanwhile,
Electrolux “distributes products under a variety of
brand names, including Electrolux, Electrolux ICON,
Frigidaire Professional, Frigidaire Gallery, Frigidaire,
Eureka, Kelvinator, Sanitaire, Tappan, and
White-Westinghouse.” See Id. at ¶ 17.
alleges that the Handle Defect causes the Microwaves'
handles to reach temperatures as high as 200̊ Fahrenheit
when a cooktop below is operating at full power. See
Am. Compl., at ¶ 6. Because the high temperature of the
handle can make it unsafe for an individual to open the
Microwave door, Plaintiff claims that the Handle Defect
renders the Microwave unreasonably dangerous and unfit for
its intended purpose. See id. at ¶ 8.
to Plaintiff, Midea China became aware of the Handle Defect
during testing in 2010, prior to distributing the Microwaves
in the United States. See Am. Compl., at ¶ 6.
Plaintiff further alleges that these test results were
accessible to Electrolux as early as 2010, and customers
complained about the Handle Defect as early as 2013, yet
Electrolux continued to sell the Microwaves throughout the
United States, with over 70, 000 sales in New Jersey.
Id. Plaintiff contends that, despite full knowledge
of the Handle Defect, Defendants have neither rectified the
issue (through repair or replacement of the handle) nor
warned consumers about the existence of the Handle Defect.
filed the initial complaint [Dkt. No. 1-1], individually and
on behalf of all others similarly situated, in the New Jersey
Superior Court, Camden County, in May 2018. Electrolux
removed the case to this Court on June 15, 2018. Following a
pre-motion letter filed by Electrolux, expressing an intent
to file a motion to dismiss, Plaintiff filed the Amended
Complaint on August 6, 2018. Now, Defendants move to dismiss
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint under Fed R. Civ. P.
withstand a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), “a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)(quoting
Bell Atlantic 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.” Id. at 662.
“[A]n unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation” does not suffice to survive a motion to
dismiss. Id. at 678. “[A] plaintiff's
obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his
‘entitle[ment] to ...