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Coffey v. WCW & Air, Inc.

United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Pensacola Division

August 30, 2018, Decided; August 30, 2018, Filed

Case No. 3:17-cv-90-MCR-CJK

Opinion

ORDER

Plaintiffs Jonathan and Sydney Coffey (the "Coffeys") and Valerie Van *** filed this putative class action against Defendants WCW & Air, Inc. d/b/a World Class Water ("World Class Water"), Acquion, Inc. d/b/a Rainsoft ("Acquion"), and Home Depot, U.S.A. Inc. ("Home Depot") for violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act ("FDUTPA"), unjust enrichment, and civil conspiracy. They [*2]  allege that Defendants sold them water treatment systems after creating the false impression that their home water supply was unsafe to drink. Defendants each filed a motion to dismiss, see ECF Nos. 33, 34, 35, on which the parties requested oral argument, see ECF No. 38. The Court concludes, without the need for a hearing, that Defendants' motions to dismiss should be denied.

I. Background

The First Amended Complaint, and the documents the Court may consider on this motion,1 contains the following allegations. Acquion is a Delaware corporation that manufactures and markets residential water treatment systems. World Class Water, a Georgia corporation, and Home Depot, a Delaware corporation, promote and sell water treatment products and services. Van *** and the Coffeys are Florida consumers who signed purchase agreements for an Acquion water treatment system on February 18, 2014 (Van ***) and June 18, 2016 (the Coffeys), respectively. Van *** "purchased" the water treatment system by paying out of pocket while the Coffeys have "agreed to purchase" the system but have yet to pay off the debt owed to Defendants. Plaintiffs filed this action on behalf of themselves and other Florida consumers [*3]  who "purchased" or "agreed to purchase" an Acquion water treatment system based on the following allegations, common to them and others in their proposed class.

World Class Water and/or Home Depot employees approach consumers in Home Depot stores, requesting the consumers' contact information in exchange for free Home Depot gift cards or other inducements. Using this information, a salesperson, employed by either World Class Water or another Aquion dealer, contacts the consumers to schedule a free, in-home test of the quality of their tap water. Thereafter, a salesman for World Class Water or another Acquion dealer,2 using materials and instructions approved by Aquion, conducts the in-home test. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants know, but do not disclose, that the water quality test is only capable of detecting the presence of minerals contained in any municipality's tap water — and cannot detect contaminants or show that water is safe for consumption. Based on the test results, which invariably show the water to be "contaminated" by these minerals, consumers purchase or agree to purchase Aquion residential water treatment systems. Because these systems cost thousands of [*4]  dollars — even though at least one comparable system costs less than $200 — consumers who cannot afford a system out of pocket are offered Home Depot credit cards to finance their purchase.3 See ECF No. 1-1 at 36. In at least some cases, such as the Coffeys', Home Depot also orders and arranges for the installation of the water treatment system. In short, Plaintiffs allege that the water quality test is a scam, created solely to sow fear and sell products and services.

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2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148122 *; 2018 WL 4154256

JONATHAN COFFEY et. al, Plaintiffs, v. WCW & AIR, INC. et. al, Defendants.

CORE TERMS

water treatment, Plaintiffs', unjust enrichment, allegations, consumers, deceptive, argues, motion to dismiss, circumstances, Defendants', disclose, actual damage, water quality, damages, direct benefit, misrepresentation, Seller, courts, representations, parties, civil conspiracy, water supply, omission, treatment system, installation, Developers, documents, detected, Buyers, cases