Matos v. Nextran, Inc.

No. 2008-65, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71041 (D.V.I. Aug. 10, 2009)

 

RULE:

While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds’ of his ‘entitlement to relief’ requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of a cause of action's elements will not do.

FACTS:

On May 2, 2006, Eduardo Matos was driving a truck carrying concrete in an area known as Mahogany Run on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.  He suffered injuries when the truck rolled over. The truck was allegedly manufactured and sold by Nextran and defendant Mack Truck Sales of South Florida (“Mack Truck”). Mr. Matos and his wife, Santa Matos (together, the “Plaintiffs”), subsequently commenced this action against Nextran and Mack Truck (together, the “Defendants”), asserting six causes of action: (1) negligence; (2) breach of the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose; (3) strict liability; (4) breach of the warranty of merchantability; (5) loss of consortium; and (6) punitive damages. Nextran thereafter made a limited appearance for the sole purpose of moving to dismiss this matter for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2). That motion was denied. Nextran now moves to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)

ISSUE:

Should the case be dismissed based on Rule 12(b)(6)?

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

Missing from either Count Two or Count Four is either an explicit or even oblique allegation that the express affirmation of fact that the Defendants made to Mr. Matos's employer “was part of the basis of the [parties'] bargain.” Such an allegation is an essential element of a breach of an express warranty claim. To state a claim for breach of the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, a plaintiff must allege that “(1) the seller had reason to know the particular purpose for which the buyer required the goods, (2) the seller had reason to know the buyer was relying on the seller's skill or judgment to furnish appropriate goods, and (3) the buyer in fact relied upon the seller's skill or judgment.

Thus, based on the allegations in Counts Two and Four, as outlined above, the Court finds that the Plaintiffs have sufficiently stated a claim for breach of the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.  Accordingly, the motion to dismiss will be denied with respect to those claims in Counts Two and Four.

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