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Callegari v. Blendtec, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Utah

November 6, 2018

ALEJANDRO CALLEGARI, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
BLENDTEC, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          Dee Benson United States District Judge

         Before the court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rules 9(b) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Dkt. No. 17.) The Motion has been fully briefed by the parties, and the court has considered the facts and arguments set forth in those filings. Pursuant to civil rule 7-1(f) of the United States District Court for the District of Utah Rules of Practice, the Court elects to determine the motion on the basis of the written memoranda and finds that oral argument would not be helpful or necessary. DUCivR 7-1(f).

         FACTS

         The court, as it must, accepts all well-pleaded factual allegations in the Complaint as true for purposes of Defendant's motion. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 622, 678 (2009).

         Defendant Blendtec, Inc. (“Blendtec”) sells a series of blenders, which it markets under its Blendtec trademark. (Complaint, Dkt. No. 2, ¶ 2.) On its website, marketing materials, and product packaging, Blendtec makes representations about the “horsepower”-or “HP”-of its blenders. (Id. ¶¶ 3-4.) Blendtec claims the horsepower of each blender falls between 3.0 and 3.8 HP. (Id. ¶ 3.)

         Prior to filing the Complaint, Plaintiff retained electrical and mechanical engineers to conduct power tests on Blendtec's blenders in their laboratories. (Id. ¶ 22.) None of the blenders tested by Plaintiff's consultants exceeded more than 25% of the power output claimed by Blendtec. (Id. ¶ 23.)

         The named Plaintiff, Mr. Callegari, purchased a “Blendtec Classic 475 120v Blender” “online” in July of 2017. (Id. ¶ 10.) Mr. Callegari relied on Blendtec's horsepower representations when making the purchase. (Id.) Upon using the blender, Mr. Callegari believed, based on his observations, that the blender was under-powered as compared to the horsepower claims made by Blendtec. (Id.) Had Mr. Callegari known that the blender was not as powerful as advertised, he would not have purchased it, or would not have paid as much for it as he did. (Id.)

         Plaintiff brought this suit on behalf of himself and similarly-situated purchasers of Blendtec blenders. (Id. ¶ 1.) In his first cause of action, Plaintiff alleged that Blendtec misrepresented the “performance characteristics”, “standard”, and “grade” of its blenders, in violation of the Utah Consumer Sales Practices Act (“UCSPA”). (Id. ¶¶ 38-47.) In his second cause of action, Plaintiff alleged that Blendtec's horsepower representations were express warranties, which Blendtec breached pursuant to U.C.A. §§ 70A-2-313 and 70A-2A-210. (Id. ¶¶ 48-53.) In his third cause of action, Plaintiff alleged that Blendtec's blenders did not conform to the representations on their packaging, thus breaching the implied warranty of merchantability pursuant to U.C.A. §§ 70A-2-314 and 70A-2A-212. (Id. ¶¶ 54-61.) In his fourth cause of action, Plaintiff alleged a violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2301 et seq., premised on Blendtec's breach of express written warranties. (Id. ¶¶ 62-68.) In his fifth and sixth causes of action, Plaintiff alleged a breach of express and implied warranty, presumably pursuant to common law principles. (Id. ¶¶ 69-76.)

         DISCUSSION

         “The court's function on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is not to weigh potential evidence that the parties might present at trial, but to assess whether the plaintiff's complaint alone is legally sufficient to state a claim for which relief may be granted.” Dubbs v. Head Start, Inc., 336 F.3d 1194, 1201 (10th Cir. 2003) (citations and quotation marks omitted). Under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must accept all well-pleaded allegations in the Amended Complaint as true and view those allegations in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Stidham v. Peace Officer Standards Training, 265 F.3d 1144, 1149 (10th Cir. 2001) (quoting Sutton v. Utah Sch. for the Deaf & Blind, 173 F.3d 1226, 1236 (10th Cir. 1999)).

         The Court must limit its consideration to the four corners of the Complaint, and any documents attached thereto, and any external documents that are referenced in the Complaint and whose accuracy is not in dispute. Oxendine v. Kaplan, 241 F.3d 1272, 1275 (10th Cir. 2001); Jacobsen v. Deseret Book Co., 287 F.3d 936, 941 (10th Cir. 2002). “To survive a motion to dismiss, 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) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Plausibility, in the context of a motion to dismiss, constitutes facts which allow “the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id.

         In most civil actions, a complaint need only contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). However, where a UCSPA claim “arises out of allegations of deception, false misrepresentations and omissions, ” it is subject to the heightened pleading requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b). See Jackson v. Philip Morris Inc., 46 F.Supp.2d 1217, 1222 (D. Utah 1998). Rule 9(b) requires that “[i]n alleging fraud or mistake, a party must state with particularity the circumstances constituting fraud or mistake.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 9(b). “At a minimum, Rule 9(b) requires that a plaintiff set forth the ‘who, what, when, where and how' of the alleged fraud, and must set forth the time, place, and contents of the false representation, the identity of the party making the false statements and the consequences thereof.” Wood v. World Wide Ass'n of Specialty Programs and Schools, Inc., 2007 WL 1295994, at *1 (D. Utah April 30, 2007).

         First Cause of Action: Violation of UCSPA

         Defendant first seeks to dismiss Plaintiff's claim for damages under the UCSPA, arguing that the claim does not meet the statutory requirements for pleading a class action for damages under the statute and that Plaintiff has failed to meet the heightened ...


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