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Castle v. Thor Motor Coach, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Utah

January 31, 2019

CHRISTOPHER CASTLE and JAYME CASTLE, husband and wife, Plaintiffs,
v.
THOR MOTOR COACH, INC., a Delaware corporation; BLAINE JENSEN RV CENTERS, LLC, a Minnesota limited liability company dba CAMPING WORLD RV SALES - ST. GEORGE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' [6] AND [7] MOTIONS TO DISMISS

          David Nuffer District Court Judge

         Civil District Judge David Nuffer Magistrate Judge Dustin B. Pead Defendants Thor Motor Coach (“Thor”) and Blaine Jensen RV Centers, LLC dba Camping World RV Sales St. George (“Camping World”) (collectively referred to as “Defendants”), move to dismiss[1] plaintiffs' Christopher and Jayme Castle (collectively referred to as “Plaintiffs”) Complaint[2] for failure to state a clam for relief. Plaintiffs opposed both motions[3] and Defendants replied in support.[4]

         For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiffs' Complaint fails to state a claim and the Defendants' motions to dismiss are GRANTED.

         Contents

          Standand of Review on Motions to Dismiss ................................................................................... 2

         Background ..................................................................................................................................... 3

         Discussion ....................................................................................................................................... 5

         Order ........................................................................................................................................... 13

         STANDARD OF REVIEW ON MOTION TO DISMISS

         Defendants move, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to dismiss all causes of action in Plaintiffs' Complaint.[5] Defendants are entitled to dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) when the Complaint, standing alone, is legally insufficient to state a claim for which relief may be granted.[6] When considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the thrust of all well-pleaded facts in the Complaint is presumed, but conclusory allegations need not be considered.[7] Nor are the Complaint's legal conclusions and opinions accepted, even if they are couched as facts.[8] The determination of the plausibility of plaintiffs' claims will be a “context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.”[9]

         Generally, where materials outside the pleadings are presented, either the Rule 12 motion must be converted to a Rule 56 motion for summary judgment, or those matters presented outside the pleadings must be excluded.[10] However, “a defendant may submit an indisputably authentic copy to the Court to be considered if it is incorporated by reference in the Complaint, if the Court may take judicial notice of it, or if it is referenced in the Complaint and central to the claims.”[11] Accordingly, the facts set forth in the following background summary are drawn from Plaintiffs' Complaint and the documents attached to or directly referred to in that Complaint and are taken as true only for purposes of the motion to dismiss.

         BACKGROUND

         On November 22, 2016, Plaintiffs purchased a new 2017 Compass Class C motorhome from Camping World.[12] The motorhome was manufactured by Thor.[13] Plaintiffs paid $103, 621.89 for the motorhome, including a Good Sam Extended Service Plan.[14]

         When Plaintiffs purchased the motorhome, Plaintiff Christopher Castle signed a Registration and Acknowledgement of Receipt of Warranty and Product Information (the “Registration and Acknowledgment”).[15]

         The registration document states, in pertinent part:

Before I purchased this vehicle, I received, read and agreed to the terms and conditions of Thor Motor Coach's 1-page Limited Warranty, published within its Owner's Manual, and the Chassis Limited Warranty. I understand and agree that any legal action for breach of express or for breach of implied warranties that may arise by operation of law must be filed within ninety (90) days of the expiration of the applicable warranty coverage period as defined within the Limited Warranty.[16]

         The Thor Limited Warranty contains a section entitled “COVERAGE ENDS.”[17] This section states:

COVERAGE ENDS: 12 months after the first retail owner first takes delivery of the motorhome from an authorized dealership OR after the odometer reaches 15, 000 miles, whichever occurs first, ANY ACTION FOR BREACH OF THIS WARRANTY OR ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES MUST BE COMMENCED NOT MORE THAN 15 MONTHS AFTER YOU FIRST TAKE DELIVERY OF YOUR MOTORHOME. [18]

         As part of the purchase of the motorhome, both Plaintiffs signed a sales contract[19] with Camping World that stated:

SELLER MAKES NO WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, WITH RESPECT TO THE MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, OR OTHERWISE CONCERNING THE VEHICLE, PARTS OR ACCESSORIES DESCRIBED HEREIN. UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED BY THE SELLER, IN WRITING, ANY WARRANTY IS LIMITED TO THE MANUFACTURER'S WARRANTY, IF ANY, AS EXPLAINED AND CONDITIONED BY PARAGRAPH 4 ON THE REVERSE SIDE HEREOF.[20]

         On the reverse page of this document, Paragraph 4 further states that the manufacturer's new vehicle warranty:

SHALL BE EXPRESSLY IN LIEU OF ANY OTHER WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, CONCERNING SUCH VEHICLE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY IMPLIED WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY OR OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, AND THE REMEDY SET FORTH IN SUCH WARRANTY SHALL BE THE ONLY REMEDIES AVAILABLE TO ANYONE WITH RESPECT TO SUCH NEW MOTOR VEHICLE OR MOTOR VEHICLE CHASSIS.[21]

         Shortly after purchase, Plaintiffs began to detect various defects in the motorhome forcing plaintiffs to seek service and repairs.[22] The motorhome was in the shop at Camping World for the majority of time after it was purchased without any satisfactory resolution of the defects as determined by plaintiffs.[23]

         Ultimately, Plaintiffs initiated this litigation, filing a Complaint on May 4, 2018, alleging seven (7) causes of action against Thor and Camping World.

         DISCUSSION

         Plaintiffs allege seven (7) causes of action against both Defendants in their Complaint. The first cause of action[24] set out in the Complaint is a claim against both defendants for violations of the Utah Consumer Sales Practices Act[25] (the “Act”). The Act, in order to trigger liability by a supplier in connection with a consumer transaction, requires that the supplier commit a deceptive act or practice “knowingly or intentionally.”[26]

         However, the allegations in the Complaint do not provide the factual basis for any such inference, and the Complaint fails to state the necessary statutory elements to support a claim under the Act.[27] The cause of action under the Utah Consumer Practices Act against both defendants is therefore dismissed with prejudice.

         Plaintiffs' six (6) remaining claims against Defendants are based on warranty and contract claims, both under state law and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.[28] Among the warranty claims, Plaintiffs also brought a breach of the implied warranty that repairs would be done in a good and workmanlike manner.[29]

         As to Camping World, the sales contract that Plaintiffs executed with Camping World made it clear that Camping World disclaimed warranties and that any warranty was limited to the manufacturer's warranty. Plaintiffs do not point to anything in the Complaint or any provisions in the incorporated or referenced documents that would provide an exception to this disclaimer. Therefore, all warranty and contract based claims against Camping World are dismissed with prejudice.

         Thor moves for dismissal of the express and implied warranty claims and breach of contract claim against it by asserting that plaintiffs had agreed to a 12-month limited warranty for the motorhome that provided any claims must be brought in the following 3 months after the end of the 12-month limited warranty.[30]

         It was undisputed from the Complaint and attached documents that Plaintiffs took possession of the motorhome and the Limited Warranty took effect on November 22, 2016. By its terms, the Limited Warranty expired on November 22, 2017. Plaintiffs therefore had 90 days-until March 23, 2018-to bring a lawsuit to enforce the Limited Warranty or any implied warranties against Thor. Plaintiffs did not file their Complaint until May 4, 2018[31], well past the deadline to file an action.

         It is important to note that Utah law allows parties to shorten statutes of limitations through contract.[32] Language limiting the statute of limitations appears in multiple locations in the documents provided to Plaintiffs concerning this transaction, and this language is clear and unambiguous and, therefore, enforceable under Utah law.

         Plaintiffs, however, assert[33] that equitable tolling should operate and seek application of the concealment version of Utah's equitable discovery rule as discussed by the Utah Supreme Court in Russell Packard Dev., Inc. v. Carson.[34] In that 2005 case, the Utah Supreme Court pointed out that the concealment version of Utah's discovery rule, which requires an evaluation of the reasonableness of the plaintiffs' conduct in light of a defendant's fraudulent or misleading conduct, had its genesis in ...


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