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Watson v. Coachmen Recreational Vehicle Co.

March 31, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, District Judge



This matter comes before the Court on defendant Coachmen Recreational Vehicle Company, LLC's ("Defendant" or "Coachmen") Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 8), with supporting Memorandum (Doc. 9), to which plaintiff Richard Watson ("Plaintiff" or "Watson") filed his opposing Response (Doc. 12). Defendant essentially makes three separate arguments as to why Plaintiff's Complaint should be dismissed in its entirety. Plaintiff originally filed his suit against Defendant in the Circuit Court of St. Clair County, Illinois, on June 9, 2005 (Doc. 2). Defendant removed Plaintiff's suit to federal court, based upon federal question jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1331, on July 29, 2005 (Doc. 1). However, Plaintiff did not move for a remand.

Plaintiff's Complaint against Defendant originally consisted of seven counts*fn1 (Doc. 2), stated as follows:

Count I Breach of WrittenWarranty (pursuant to the Magnuson- Moss Warranty Act ("MMWA"), 15 U.S.C. § 2301(6))

Count II Breach of Implied Warranty of Merchantability

Count III Breach of Implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose

Count IV Breach of Implied Warranty of Habitability and Workmanship

Count V Violation of 16 C.F.R. § 700.5

Count VI Violation of 16 C.F.R. § 701.3

Count VII Violation of 15 U.S.C. § 2303 and 16 C.F.R. § 702.3*fn2

Plaintiff attached two exhibits to his Complaint: Exhibit A is the Retail Installment Contract and Security Agreement between Plaintiff and U.S. Bank, stating the total sale price of the Motor Home as $204,848.20; Exhibit B is an undated letter sent by Plaintiff to Defendant, addressed to "Coachmen Recreational Vehicle Company, LLC, Attn: Legal Department" (Doc. 2, Exs. A & B).


Plaintiff is an individual and states that he is a resident of Illinois (Doc. 2, ¶ 1). Further, Plaintiff states that Defendant is a foreign corporation authorized to do business in the State of Arizona and manufacturers fully integrated motor homes (Id. at ¶ 2). On or about November 15, 2004, Plaintiff states that he purchased a 2004 Coachmen Cross County Motor Home (the "Motor Home"), manufactured by Defendant, for the total purchase price (partially financed) of $204,848.20 (Id. at ¶ 3 and Ex. A - Retail Installment Contract). Defendant asserts that Plaintiff actually purchased the Motor Home through Howard R.V. Super Center of St. Louis (which is not a party to Plaintiff's suit) (see Doc. 9, p. 3).

Plaintiff alleges that with his purchase of the Motor Home, Defendant provided a written warranty (the "Warranty"), which "represented itself and was represented by [Defendant's] authorized sales agents and advertisements as offering coverage on the entire Motor Home and all its parts, components and features, as well as other warranties fully outlined in Full Warrantor's*fn3 warranty documents" (Doc. 2, ¶ 4). Plaintiff continues to allege that Defendant intended the consumer to view the Motor Home as "warranted," which thereby induced Plaintiff's purchase (Id.). Upon Plaintiff's purchase of the Motor Home, Defendant allegedly provided Plaintiff with a complete disclosure of the terms of its Warranty in attempts to limit its obligations to repair or replace defects in the material or workmanship of the Motor Home along with other various exclusions (Id. at ¶ 6).

After taking possession of the Motor Home, Plaintiff alleges he shortly thereafter experienced various defects and non-conformities with the Motor Home that diminished its value and/or substantially impaired its use - such defects including but not limited to: "defective exterior trim, defective living room slide, defective windshield, defective interior trim, defective floor, defective paint, persistent stress cracks, defective leveling system" (Id. at ¶ 8). Plaintiff allegedly provided Defendant a "sufficient opportunity to repair the defects, non-conformities and conditions" found within the Motor Home and its components, pursuant to Defendant's issued Warranty, but Defendant failed to make the repairs (Id. at ¶ 9). Thus, Plaintiff alleges that the Warranty "failed of its essential purpose" (Id. at ¶ 10), and the Motor Home cannot now be used as intended by Plaintiff at the time of purchase, further diminishing its value and impairing its use (Id. at ¶ 12). However, Plaintiff states that he properly provided written notice via a letter to Defendant of the Motor Home's defects, Defendant's statutory and common law violations and Plaintiff's resultant demand for compensation on May 18, 2005 (Id. at ¶ 18 and Ex. B - Letter). Defendant allegedly refused to compensate Plaintiff (Id. at ¶ 19), thereby causing Plaintiff to bring forth the instant suit.



Defendant has filed its Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 8) pursuant to FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 12(b)(6), for failure to state a claim. When considering a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must determine whether the Plaintiff's Amended Complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).As part of its scrutiny, the Court must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of plaintiff. SeeSzumny v. Am. Gen. Fin., 246 F.3d 1065, 1067 (7th Cir. 2001)(applying this standard to a Rule 12(b)(6) motion). The purpose of a motion to dismiss is not to decide the merits of the challenged claims but to test the sufficiency of the complaint. Weiler v. Household Fin. Corp., 101 F.3d 519, 524 n.1 (7th Cir. 1996). A court will grant a motion to dismiss only if it is impossible for the plaintiff to prevail under any set of facts that could be proven consistent with the allegations. Forseth v. Village of Sussex, 199 F.3d 363, 368 (7th Cir. 2000).

In federal court, it is very difficult for a moving party to prevail on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. When filing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion in federal court, a party should be mindful of the fact that "[f]ederal complaints plead claims rather than facts." Kolupa v. Roselle Park Dist., 438 F.3d 713, 713 (7th Cir. 2006). FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 8(a) only requires a claim contain "a short and plain statement" stating the jurisdictional basis for bringing the claim in federal court, that the pleader is entitled to relief, and a demand for judgment for the relief sought. As the Seventh Circuit has recently reiterated, "[i]t is enough to name the plaintiff and the defendant, state the nature of the grievance, and give a few tidbits (such as the date) that will let the defendant investigate." Id. (citing Swierkiewica v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506 (2002); McDonald v. Household Int'l, Inc., 425 F.3d 424, 427-28 (7th Cir. 2005); Barholet v. ReishauerA.G. (Zürich), 953 F.2d 1073, 1077-78 (7th Cir. 1992)). Therefore, the requirement that a plaintiff state a prima facie case within the complaint is obviated in federal court.

The details the moving party usually seeks in a Rule 12(b)(6) motion should typically surface after the parties have engaged in the pre-trial discovery process, unless the district court should order the plaintiff to file a more definite statement, pursuant to FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 12(e). Id. Pleading specific facts is only a requirement in federal court when the claim falls within the narrow scope of FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 9(b) (claims regarding fraud or mistake). Id. at 715. Accordingly, when considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, ...

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