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Carol Edwards v. Regis Corp.

February 25, 2011

CAROL EDWARDS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
REGIS CORP., A FOREIGN CORPORATION, MYCULL FIXTURES, INC., A FOREIGN CORPORATION, AND TAKARA BELMONT USA, INC., A FOREIGN CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael M. Mihm United States District Judge

Friday, 25 February, 2011 03:07:41 PM

Clerk, U.S. District Court,

ORDER

Now before the Court is Defendant Takara Belmont USA, Inc.'s ("Takara") Motion to Dismiss in Lieu of Answer Pursuant to Federal Rule 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion [#23] is GRANTED IN PART and converted to a Motion for Summary Judgment in part.

JURISDICTION

The Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, as the parties are of diverse citizenship and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.00.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are taken from the First Amended Complaint and are presumed to be true for purposes of resolving a motion to dismiss. On June 7, 2008, Plaintiff Carol Edwards ("Edwards") went to the Wal-Mart located at 8915 North Allen Road, Peoria, Illinois ("Allen Road Wal-Mart"). In the Allen Road Wal-Mart, Defendant Regis Corp. owns and maintains a beauty salon called SmartStyle. Edwards went to the Allen Road Wal-Mart and proceeded to enter the SmartStyle beauty salon. Within the SmartStyle beauty salon, there were salon chairs manufactured by Defendant Takara. Those salon chairs were distributed to SmartStyle by Defendant Mycull Fixtures, Inc. ("Mycull"). Edwards then proceeded to sit down in one of the salon chairs which then physically failed, allegedly causing her to fall backwards, hit her head, and suffer injuries.

On January 15, 2010, Edwards filed a Complaint against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Regis Corp. Wal-Mart was dismissed as a party from the suit on April 27, 2010. On August 2, 2010, Edwards filed a Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint to Add New Parties, specifically Defendants Takara and Mycull. Within her Motion, Edwards cited the Illinois statute of repose, 735 ILCS 5/13-213(d), which she said extended the period of limitations to bring a products liability action to May 28, 2012. She also stated that the Motion was timely under the Court's March 31, 2010, order which set the schedule in this case. Magistrate Judge John A. Gorman entered a text order granting Edwards' Motion, explaining that it was timely under the March 31, 2010, schedule approved by the Court at the Rule 16 conference. Edwards' First Amended Complaint, naming Defendants Takara and Mycull, was filed on August 3, 2010. She brought four counts against Defendant Takara: one for negligence, one for breach of the implied warranty of merchantability, one for breach of the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, and one for strict liability. Defendant Takara filed the instant 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss and Edwards filed her Response. This Order follows.

DISCUSSION

A complaint must provide a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2). That statement must be sufficient to provide the defendant with "fair notice" of the claim and its basis. Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). This means that (1) the complaint must describe the claim in sufficient detail to give the defendant "fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests" and (2) its allegations must plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a "speculative level." EEOC v. Concentra Health Services, Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007). Conclusory allegations are "not entitled to be assumed true." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1951 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)).

Defendant Takara argues that Edwards' counts for negligence and strict products liability are barred by the applicable Illinois statute of limitations. 735 ILCS 5/13-202 provides a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury actions, including those brought under a negligence theory. 735 ILL. COMP. STAT. 5/13-202 (2011). For actions brought under a strict products liability theory, 735 ILCS 5/13-213(d) provides in relevant part:

Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) and paragraph (2) of subsection (c) if the injury complained of occurs within any of the periods provided by subsection (b) and paragraph (2) of subsection (c), the plaintiff may bring an action within 2 years after the date on which the claimant knew, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have known, of the existence of the personal injury, death or property damage, but in no event shall such action be brought more than 8 years after the date on which such personal injury, death or property damage occurred . . . . 735 ILL. COMP. STAT. 5/13-213(d) (2011). Takara explains that because the incident Edwards complains of involving the beauty salon chair occurred on June 7, 2008, her negligence and strict products liability claims are untimely in light of 5/13-202 and 5/13-213(d). Defendant Takara further argues that Edwards' claims for breach of implied warranty of merchantability and implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose are also untimely under Illinois' statute of limitations for contracts for sale.

Edwards counters by arguing that the governing statute of repose for products liability actions under Illinois law articulates a two-year discovery rule which therefore allows her to bring an action within two years of her learning of the Defendant and its wrongful conduct that caused the personal injury. See 735 ...


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