United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT, DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on the motion to dismiss
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) filed by
defendant Hyundai Mobis Co., Ltd. (“Hyundai
Mobis”) (Doc. 161). Hyundai Mobis argues that plaintiff
Janet Schwaninger has sued it beyond the statute of
limitations and that she has failed to state a claim against
it. Schwaninger has responded to the motion (Doc. 165), and
Hyundai Mobis has replied to that response (Doc. 168).
brings this suit in her capacity as administrator of the
estate of Elizabeth Schaaf, her deceased granddaughter.
Schaaf died as the result of injuries she suffered in a
rollover traffic accident on August 6, 2013, on Interstate 70
in Colorado. At the time of the accident, Schaaf was a
passenger in the front seat of a 2007 Hyundai Accent.
alleges that Hyundai Mobis, a South Korean corporation,
and/or related Hyundai subsidiaries “designed, tested,
engineered, approved, manufactured, assembled, supplied,
marketed, distributed, and sold front passenger side airbag
systems and their components for incorporation into Hyundai
Accent vehicles.” First Am. Compl. ¶¶ 42, 43.
She believes the airbags were defective and caused
Schaaf's injuries and subsequent death. First Am. Compl.
¶¶ 141-170. Schwaninger sues Hyundai Mobis for
strict products liability (Count VII) and negligence (Count
Mobis believes Schwaninger filed this suit too late because
she did not name Hyundai Mobis as a defendant until the First
Amended Complaint, which she filed on August 10, 2015, after
the expiration of the two-year statute of limitations period.
Schwaninger contends her late complaint relates back to the
original Complaint, filed August 4, 2015, so is timely.
Mobis also argues that Schwaninger has failed to plead
sufficient facts to state a claim against it. Schwaninger
believes her factual pleading is sufficient.
Standard For Dismissal
reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court
accepts as true all allegations in the complaint.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). To avoid dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure
to state a claim, a complaint must contain a “short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). This
requirement is satisfied if the complaint (1) describes 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) plausibly suggests that the plaintiff has a right to
relief above a speculative level. Bell Atl., 550
U.S. at 555; see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009); EEOC v. Concentra Health Servs., 496
F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007). “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atl.,
550 U.S. at 556). Hyundai Mobis challenges the sufficiency of
Schwaninger's factual pleading under this standard.
fairly lenient pleading standard, however, will not prevent
dismissal of a complaint that pleads too much. A case can be
dismissed because a complaint pleads facts establishing that
the defendant is entitled to prevail. Bennett v.
Schmidt, 153 F.3d 516, 519 (7th Cir. 1998); Soo Line
R.R. v. St. Louis S.W. Ry. Co., 125 F.3d 481, 483 (7th
Cir. 1997); see Hecker v. Deere & Co., 556 F.3d
575, 588 (7th Cir. 2009) (dismissal appropriate when party
pleads facts establishing defense to his claim). This is what
Hyundai Mobis claims Schwaninger has done with respect to the
statute of limitations.
Court notes, as a preliminary matter, that both parties have
attached to their filings matters outside the pleadings. When
such material is presented in connection with a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss, the Court may treat the motion to dismiss
as a motion for summary judgment or it may exclude the
additional material from consideration. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 12(d). In this case, the Court declines to consider
the additional materials and will consider this motion as it
was captioned, under Rule 12(b)(6), without consideration of
the additional materials.
Statute of Limitations
Mobis argues that Schwaninger has pled facts showing that her
claim against it was brought beyond the statute of
limitations and that it does not relate back to the timely
filing of the original complaint. Schwaninger concedes that
her original, timely filed complaint does not name Hyundai
Mobis as a defendant, but argues that her First Amended
Complaint, which names Hyundai Mobis, relates back to her
parties agree that Illinois law provides the appropriate
limitations period, two years from the time of Schaaf's
injury and death on August 6, 2013. See 740 ILCS
180/2 (wrongful death); 735 ILCS 5/13-202 (personal injury);
735 ILCS 5/13-209(a) (survival action). They also agree that
Schwaninger's Complaint, which was filed on August 4,
2015, was timely. The Complaint named as defendants, among
others, Hyundai Motor Company, Hyundai Motor America, Hyundai
America Technical Center, Inc., Hyundai Corporation (USA),
and Hyundai Eng America, Inc. as the “Hyundai
Defendants.” The Complaint alleges the Hyundai
Defendants were liable because they “designed, tested,
engineered, approved, manufactured, assembled, supplied,
marketed, distributed, and sold the Hyundai Accent and its
components, ” Compl. ¶ 10, including the car in
which Schaaf was riding at the time of the accident. One of
the aspects of the Accent that was alleged to be defective
was the passenger side airbag system. Compl. ¶ 35(g).
The Complaint also specifically named as defendants Key
Safety Systems, Inc. and Key Automotive of Florida, Inc. (the
“Key Defendants”) as the “Airbag
Defendants, ” and sought to hold them liable because
they “designed, tested, engineered, approved,
manufactured, assembled, supplied, marketed, distributed, and
sold front passenger side airbag systems and ...