United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
VICTOR BONDI, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff
L.L. BEAN, INC., Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
W. Gettleman United States District Judge
Victor Bondi, on behalf of himself and all others similarly
situated, has brought a five count putative class action
complaint against defendant L.L. Bean, Inc. alleging: (1)
violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 U.S.C. §
2301 et seq. (“MMWA”); (2) breach of express
warranty; (3) violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act
(“ICFA”), 815 ILCS 505/2; (4) unjust enrichment;
and (5) declaratory relief. Plaintiff seeks to represent a
national class of all persons or entities who or that
purchased goods from defendant prior to February 9, 2018, and
an Illinois subclass consisting of all persons or entities
who or that reside in Illinois and purchased goods from
defendant prior to February 9, 2018. Defendant has moved to
dismiss the complaint under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) for lack of
standing, or in the alternative under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)
for failure to state a claim. For the reasons described
below, defendant's motion is granted.
claims that he is a loyal customer of defendant. According to
the complaint defendant has built a brand on the basis of its
“century-old warranty, ” which it touts as a
“100% Satisfaction Guarantee” (the “old
warranty”). Plaintiff claims to have purchased a pair
of boots from defendant in 2017. He asserts that the warranty
formed the basis of the bargain for all of his purchases.
February 9, 2018, defendant issued a statement to its
customers. Three days later plaintiff filed the instant
action alleging that this statement indicates that the old
warranty would be “rescinded immediately and replaced
with a limited one-year warranty subject to numerous
exceptions and qualifications.” The complaint further
alleges that “a new warranty had been made that would
limit returns to one year after the date of purchase, and
proof of purchase would be required.” Plaintiff claims
that he and class members have been harmed by losing the
benefit of their bargain because of “L.L. Bean's
unilateral refusal to honor its warranty . . ..”
Plaintiff seeks damages and an order that defendant honor the
warranty. He also seeks declaratory relief and corrective
has moved to dismiss the complaint under Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(1), arguing that plaintiff lacks standing to bring his
claims. Under Rule 12(b)(1), a court must dismiss any action
for which it lacks subject matter jurisdiction. Like a motion
to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the court accepts all
well-pleaded factual allegations as true and construes all
reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor. Scanlan
v. Eisenberg, 669 F.3d 838, 841 (7th Cir. 2012).
Plaintiff, however, bears the burden of establishing that the
elements necessary for jurisdiction, including standing, have
been met. Id. at 841-42. In ruling on a Rule
12(b)(1) motion, the court may look beyond the allegations of
the complaint and consider whatever evidence has been
submitted on the issue of jurisdiction. Mutter v.
Madigan, 2014 WL 562017, *2 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 13, 2014).
III of the Constitution limits federal jurisdiction to
certain cases and controversies. Lujan v. Defenders of
Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992). Article III standing
has three elements: (1) the plaintiff must have suffered an
injury in fact, an invasion of a legally protected interest
that is (a) concrete and particularized, and (b) actual or
imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical; (2) the injury
must be fairly traceable to the challenged action of the
defendant; and (3) it must be redressable by a favorable
decision. Id. at 560-61.
argues that plaintiff has failed to establish that he has
suffered a concrete and particularized injury because he has
not alleged that he has tried to return any product that he
purchased from defendant prior to February 9, 2018, let alone
alleging that those efforts have been denied. Indeed,
plaintiff has not alleged that he was or is dissatisfied with
any product he purchased from defendant.
counters that part of what he and the other putative class
members paid for was the “100% Satisfaction Guarantee,
” and that he was injured when on February 9, 2018,
defendant unilaterally repudiated that guarantee depriving
plaintiff of the premium he paid for it. Relying on Muir
v. Playtex Products, LLC, 983 F.Supp.2d 980, 986 (N.D.
Ill. 2013), plaintiff argues that defendant's repudiation
caused his injury, and that the injury may be redressed by
money damages. In Muir, however, the plaintiff had
alleged that but for the defendant's allegedly fraudulent
statements he would not have purchased the product in
question. Plaintiff makes no such allegation in the instant
case - he has not alleged that he would not have purchased
his boots had they come with a different warranty.
Nevertheless, plaintiff argues that defendant's wrongful
repudiation of the old warranty deprived him of a chance at a
future benefit. He cites to Weigel v. Stork Craft
Manufacturing, Inc., 2010 WL 3894386 (N.D. Ill. June 10,
2010), arguing that he can seek damages for the diminished
value of the product he purchased. In Weigel,
however, the plaintiff was allowed to seek damages because
the product purchased, a crib, had been declared unsafe and
consumers were told not to use it In the instant case,
plaintiff is not alleging that his boots have a diminished
value, or are not usable as a result of the alleged change in
warranty. Therefore, he has not alleged that he personally
has been injured in any way. Therefore, any injury that he
may suffer, if at some point in the future he becomes
dissatisfied with his boots, is purely speculative,
conjectural, and hypothetical, and insufficient to establish
Article III standing.
even if plaintiff could establish standing, the complaint
also fails to state a claim. Because plaintiff has not
alleged that he is dissatisfied with is boots or that he
tried to exercise the old warranty and was rejected, his
entire case rests on his claim that the February 9, 2018,
statement was an anticipatory repudiation of the warranty. As
noted, the complaint describes defendant's statement as
claiming that the old warranty was “rescinded
immediately and replaced with a limited one- year warranty
subject to numerous exceptions and qualifications, ”
and that “[o]n February 9, 2018, defendant announced
that it would refuse to honor the warranty.” The
complaint does not, however, actually quote the announcement.
The actual language of the “Letter to Our Customers,
” which defendant has provided and with which the
plaintiff agrees the court may consider, provides:
Since 1912, our mission has been to sell high-quality
products that inspire and enable people to enjoy the
outdoors. Our commitment to customer service has earned us
your trust and respect, as has our guarantee, which ensures
that we stand behind everything we sell.
Increasingly, a small, but growing number of customers has
been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original
intent. Some view it as a lifetime product replacement
program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used
over many years. Others seek refunds for products that have
been purchased through third parties, such as at yard sales.
Based on these experiences, we have updated our policy.
Customers will have one year after purchasing an item to
return it, accompanied by proof of purchase. After one year,
we will work with our customers to reach a ...