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Hardin v. Forest River, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

August 2, 2017

RYAN C. HARDIN AND ROBERT J. HARDIN
v.
FOREST RIVER, INC., SOUTHERN RV, LLC, AND BANK OF THE WEST

         SECTION: “H” (4)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          JANE TRICHE MILAZZO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Forest River, Inc. and Southern RV, LLC's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 7), which Bank of the West joins (Doc. 18). For the following reasons, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is DENIED

         BACKGROUND

         On October 9, 2014, Plaintiffs Ryan C. Hardin and Robert J. Hardin purchased a new 2014 Forest River Cardinal recreational vehicle from Defendant Southern RV. The RV was manufactured by Defendant Forest River. The sales contract was assigned to Defendant Bank of the West. Plaintiffs allege that, when delivered, the RV was defective, but the defects were unknown to them. Plaintiffs contend that the defects were discovered within the warranty periods and that the Defendants were notified of the defects. Plaintiffs further allege that, despite giving the Defendants the opportunity to repair the RV, Defendants failed to do so and the RV continues to exhibit defects, which substantially impaire the use, value, and safety of the RV. Plaintiffs seek damages and request rescission of the sales contract and cancellation of the debt.

         Plaintiffs bring claims for (1) violations of the Louisiana redhibition laws, (2) lender liability, (3) violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and (4) negligent repair. Defendants now move to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims for violations of the Louisiana redhibition laws and violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must plead enough facts “to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”[1] A claim is “plausible on its face” when the pleaded facts allow the court to “[d]raw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”[2]A court must accept the complaint's factual allegations as true and must “draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor.”[3] The Court need not, however, accept as true legal conclusions couched as factual allegations.[4]

         To be legally sufficient, a complaint must establish more than a “sheer possibility” that the plaintiff's claims are true.[5] “A pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action'” will not suffice.[6] Rather, the complaint must contain enough factual allegations to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of each element of the plaintiffs' claim.[7]

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims for violation of redhibition laws and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Defendants argue that the redhibition and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act claims are prescribed on the face of the complaint. Defendants further argue that the RV was not subject to a warranty at the time the complaint was made to support a Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act claim, and that the Plaintiffs have failed to allege sufficient facts to support a Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act claim. Defendants have not moved to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims for lender liability and negligent repair.[8] This Court will address each of Defendants' arguments for dismissal in turn.

         A. Redhibition Claim

         Defendants argue that the redhibition claim is prescribed. Generally, the party asserting prescription has the burden of proof.[9] Louisiana Civil Code article 2534 governs prescription of a redhibition action and provides that an action against a seller who did not know of the existence of a defect prescribes in four years from delivery or in one year from the buyer's discovery of the defect, whichever occurs first, and that an action against a seller who knew, or is presumed to have known, of the existence of a defect prescribes in one year from the buyer's discovery of the defect.[10] Because the Plaintiffs' discovery of the defect occurs first, the Court does not need to consider whether the Defendants knew of the defect. Here, the one year prescriptive period begins running from the time that the Plaintiffs discovered the defect.

         Plaintiffs' complaint does not specify the date the defects were discovered by Plaintiffs and only states that defects existed at the time of the sale and that they were discovered sometime after delivery. As Plaintiffs' claim is not prescribed on the face of their complaint, the burden is on Defendants to show that the claim is prescribed. Defendants have provided evidence of a complaint made by Plaintiffs on February 5, 2016. Plaintiffs have provided evidence that they delivered the RV for repairs for water damage in January 2016. From the evidence submitted, the prescriptive period ...


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