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William Landes v. Skil Power Tools

July 13, 2012

WILLIAM LANDES,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
SKIL POWER TOOLS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff William Landes ("Plaintiff") initiated this action to recover for injuries suffered by Plaintiff during the operation of a table saw designed, manufactured and sold by Defendants Skil Power Tools ("Skil Power Tools"), Robert Bosch Tool Corporation ("Robert Bosch"), Lowe's HIW, Inc. (hereafter, "Lowe's"), and Lowe's Companies, Inc. ("Lowe's Companies"), (collectively, "Defendants").*fn1

Presently before the Court are a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's fifth cause of action for breach of implied warranty and a Motion to Strike Plaintiff's punitive damages allegations filed by Lowe's. For the reasons set forth below, Lowe's Motions are GRANTED with leave to amend.*fn2

BACKGROUND*fn3

According to Plaintiff, Defendants Skil Power and Robert Bosch designed and manufactured for sale a 10-inch portable table saw, namely the SkilSaw Model Number 3305 ("SkilSaw"). Skil Power and Robert Bosch sold the SkilSaw to the Lowe's Defendants for distribution at their Stockton retail Lowe's Home Improvement store.

In approximately March of 2010, the Lowe's Defendants sold the SkilSaw to Plaintiff. On April 14, 2012, while operating that saw, Plaintiff was severely injured, suffering lacerations and completely severing all or part of two of his fingers.

Plaintiff avers that Skil Power and Robert Bosch knew of and failed to utilize safer technology in the manufacture of their saws.

More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that flesh-detection technology has been available for years, that such technology would stop a saw blade immediately upon touching human flesh, and that Defendants failed to take advantage of this technology to make their product safer.

In light of his injuries, Plaintiff initiated the instant action in state court on April 6, 2012, alleging the following causes of action: 1) negligence (against Skil Power and Robert Bosch); 2) strict products liability (against Skil Power and Robert Bosch); 3) breach of implied warranty (against Skil Power and Robert Bosch); 4) negligence (against Lowe's and Lowe's Companies); and 5) breach of implied warranty (against Lowe's and Lowe's Companies). Defendants thereafter removed the case to this Court and filed various Motions to Dismiss and Motions to Strike. The only Motions remaining before the Court are Lowe's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's fifth cause of action for breach of implied warranty and Motion to Strike Plaintiff's punitive damages allegations. For the following reasons, both Motions are GRANTED with leave to amend.

STANDARD

A. Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6).

On a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6),*fn4 all allegations of material fact must be accepted as true and construed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Cahill v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 80 F.3d 336, 337-38 (9th Cir. 1996). Rule 8(a)(2) "requires only 'a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,' in order to 'give the defendant fair notice of what the...claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Bell. Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). A complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not require detailed factual allegations. Id. However, "a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. (internal citations and quotations omitted). A court is not required to accept as true a "legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). The Court also is not required "to accept as true allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences."

In re Gilead Sciences Sec. Litig., 536 F.3d 1049, 1055 (9th Cir. 2008) (internal citations and quotations omitted). "Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

Furthermore, "Rule 8(a)(2)...requires a 'showing,' rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556 n.3 (internal citations and quotations omitted). "Without some factual allegation in the complaint, it is hard to see how a claimant could satisfy the requirements of providing not only 'fair notice' of the nature of the claim, but also 'grounds' on which the claim rests." Id. (citation omitted). A pleading must contain "only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at ...


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