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Gomez v. Carmax Auto Superstores California, LLC

United States District Court, C.D. California

January 22, 2015

KATHLEEN M. GOMEZ,
v.
CARMAX AUTO SUPERSTORES CALIFORNIA, LLC, ET AL

DEFENDANT CARMAX AUTO SUPERSTORES CALIFORNIA, LLC'S MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO FRCP 12(b)(6) AND MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF THE COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO FRCP 12(f) (Dkt. 8-1 & 9-1, filed December 1, 2014)

CHRISTINA A. SNYDER, District Judge.

The court finds this motion appropriate for decision without oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; Local Rule 7-15. Accordingly, the hearing date of January 26, 2015 is vacated, and the matter is hereby taken under submission.

I. INTRODUCTION

This action arises from the purchase of a used Mercedes-Benz by plaintiff Kathleen

M. Gomez ("plaintiff") from defendant CarMax Auto Superstores California, LLC ("defendant" or "Carmax"). On October 7, 2014, plaintiff filed a complaint against Carmax and Does 1 through 10, inclusive, in the Los Angeles County Superior Court for: (1) violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act ("CLRA"), Cal. Civ. Code § 1750, et seq. (equitable and injunctive relief only); (2) violation of the Unfair Competition Law ("UCL"), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, et seq .; (3) violation of the federal Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1988(b); (4) violation of the California Vehicle Code, Cal. Veh. Code §§ 5901(b), 11713(a), 11713(n), & 9993; and (5) fraud and deceit.[1] Dkt. 1-1 ("Cmplt.").

On November 21, 2014, defendant removed the action to this court. Dkt. 1. On December 2, 2014, defendant moved to dismiss plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and to strike portions of the complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f). Dkt. 8-1 & 9.1.[2] On December 1, 2014 and January 5, 2015, respectively, defendant filed two requests for judicial notice. Dkt 10 & 13. On December 8, 2014, plaintiff filed an opposition to the motion to dismiss and the motion to strike. Dkt. 14. For the reasons stated below, the court GRANTS the motion to dismiss with leave to amend and DENIES AS MOOT the motion to strike.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff asserts that defendant "represented to [her] in its internet advertisements, website statements, and radio advertisements that [it] sells its vehicles as certified'" and "performs a rigorous' 125 point inspection on the vehicles." Cmplt. ¶ 65. She acquired three vehicles from defendant, the last of which (a used 2003 Mercedes-Benz SL500 purchased on September 22, 2013) is the subject of this action. Id . ¶¶ 6, 10.

Plaintiff first avers that defendant "did not provide [her] with a completed inspection report that indicated all components inspected on the Mercedes" as required prior to selling a vehicle as "certified" pursuant to Cal. Veh. Code § 11713.18(a)(6). Id . ¶ 7. She claims that she "would not have purchased the... vehicle if [it] was not certified." Id.

Further, plaintiff asserts that defendant misrepresented the vehicle's condition by stating that it was "certified, inspected, in good condition and had a clean vehicle history, " when in fact it "could not legally be called certified, " and "any inspection would reveal [it] was accident damaged and defective." Id. at 70. Plaintiff alleges having "numerous problems" with the vehicle, including with the suspension. Id . ¶ 8.

Also, plaintiff avers, on information and belief, that "there may be a mileage inconsistency in the history of the vehicle." Id . ¶ 17. She alleges that on November 6, 2002, CarFax reported the vehicle as having 2, 252 miles, but that "[n]early two years later, on August 9, 2014, ... CarFax report[ed] the vehicle [as] having 1, 982 miles-270 miles less than the previous reporting."[3] Id.

Indeed, plaintiff asserts that before she purchased the vehicle, Mauricio Trelles, one of defendant's sales consultants, showed her an AutoCheck Vehicle History Report that "indicated the mileage discrepancy." Id . ¶ 18. She claims that when she asked to speak with a manager, the manager - whose name she cannot remember - "blamed the Department of Motor Vehicles for the mileage inconsistency." Id.

III. LEGAL STANDARD

A. MOTION TO DISMISS

Defendant seeks dismissal under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. A Rule 12(b)(6) motion tests the legal sufficiency of the claims asserted in a complaint. "While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, 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." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). "[F]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id.

In considering a motion pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a court must accept as true all material allegations in the complaint, as well as all reasonable inferences to be drawn from them. Pareto v. F.D.I.C., 139 F.3d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1998). The complaint must be read in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001); Parks Sch. of Bus., Inc. v. Symington, 51 F.3d 1480, 1484 (9th Cir. 1995). However, "[i]n keeping with these principles a court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009); Moss v. United States Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir.2009) ("[F]or a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the non-conclusory factual content, ' and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief.") (citing Twombly and Iqbal); Sprewell, 266 F.3d at 988; W. Mining Council v. Watt, 643 F.2d 618, 624 (9th Cir. 1981). Ultimately, "[d]etermining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will... be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950.

For all of these reasons, it is only under extraordinary circumstances that dismissal is proper under Rule 12(b)(6). United States v. City of Redwood City, 640 F.2d 963, 966 (9th Cir. 1981). Moreover, as a general rule, leave to amend a complaint which has been dismissed should be freely granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). However, leave to amend may be denied when "the court determines that the allegation of other facts consistent with the challenged pleading could not possibly cure the deficiency." Schreiber Distrib. Co. v. Serv-Well Furniture Co., 806 F.2d 1393, 1401 (9th Cir.1986); see Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000).

B. REQUESTS FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE

Unless a court converts a Rule 12(b)(6) motion into a motion for summary judgment, a court cannot consider material outside of the complaint (e.g., facts presented in briefs, affidavits, or discovery materials). In re Am. Cont'l Corp./Lincoln Sav. & Loan Sec. Litig., 102 F.3d 1524, 1537 (9th Cir.1996), rev'd on other grounds sub nom Lexecon, Inc. v. Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, 523 U.S. 26 (1998). A court may, however, consider exhibits submitted with or alleged in the complaint and matters that may be judicially noticed pursuant to Fed.R.Evid. 201. In re Silicon Graphics Inc. Sec. Litig., 183 F.3d 970, 986 (9th Cir. 1999); Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 689 (9th Cir. 2001). A "court may judicially notice a fact that is not subject to reasonable dispute because it: (1) is generally known within [its] territorial jurisdiction; or (2) can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot be reasonably be questioned." Fed.R.Evid. 201(b). Here, defendant has filed two unopposed requests for judicial notice of a total of sixteen orders from cases filed by plaintiff's counsel against defendant in the district courts of California that hold ...


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