United States District Court, E.D. California
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER RE DEFENDANT’S
MOTION TO DISMISS (Doc. 5)
LAWRENCE J. O’NEILL UNITED STATES CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE
PRELIMINARY STATEMENT TO PARTIES AND
in the Eastern District of California carry the heaviest
caseloads in the nation, and this Court is unable to devote
inordinate time and resources to individual cases and
matters. Given the shortage of district judges and staff,
this Court addresses only the arguments, evidence, and
matters necessary to reach the decision in this order. The
parties and counsel are encouraged to contact the offices of
United States Senators Feinstein and Boxer to address this
Court’s inability to accommodate the parties and this
action. The parties are required to reconsider consent to
conduct all further proceedings before a Magistrate Judge,
whose schedules are far more realistic and accommodating to
parties than that of U.S. Chief District Judge Lawrence J.
O'Neill, who must prioritize criminal and older civil
trials set before Chief Judge O'Neill trail until he
becomes available and are subject to suspension mid-trial to
accommodate criminal matters. Civil trials are no longer
reset to a later date if Chief Judge O'Neill is
unavailable on the original date set for trial. Moreover,
this Court's Fresno Division randomly and without advance
notice reassigns civil actions to U.S. District Judges
throughout the nation to serve as visiting judges. In the
absence of Magistrate Judge consent, this action is subject
to reassignment to a U.S. District Judge from inside or
outside the Eastern District of California.
John Crenshaw brings this products liability case against
Macy’s, Inc. (“Defendant”), Sunham Home
Fashions, LLC (“Sunham”), and Kam Hing
Enterprises, Inc. (“KHE”), alleging, among
others, three claims for violation of (1) California Business
& Professions Code §§ 17200 (“§
17200”), et seq.; (2) California Business &
Professions Code § 17500 (“§ 17500”),
et seq.; and (3) California Civil Code § 1750
(“§ 1750”), et seq. Defendant moves under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) to dismiss these claims and
Plaintiff’s request for punitive damages associated
with his § 1750 claim. For the following reasons, the
Court GRANTS the motion.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
2014, Plaintiff went to one of Defendant’s stores. Doc.
3, Complaint (“Compl.”) at ¶ 9.
“Plaintiff saw an advertisement in the  store for a
‘skid resistant’ bathroom mat . . . [T]he
‘skid resistant’ advertisement was made on the
mat packaging.” Id. at ¶ 10. Defendants
Sunham and/or KHE manufactured the packaging. Id. at
¶ 10. “Based on the ‘skid resistant’
notation, Plaintiff purchased several of the bathroom mats .
. . for use at his home, in his bathroom.” Id.
at ¶ 12. “Except for the advertisement that the
mats were ‘skid resistant, ’ Plaintiff would not
have purchased and utilized the bathroom mats.”
Id. at ¶ 14.
alleges the mats “are not ‘skid resistant,
’ especially when they become wet.” Id.
at ¶ 13. “At some point . . . Plaintiff exited his
shower and stepped onto one of the . . . mats, ” which
“slipped out from under [him].” Id. at
¶ 14. Plaintiff fell to the floor and severely injured
himself. Id. Plaintiff therefore claims the mats
“were inherently unsafe, as they were not ‘skid
resistant’ as advertised.” Id. at ¶
causes of action under §§ 17200, 17500, and 1750
are premised on the same allegations. Plaintiff alleges
Defendant knew or should have known that, though the
“mats are marketed as ‘non skid’ or
‘skid resistant’ . . . they are not, in fact,
‘non skid’ or ‘skid
resistant.’” Id. at ¶¶ 29-30,
36-38, 45-46. Plaintiff claims the mats have no
skid-resisting properties, but “are mere decoration and
have no safety features.” Id. at ¶¶
30, 39, 48. Plaintiff therefore asserts Defendant’s
advertising and selling the bathroom mats as “skid
resistant” “constitutes an unlawful, unfair, or
fraudulent business act or practice because the bathroom
mats are unsafe, and are not safety equipment as described or
implied in the advertisements.” Id. at
¶¶ 31, 38, 47.
now moves to dismiss these three causes of action for failure
to state a claim.
STANDARD OF DECISION
motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) is a challenge to the sufficiency
of the allegations set forth in the complaint. A Rule
12(b)(6) dismissal is proper where there is either a
“lack of a cognizable legal theory” or “the
absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal
theory.” Balisteri v. Pacifica Police Dept.,
901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). In considering a motion to
dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court generally
accepts as true the allegations in the complaint, construes
the pleading in the light most favorable to the party
opposing the motion, and resolves all doubts in the
pleader’s favor. Lazy Y. Ranch LTD v. Behrens,
546 F.3d 580, 588 (9th Cir. 2008).
survive a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Plaintiffs must
allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has
facial plausibility when the Plaintiffs pleads factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). “The plausibility standard is not akin to a
‘probability requirement, ’ but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Id. (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 556). “Where a complaint pleads facts that
are ‘merely consistent ...