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Lepkowski v. Camelbak Products, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. California

December 12, 2019

Rachel Lepkowski, Plaintiff,
v.
CamelBak Products, LLC, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT RE: DKT. NO. 18

          YVONNE GONZALEZ ROGERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Rachel Lepkowski brings this action against defendants CamelBak Products, LLC and CamelBak International LLC (collectively, “CamelBak”). Lepkowski brings an amended class action complaint concerning all CamelBak eddy water bottles, and alleges violations of various consumer protection laws as to the bottles' “spill-proof” claims. (Dkt. No. 16 at 2.) Specifically, Lepkowski brings nine claims including: (i) violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2301; (ii) breach of express warranty; (iii) breach of the warranty of merchantability; (iv) unjust enrichment; (v) violation of California's Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA”), Cal. Civil Code §§ 1750, et seq.; (vi) violation of California's Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 172000, et seq.; (vii) violation of California's False Advertising Law (“FAL”), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17500, et seq., (viii) negligent misrepresentation; and (ix) fraud.

         Now before the Court is CamelBak's motion to dismiss Lepkowski's first amended class action complaint. Having carefully reviewed the pleadings, the papers submitted on each motion, the parties' oral arguments at the hearing held on December 10, 2019, and for the reasons set forth more fully below, the Court concludes that the Lepkowski lacks Article III standing to pursue the claims in this matter. Accordingly, the Court Grants CamelBak's motion to dismiss Lepkowski's first amended class action complaint.

         I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

         The Court limits the following summary to the facts relevant in deciding the disposition of this motion.

         On May 16, 2019, counsel for CamelBak, Todd Maiden, sent a letter in response to a prior letter sent by Lepkowski on April 18, 2019. (Dkt. No. 18-1 at 13-14 (Maiden Decl., Ex. B).) In this letter, Maiden writes that CamelBak has “unconditionally sent Ms. Lepkowski . . . a new 25 ounce Camelbak Eddy Water Bottle as a free replacement for Ms. Lepkowski's Water Bottle (attached).” (Id.) Further, “also enclosed with th[e] letter [was] an unconditional refund check made payable to Ms. Lepkowski in the amount of $20.00, which [was] intended to be more than she paid for her water bottle at Sports Basement, ” and which estimate was based on a webpage showing a price of $14.00 for the product, and adding an additional $6.00 to conservatively cover additional sales tax or price variation. (Id.; see also Dkt. No. 18-1 at 15 (check), 16 (shipping label).)[1]

         On August 5, 2019, counsel for Lepkowski, Neal Deckant, responded stating that he “discussed [CamelBak's] settlement offer with Ms. Lepkowski and she has decided to reject it.” (Dkt. No. 18-1 at 18 (Maiden Decl., Ex. C).) Deckant indicated that he would be returning the 25 ounce CamelBak Eddy water bottle and the $20.00 check, and that a complaint would be filed.

         On August 22, 2019, Maiden reiterated that the replacement bottle and the $20.00 check were sent “unconditionally to Ms. Lepkowski.” (Dkt. No. 18-1 at 20 (Maiden Decl., Ex. D).) Maiden's letter stated that “[n]o settlement offer was ever made to Ms. Lepkowski and CamelBak has requested no agreement of any kind or any consideration from Ms. Lepkowski.” (Id.) The check and water bottle were sent back to Lepkowski and Maiden indicated that Lepkowski was “free to enjoy them or do whatever she wants with them if she does not want to keep them herself.” (Id.; see also Id. at 21-22 (check and shipping label).)

         On August 8, 2019, Lepkowski commenced this lawsuit by filing her initial class action complaint. (Dkt. No. 1.) The operative first amended class action complaint was filed on October 21, 2019. (Dkt. No. 16.) CamelBak moved to dismiss this operative complaint on November 4, 2019. (Dkt. No. 18.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

         Rule 12(b)(1) provides that an action may be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Federal courts are of “limited jurisdiction” and plaintiff bears the burden to prove the requisite federal subject matter jurisdiction. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). A challenge pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) may be facial or factual. See White v. Lee, 227 F.3d 1214, 1242 (9th Cir. 2000). A facial 12(b)(1) motion involves an inquiry confined to the allegations in the complaint, whereas a factual 12(b)(1) motion permits the court to look beyond the complaint to extrinsic evidence. Wolfe v. Strankman, 392 F.3d 358, 362 (9th Cir.2004). Thus, in a factual 12(b)(1) motion, the Court may consider evidence outside the complaint to resolve factual disputes in the process of determining the existence of subject matter jurisdiction. McCarthy v. United States, 850 F.2d 558, 560 (9th Cir. 1988). Courts consequently need not presume the truthfulness of a plaintiff's allegations in such instances. Safe Air for Everyone v. Meyer, 373 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 2004) (citing White v. Lee, 227 F.3d 1214, 1242 (9th Cir. 2000)).

         III. MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT

         CamelBak moves to dismiss Lepkowski's complaint under Rules 12(b)(1) and (b)(6). Because the Court concludes that Lepkowski lacks standing under Rule 12(b)(1), the Court limits its discussion and analysis to Rule 12(b)(1), and declines to address CamelBak's remaining arguments under Rule 12(b)(6).

         Article III of the United States Constitution provides that federal courts may only adjudicate “cases” and “controversies.” U.S. Const. art. III, § 2. The constitutional standing inquiry “focuses on whether the plaintiff is the proper party to bring this suit.” Raines v. Byrd, 521 U.S. 811, 818 (1997). To establish standing under Article III, “[t]he plaintiff must have (1) suffered an injury in fact, (2) that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct of the defendant, and (3) that is likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision.” Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, ____ U.S. ____, 136 S.Ct. 1540, 1547, 194 L.Ed.2d 635 (2016), citing Lujan v. Defenders ...


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