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Foley v. LG Electronics, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

June 22, 2017

BRIAN THOMAS FOLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
LG ELECTRONICS, INC, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO United States District Judge

         This matter comes before the Court upon the Motion of LG Electronics (ECF DKT #12) to dismiss Plaintiff's claims for lack of Article III standing and for failure to state a claim pursuant to Fed. R. Civ P. 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff Brian Foley filed his original Complaint on June 15, 2016, against Defendant LG Electronics and two of its subsidiaries, alleging seven causes of action relating to three models of ovens marketed and sold by Defendant. Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on July 11, 2016, and filed his Second Amended Complaint on September 19, 2016. On September 26, 2016, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss all claims.

         Defendant advertises three of the models of ovens it sells, models LRE3083, LRE3021ST and LRE3085ST, as having a “Sabbath Mode.” The Sabbath Mode feature allows practicing Jews to use the ovens on the Sabbath and religious holidays without violating religious restrictions. Plaintiff purchased a model LRE3083ST oven (“Oven”) from the retailer hhgregg on November 12, 2015. Plaintiff knew when he bought the Oven that it had a Sabbath Mode feature, but chose the Oven primarily for its large capacity and true convection heating feature. Plaintiff alleges that he bought the oven primarily for personal use, but also to aid his baking business when he needed extra oven capacity.

         Plaintiff tested the Oven for his business and discovered that the Oven was not suitable. Plaintiff alleges that the Oven was not a true convection oven and as a result, the Oven cooked bread unevenly and burned it. Plaintiff called Defendant's corporate office to request repairs under the Oven's express limited warranty. Repair teams were dispatched multiple times, but were unable to repair the oven and declared the oven unrepairable. Defendant informed Plaintiff that, due to Plaintiff's violation of the terms of the express limited warranty, Defendant was not obligated to repair or replace the Oven. The warranty states: “This limited warranty does not apply to:.. 2. Repairs when your appliance is used in other than normal, single-family household use.” Plaintiff eventually discarded the Oven.

         Plaintiff learned that Star-K, an organization which certifies devices that conform to the requirements of Jewish religious law, had de-certified Defendant's ovens. Plaintiff has not alleged that the presence or absence of the Sabbath Mode feature affects the convection capabilities of the Oven. Plaintiff has not alleged that he was or is a practicing Jew, or that he follows Jewish religious restrictions.

         Plaintiff filed seven claims against Defendant relating to the Oven. One claim is brought under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act on behalf of the class of people nationally who purchased LRE3083, LRE3021ST, or LRE3085ST ovens. Five claims are brought on behalf of the sub-class of people within the State of Ohio who purchased any of the aforementioned ovens. The six Class Action claims all relate to the alleged lack of Sabbath Mode on all three models of oven. Plaintiff also brings one individual claim for breach of express warranty for Defendant's failure to fix the lack of a true convection feature on the Oven. Plaintiff seeks lost profits from his business as well as the cost of the oven in damages for the individual breach of warranty claim.

         Defendant moves to dismiss all claims, arguing that Plaintiff lacks Article III standing for all claims relating to the Sabbath Mode feature because Plaintiff has not been injured by the alleged lack of Sabbath Mode feature. Defendant further argues that Plaintiff's individual claim should be dismissed for failure to state a claim under 12(b)(6), because Plaintiff took himself outside the scope of the express limited warranty by using the Oven for commercial purposes. Plaintiff argues that he was injured because the alleged lack of Sabbath Mode feature diminished the value of the Oven. Plaintiff also argues that his individual claim does have sufficient facts to support a claim for relief because the language of the warranty is ambiguous and because Defendant's conduct waived the limitation on the warranty.

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         I. Plaintiff Lacks Standing to Bring a Class Action Relating to the Alleged Sabbath Mode Feature because Plaintiff Suffered No Injury.

         Defendant moves to dismiss Counts 1-6 of the Complaint for lack of standing because Plaintiff has not suffered a concrete and particularized injury.

         Standing is an “essential and unchanging part of the case-or-controversy requirement of Article III.” Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992). A plaintiff must show three things to demonstrate standing: 1) an injury in fact that is concrete and particularized, as well as actual or imminent; 2) a causal relationship between the injury and the complained-of conduct; and 3) a likelihood that the injury can be redressed by a decision in the plaintiff's favor. See Vermont Agency of Natural Res. v. United States ex rel. Stevens, 529 U.S. 765, 771 (2000); N.E. Fla. Chapter of the Assoc. Gen. Contractors of Am. v. City of Jacksonville, Fla., 508 U.S. 656, 663-64 (1993).

         For an injury to be particularized, it must “affect the plaintiff in a personal and individual way.” Spokeo v. Robbins, 136 S.Ct. 1540, 1548 (2016) (quotation marks and citation omitted). To be concrete, the injury must be real and not abstract. Id. However, the injury need not be physical. In Washegesic v. Bloomingdale Pub. Sch.,33 F.3d 679 (6th Cir. 1994), the Court held that a non-Christian student had standing to compel the school district to remove a portrait of Jesus Christ from a school hallway. However, even where the injury is non-physical, it must still personally affect the plaintiff. A plaintiff cannot merely rely on “the psychological consequence presumably ...


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