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Bland v. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery

May 4, 2018

ASHLEY BLAND, et al. Plaintiffs-Appellants
v.
TOYOTA MOTOR SALES U.S.A., INC. Defendant-Appellee

          (Civil Appeal from Common Pleas Court) Trial Court Case No. 17-CV-4160

          LAURENCE A. LASKY, Attorney for Plaintiffs-Appellants

          G. TODD HOFFPAUIR, Atty. Reg. No. 0064449 and LINDSAY M. UPTON, Atty. Reg. No. 0092309, 36 E. Seventh Street, Suite 2100, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 Attorneys for Defendant-Appellee

          OPINION

          HALL, J.

         {¶ 1} Ashley Bland and Laurence Lasky appeal from the trial court's Civ.R. 12(B)(6) dismissal of their complaint against appellee Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. ("Toyota Motor Sales").

         {¶ 2} In their sole assignment of error, Bland and Lasky contend the trial court erred in concluding that their complaint failed to state a breach-of-contract claim.

         {¶ 3} The record reflects that Bland filed a September 2017 complaint against Toyota Motor North America ("Toyota North America") related to excessive consumption of oil by her 2009 Toyota Scion. Bland later dismissed Toyota Motor North America and added Toyota Motor Sales as a defendant. She also amended her complaint to add Lasky, her father, as a plaintiff. (Doc. #9, 18, 23).

         {¶ 4} On November 3, 2017, Toyota Motor Sales moved to dismiss the complaint under Civ.R. 12(B)(6). (Doc. #24). Toyota Motor Sales construed the complaint as pleading a breach-of-warranty claim, which it alleged was barred on its face by the applicable four-year statute of limitation and by a lack of privity of contract. (Id.). Bland and Lasky opposed the motion. Without addressing the breach-of-warranty issue, they argued that the complaint pled a claim for breach of implied contract, which had a six-year statute of limitation, based on a "secret unannounced recall." (Doc. # 25). In reply, Toyota Motor Sales argued that the complaint failed to plead the elements of a claim for breach of implied contract. (Doc. # 26).

         {¶ 5} In a December 15, 2017, decision, order, and entry, the trial court agreed with Toyota Motor Sales. It found the breach-of-warranty claim time barred on its face and concluded that it also failed for other reasons. (Doc. # 27). With regard to the alleged breach of implied contract, the trial court reasoned:

The Court now addresses the Plaintiffs' argument that they sufficiently pleaded a breach of contract claim in the Amended Complaint. As the Plaintiffs did not attach any exhibit, the Court's review is limited to the four corners of the Amended Complaint. * * *
Generally, a breach of contract action is pleaded by stating: (1) the existence of a contract; (2) the performance by the plaintiff of his or her obligations; (3) the breach by the defendant; and (4) damages. * * *
Here, the Plaintiffs argue that Toyota made a promise to replace the engine by recalling the vehicles, that Plaintiffs accepted this offer, and that Toyota breached the promise. However, in the Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs only allege the following:
11.After expressing concerns about the excessive oil consumption, Plaintiff was finally told by a dealer representative that Toyota was having problems with that engine and that the Defendant Toyota Motor ...

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