United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JEFFREY J. HELMICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Kistler Ford and Ford Motor Company move to dismiss all but
one of Plaintiff Kellie Payne's claims. (Doc. No. 6 and
17). Ford also moves to strike Payne's allegations in
support of her proposed class action. (Doc. No. 7). Payne has
filed responses to the motions to dismiss, (Doc. No. 25 and
30), and to Ford's motion to strike her class
allegations. (Doc. No. 13). Payne also moves to amend her
complaint, (Doc. No. 33), and moves for a pretrial
conference. (Doc. No. 35). Defendants have filed briefs in
reasons stated below, Defendants' motions to dismiss are
granted, and Ford's motion to strike and Payne's
motions are denied.
defendant may seek to dismiss a plaintiff's complaint on
the ground the complaint fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). When ruling on
a motion to dismiss, a court construes the complaint in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff and accepts as true
well-pleaded factual allegations. Daily Servs., LLC v.
Valentino, 756 F.3d 893, 896 (6th Cir. 2014) (citing
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009)).
Factual allegations must be sufficient to state a plausible
claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Legal
conclusions and unwarranted factual inferences are not
entitled to a presumption of truth. Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
provides a party may amend its pleadings once as a matter of
course within 21 days of serving the pleading or, if a
responsive pleading is required, 21 days after service of a
responsive pleading. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 15(a)(1). “In
all other cases, a party may amend its pleading only with the
opposing party's written consent or the court's
leave. The court should freely give leave when justice so
requires.” Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 15(a)(2). “In the
absence of any apparent or declared reason - such as undue
delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the
movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments
previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by
virtue of allowance of the amendment, futility of amendment,
etc. - the leave sought should, as the rules require, be
‘freely given.'” Foman v. Davis, 371
U.S. 178, 182 (1962); see also Head v. Jellico Hous.
Auth., 870 F.2d 1117, 1123 (6th Cir. 1989).
“Notice and substantial prejudice to the opposing party
are critical factors in determining whether an amendment
should be granted.” Hageman v. Signal L. P. Gas,
Inc., 486 F.2d 479, 484 (6th Cir. 1973).
purchased a used 2013 Ford Explorer from Kistler Ford on
April 10, 2015, for a total of $30, 069.00. (Doc. No. 1-1 at
16). On October 18, 2017, Payne learned Explorers reportedly
had an issue with carbon monoxide entering the passenger
cabin of the vehicle. (Id.). The following day, she
told Kistler Ford she was experiencing “the physical
and mental symptoms from the carbon monoxide exposure she had
been suffering for several months.” (Id.). In
December 2017, Ford issued a notice to current owners of
model year 2011-2015 Explorers, offering to cure the carbon
monoxide defect “free of charge.” (Id.
at 28). Payne seeks recovery of economic damages both
individually and on behalf of a class of “all persons
similarly situation.” (Doc. No. 1-1 at 2).
seek to dismiss all of Payne's claims except Count VIII,
which sets forth a cause of action for personal injuries she
allegedly suffered as a result of the presence of exhaust
odor in the passenger compartment of her Explorer. (Doc. No.
6; Doc. No. 17). Ford also has filed a motion to strike the
class allegations from the complaint. (Doc. No. 7).
the parties completed briefing on the motions to dismiss,
Payne filed a motion for leave to amend her complaint,
asserting that a January 2019 notice related to the exhaust
odor problem is proof Ford failed to remedy the problem
previously. (Doc. No. 33). Payne seeks to amend her complaint
to allege Ford intentionally or negligently failed to repair
the exhaust odor problem and continues to expose consumers to
the exhaust odor after having led them to believe the problem
had been resolved. (Doc. No. 33 at 3).
argue Payne's claims, other than her cause of action for
alleged personal injuries she sustained due to the presence
of exhaust odor in the passenger compartment of her vehicle,
are barred by the doctrine of claim preclusion, because of
the final class action settlement order entered in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of Florida,
in Sanchez-Knutson v. Ford Motor Co., No.
14-cv-61344. In that case, Angela Sanchez-Knutson, on behalf
of a subsequently-certified class of “[a]ll entities
and natural persons in the United States” who were
current or former owners of a model year 2011-2015 Ford
Explorer, asserted claims for: (1) violation ...