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Genaw v. Garage Equipment Supply, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

August 7, 2019

Marylynn Genaw, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Harold Genaw, Plaintiff,
v.
Garage Equipment Supply, Inc., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE

          Sean F. Cox, United States District Court Judge.

         PLEADINGS

         This is a product liability case. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant produced a faulty vehicle lift, which caused her husband's death. Defendant now moves for judgment on the pleadings. For the reasons below, the Court will grant Defendant's motion and dismiss this case.

         BACKGROUND

         Harold Genaw purchased a “portable light-duty four-post vehicle lift, ” which was “sold, manufactured, and designed by” Defendant Garage Equipment Supply. Pl.'s First Amd. Compl. ¶ 10. On October 2, 2016, Harold and his son, Jason, attempted to drive a vehicle onto the lift. Id. at ¶ 11. Justin drove the vehicle and Harold stood next to the lift, directing his son. Id. As Justin drove the vehicle onto the lift, the life “violently and without warning slid across the garage floor and struck Harold Genaw in the back of the head causing him to fall to the cement floor, again striking his head.” Id. at ¶ 12. Harold “sustained severe injuries, pain and suffering, emotional distress, shock to the nervous system, mental anguish, and eventual death.” Id. at ¶ 13.

         On August 27, 2018, Harold's wife, Marylynn Genaw, brought this action on behalf of his estate. The Complaint has five counts: (1) negligent production; (2) breach of implied warranty; (3) gross negligence/actual knowledge; (4) breach of express warranty; and (5) failure to warn. (ECF No. 11).

         On April 24, 2019, Garage Equipment filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that Genaw's Complaint lacks factual allegations sufficient to state any claims. (ECF No. 20). Genaw did not move to amend her complaint in light of this motion. Instead, Genaw responded, (ECF No. 22), and Garage Equipment replied. (ECF No. 23). The Court heard oral arguments on July 25, 2019. At the hearing, Genaw did not move to amend her complaint. In fact, to date, Genaw has not moved to amend her complaint.

         ANALYSIS

         Plaintiffs bring this motion for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(c). Rule 12(c) motions are adjudicated under the same standards as those under Rule 12(b)(6). Lindsay v. Yates, 498 F.3d 434, 437 n.5 (6th Cir. 2007); see also Commercial Money Ctr., Inc. v. Ill. Union Ins. Co., 508 F.3d 327, 336 (6th Cir. 2007) (“[A] complaint must contain direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements under some viable legal theory.”)

         Rule 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of a case where the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The Court must construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and accept its allegations as true. DirectTV, Inc. v. Treesh, 487 F.3d 471, 476 (6th Cir. 2007). To survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must offer sufficient factual allegations that make the asserted claims plausible on their face. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Legal conclusions couched as factual allegations will not suffice. Rondigo, LLC v. Township of Richmond, 641 F.3d 673, 670 (6th Cir. 2011). Rather, “[a] claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff 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).

         I. Count I (Negligent Production)

         Manufacturers have a duty to use reasonable care to produce a product that is reasonably safe for its intended, anticipated, or reasonably foreseeable use. Prentis v. Yale Mfg., 365 N.W.2d 176, 187 (Mich. 1985). To allege a claim for negligent production, Genaw must plead facts that show (1) the product was defectively manufactured; (2) the product reached the plaintiff in the same condition that it was in when it left the manufacturer; and (3) the defect proximately caused the plaintiff's injury. Id. at 186; see also Abdulkarim v. Medtronic, Inc., 2017 WL 6342628 at *1 (E.D. Mich. 2017). Garage Equipment argues that Genaw has not adequately pleaded either the first or third element.

         A. ...


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