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Carrigg v. General R.V. Center, Inc.

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

September 30, 2019

EVERETTE L. CARRIGG, PATSY O. CARRIGG, Plaintiffs,
v.
GENERAL R.V. CENTER, INC., CORNERSTONE UNITED, INC., THE HUNTINGTON NATIONAL BANK Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          TERRENCE G. BERG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiffs Everette L. Carrigg and Patsy O. Carrigg purchased a used recreational vehicle (“RV”) from Defendant General R.V. Center, Inc. (“General RV”). According to the Carriggs, shortly after they purchased the RV, it became clear the vehicle was defective and not safe for its intended use. Plaintiffs are now asserting claims for violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2301 et seq., breach of express and implied warranties, fraudulent misrepresentation, and breach of contract. The case is before the Court on motions for summary judgment filed by General RV and by Defendant Cornerstone United, Inc., a party to the service contract Plaintiffs purchased through General RV. ECF Nos. 22, 23. For reasons explained below, the Court will grant Cornerstone’s and General RV’s motions for summary judgment.

         BACKGROUND

         In late 2016, Plaintiffs Everett Carrigg and Patsy Carrigg, a retired couple in their mid-to-late 70’s, purchased a used 2013 Thor Challenger recreational vehicle (“RV”) from Defendant General R.V. Center, Inc. (“General RV”). ECF No. 16, PageID.494 (Am. Compl.). As part of the sale, Plaintiffs traded in their old RV and agreed to pay an additional $62, 228.33. Id. at PageID.496; ECF No. 22-1, PageID.562 (“Purchase Agreement”). Along with the Thor Challenger RV, they also purchased a three-year service warranty serviced by Cornerstone United, Inc. ECF No. 16, PageID.494. Plaintiffs contend that throughout the process of purchasing the RV a General RV salesman, Julius “Juice” Tatum, as well as other agents of General RV-including a sales manager, financing manager, general manager, and service manager-made misrepresentations about the condition and quality of the RV, as well as the applicable warranties. ECF No. 16, PageID.496; ECF No. 29-2, PageID.722–23 (Patsy Carrigg Aff.). These alleged misrepresentations, which Plaintiffs say they relied on to their detriment, form the basis of this lawsuit.

         According to Plaintiffs, representatives of General RV on multiple occasions averred that the RV they ultimately purchased was in excellent condition and “came with the remainder of a 10-year manufacturer’s bumper-to-bumper factory warranty that specifically covered any structural defects.” ECF No. 16, PageID.496; ECF No. 29-2, PageID.722– 23. Contrary to General RV’s alleged representations that the vehicle was “like new” at the time of purchase, Plaintiffs contend the RV had “major structural damage” and, as they later claim to have discovered, had previously been totaled and its chassis replaced with a salvage chassis. ECF No. 16, PageID.497; ECF No. 29-2, PageID.730. The advertised “bumper-to-bumper” manufacturer’s warranty had in fact expired in 2014, two years before Plaintiffs purchased the vehicle. ECF No. 35, PageID.1005 (Celina Tyler Aff.). Plaintiffs further urge that representatives of General RV misrepresented the scope of the three-year Cornerstone warranty they purchased at the dealership, reassuring them that the warranty would cover any needed repairs to fix structural or mechanical problems with the vehicle. ECF No. 29-2, PageID.724. Essentially, Plaintiffs maintain that General RV’s salesman and managers made express oral representations to them about the condition of the vehicle and the manufacturer’s warranty, that those representations were false, and that Plaintiffs relied on them to their detriment.

         The purchase agreement governing the RV’s sale is a two-sided document with an “all-caps” integration clause above the purchasers’ signature line explaining that the written agreement contains the entire agreement between Plaintiffs and General RV. ECF No. 22-1, PageID.562. That provision also alerts signatories to other terms and conditions contained in the agreement-including an “as is” and exclusion of warranties provision located on the reverse side of the agreement. Id. The integration clause reads:

THIS PURCHASE AGREEMENT CONTAINS THE ENTIRE UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN GENERAL RV AND PURCHASER. NO ONE HAS AUTHORITY TO MAKE ANY REPRESENTATION BEYOND THIS AGREEMENT. NO OTHER REPRESENTATIONS OR INDUCEMENTS, VERBAL OR WRITTEN HAVE BEEN MADE, WHICH ARE NOT CONTAINED ON THIS DOCUMENT. PURCHASER HAS NOT RELIED ON ANYTHING NOT WRITTEN INTO THIS PURCHASE AGREEMENT SUCH THAT NOTHING ELSE IS THE BASIS OF THE BARGAIN OR IS ENFORCEABLE AGAINST GENERAL RV, EVEN IF ALLEGED TO BE A MISREPRESENTATION. BY SIGNING BELOW, PURCHASER ACKNOWLEDGES THAT PURCHASER HAS RECEIVED A COPY OF THIS AGREEMENT AND THAT PURCHASER HAS READ AND UNDERSTANDS THE TERMS OF THIS AGREEMENT, INCLUDING THOSE PRINTED ON THE REVERSE SIDE, WHICH INCLUDE AN “AS IS” CLAUSE, A NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT STATEMENT, AND A CHOICE OF LAW AND FORUM SELECTION CLAUSES INDICATING THAT MICHIGAN LAW APPLIES TO ALL POTENTIAL DISPUTES AND THAT ALL CLAIMS MUST BE FILED IN MICHIGAN.

ECF No. 22-1, PageID.562.

         The “as is” purchase warning and express exclusion of warranties on the reverse side of the agreement states:

EXCLUSION OF WARRANTIES, “AS IS” PURCHASE PURCHASER UNDERSTANDS THAT THERE MAY BE WRITTEN WARRANTIES COVERING THIS RV, BUT THAT THESE WARANTIES ARE OFFERED BY THE MANUFACTURER OF THE RV . . . . PURCHASER UNDERSTANDS THAT DEALER OFFERS NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, ON THIS RV. THIS RV IS SOLD “AS IS” BY DEALER, AND DEALER DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY IMPLIED WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. This document is not a warranty and nothing that Dealer says or does creates a warranty . . . . This is true even if Purchaser purchases a service contract . . . . Also, since Dealer provides no warranties from Dealer, any written warranty from a manufacturer of the vehicle or its components is Purchaser’s sole and exclusive remedy for any problem that Purchaser may have with the vehicle or any appliance or component.

ECF No. 22-1, PageID.563. This “as is” provision is the eleventh of sixteen different terms and conditions described on the reverse side of the purchase agreement:

         (Matter Omitted)

         The font, which is small and somewhat difficult to read, appears to be no larger than that used for other provisions on this same page of the purchase agreement, though portions of the “as is” disclaimer are capitalized, and some parts both capitalized and bolded. ECF No. 22-1, PageID.563. No. other provision in the purchase agreement is both capitalized and bolded. See Id.

         Plaintiffs also signed a separate General RV “as is” and warranty disclaimer form, thereby again acknowledging that the RV was purchased “as is” and that the two-sided purchase agreement is “the only document that contains the terms and conditions of [the] agreement with General RV.” ECF No. 22-1, PageID.565. The form uses the phrase “as is” in its title and capitalizes, bolds, and underlines that term:

         (Matter Omitted) Id. The same warranty disclaimer former also includes an additional exclusion of warranties ...


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