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McMahon v. Robert Bosch Tool Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

June 19, 2018

JEFFREY MCMAHON, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT BOSCH TOOL CORP, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CHARLES A SHAW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This diversity matter is before the Court on defendant Lowe's Home Center, LLC's (“Lowe's”) Motion to Dismiss Count IV of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, based on Missouri's “innocent seller” statute, § 537.762, Missouri Revised Statutes (2010). Plaintiff has not responded to the motion to dismiss and the time to do has passed, so the motion is ripe for decision. For the following reasons, the motion to dismiss will be denied.

         I. Background

         Jeffrey McMahon in the plaintiff in this action, which arises out of personal injuries Mr. McMahon suffered while using an allegedly defective Rotozip RZ20 hand-held saw at his home in St. Louis County, Missouri, when its component handle detached. The saw was manufactured by defendant Robert Bosch Tool Corporation (“Bosch”) and sold by defendant Lowe's. In the Amended Complaint, plaintiff asserts claims against Lowe's for strict liability-product defect in Count IV, products liability-negligence in Count V, and negligent supply of dangerous instrumentality in Count VI. In Count V, plaintiff alleges that Lowe's failed to use ordinary care to manufacture and/or design the saw, or to adequately warn of the risk of harm from its defective handle. In Count VI, plaintiff alleges that Lowe's supplied the saw for use in the regular course of business, the saw was dangerous because of specified defects, and Lowe's knew or had information from which it should have known of the dangerous condition and risk presented by the saw and failed to warn plaintiff of it.

         II. Legal Standard

         The purpose of a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is to test the legal sufficiency of the complaint. To survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim for relief “must include sufficient factual information to provide the ‘grounds' on which the claim rests, and to raise a right to relief above a speculative level.” Schaaf v. Residential Funding Corp., 517 F.3d 544, 549 (8th Cir. 2008) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 & n.3). This obligation requires a plaintiff to plead “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         On a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint, even if it appears that “actual proof of those facts is improbable, ” id. at 556, and reviews the complaint to determine whether its allegations show that the pleader is entitled to relief. Id. at 555-56; Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The principle that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint does not apply to legal conclusions, however. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice”).

         III. Discussion

         Lowe's moves the Court for an order dismissing it as a party on Count IV under Missouri's innocent seller statute, § 537.762.1, Mo. Rev. Stat. Lowe's submitted with its motion an affidavit pursuant to the innocent seller statute that states in pertinent part, “Lowe's is aware of no facts or circumstances upon which a verdict might be reached against it under Count IV of the Amended Complaint other than its purported status as an alleged seller in the stream of commerce.” Affidavit of Pat Martin, Doc. 13-1, ¶ 7.

         Missouri's innocent seller statute provides:

1. A defendant whose liability is based solely on his status as a seller in the stream of commerce may be dismissed from a products liability claim as provided in this section.
2. This section shall apply to any products liability claim in which another defendant, including the manufacturer, is properly before the court and from whom total recovery may be had for plaintiff's claim.
3. A defendant may move for dismissal under this section within the time for filing an answer or other responsive pleading unless permitted by the court at a later time for good cause shown. The motion shall be accompanied by an affidavit which shall be made under oath and shall state that the defendant is aware of no facts or circumstances upon which a verdict might be reached against him, other than his status as a seller in the stream of commerce.
4. The parties shall have sixty days in which to conduct discovery on the issues raised in the motion and affidavit. The court for good cause shown, may extend the time for discovery, and may enter a protective order pursuant to the rules of civil ...

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