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Lewis v. Jayco, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

August 29, 2019

SANDRA G. LEWIS, et al, Plaintiffs,
JAYCO, INC., et al, Defendants.



         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs Sandra G. Lewis and Wesley S. Lewis's (collectively, the "Plaintiffs") Motion to Amend the Complaint (the "Motion to Amend"), (ECF No. 32.) Defendants Jayco, Inc., Camping World RV Sales, LLC, and Camping World, Inc. (collectively, the "Defendants") responded, (ECF No. 37), and the Plaintiffs replied, (ECF No. 39). This matter is ripe for disposition. The Court dispenses with oral argument because the materials before it adequately present the facts and legal contentions and argument would not aid the decisional process. For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant the Motion to Amend.

         I. Background

         A. Summary of the Original Complaint and Procedural Background

         This matter arises out of the Plaintiffs' purchase of an allegedly defective motorhome. The Plaintiffs contend that "[p]rior to purchasing the [m]otorhome, the defendants and their agents made oral and written representations to the plaintiffs indicating that the [m]otorhome had been properly inspected prior to delivery and that the [m]otorhome was free from defects." (Aug. 12, 2019 Mem. Op. 2, ECF No. 42.) After several months of hearing "a loud 'clunking' noise that was produced after going over any bump on the road," the Plaintiffs took the motorhome to a mechanic for repair. (Id. 2-3.) The mechanic informed the Plaintiffs that the motorhome "was unsafe to drive." (Id. 3.)

         The Plaintiffs originally filed their four-count Complaint in the Circuit Court for Albemarle County seeking: (1) recession of the contract; and alleging (2) a violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, Va. Code § 59.1-196; (3) actual fraud; and, (4) a violation of the Magnuson-Moss Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2301(3). (ECF No. 1-1.) The Defendants removed the case to the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia invoking federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331(a)[1] and supplemental jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1367.[2] (See Not. Removal ¶¶ 4-7, ECF No. 1.) After hearing oral argument on the Motion to Amend and a motion to dismiss filed by the Defendants, [3] the Western District of Virginia transferred this matter to this Court. (Aug. 12, 2019 Mem. Op. 8.) In its order transferring the case and denying the motion to dismiss, the Western District of Virginia stated that "[a]ll other pending motions are left to the discretion of the transferee court." (Aug. 12, 2019 Order ¶ 4, ECF No. 43.) The Western District of Virginia did not decide the Motion to Amend. (Id.)

         B. Summary of the Parties* Positions on the Motion to Amend

         The Plaintiffs filed the Motion to Amend after participating in an agreed upon "limited discovery ... so Plaintiffs could adequately respond to Defendant Jayco, Inc's Motion to Dismiss." (Mot. Amend ¶ 3, ECF No. 32.) After completing this discovery, the Plaintiffs seek to amend their Complaint to:

(1) update the Background Facts section to include the information uncovered during the recent depositions ... (2) updat[e] Count II to include new allegations that arise from the facts discovered in the depositions ... (3) updat[e] Count III to include the facts discovered in the depositions ... and (4) includ[e] a new Count IV for Constructive Fraud based on the information discovered through the depositions.

(Id. ¶ 9.) The Plaintiffs also seek to remove "all references to former Defendant Jayco-VA, LLC" as the Court has dismissed that Defendant. (Id.)

         The Plaintiffs assert that their amendment "incorporates the critical new facts and allegations that could only have been discovered after the initial Complaint had been filed." (Id. ¶ 10.) Many of these allegations pertain to a statement made by a Camping World employee telling Sandra Lewis that "signing the Warranty Registration Form was necessary only because it is what registers [the Plaintiffs' motorhome] unit with Jayco' for the purposes of obtaining Defendant Jayco, Inc's two-year warranty." (Id. ¶ 5 (emphasis in original).) The Warranty Registration Form, however, also stated that the "signee had read and understood Defendant Jayco, Inc's Limited Warranty prior to signing the document, which included having read and understood the forum selection clause presented in the Limited Warranty." (Id. ¶ 6.) The Plaintiffs claim that the employee "did not provide any additional information regarding the importance of the Warranty Registration form and did not provide the Plaintiffs with a copy of the Limited Warranty prior to the signing of the Warranty Registration form." (Id. ¶ 8.) The Plaintiffs assert that they "would not have signed the document but for they relied on the statements of fact made by [the employee]... that signing the Warranty Form was necessary only to activate the Limited Warranty for the motorhome." (Id. ¶ 7.) The Plaintiffs attach a copy of their Proposed Amended Complaint to the Motion to Amend.[4]

         The Defendants responded and opposed the Motion to Amend stating that the "Plaintiffs have not provided good cause under Rule 16(b) for why the Court should grant leave to amend their pleading at this juncture, and the newly asserted allegations in their Proposed Amended Complaint are futile as they fail as a matter of law under a Rule 12(b)(6) standard." (Resp. Mot. Amend. 3, ECF No. 37.) The Defendants contend that the Plaintiffs must show good cause because they filed the Motion to Amend after the time to do so as specified in the Scheduling Order had passed. Alternatively, the Defendants assert that the employee's statement to Sandra Lewis "is not false" and that it "cannot be construed as a material misrepresentation because it was and is true," thus it fails as a matter of law pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). (Id. 8-9.)

         II. Standard of Review: Amending Pleadings

         "When a plaintiff seeks to amend [his or] her complaint after the deadline for doing so set in a scheduling order, [he or] she 'triggers both Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a) governing amendments to pleadings and Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b) governing modification to a scheduling order.'" Weisheit v. Rosenberg & Assocs., LLC, No. JKB-17-0823, 2018 WL 1942196, at * 2 (D. Md. Apr. 25, 2018) (quoting Rassoull v. Maximus, Inc.,209 F.R.D. 372, 373 (D. Md. 2002)). "First the Plaintiff 'must satisfy the good cause standard of Rule 16(b); if the moving party satisfies Rule 16(b), the movant ...

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