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Meyers v. Garmin International, Inc.

United States District Court, Tenth Circuit

January 23, 2014

BRIAN MEYERS, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
GARMIN INTERNATIONAL, INC., et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

CARLOS MURGUIA United States District Judge

Brian Meyers (“plaintiff”), on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, brings this action against Garmin International, Inc. and Garmin U.S.A., Inc. (collectively “defendants”). This matter is before the court on Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 16).

I. Factual Background

Defendants manufacture, market and sell NÜVI-brand global positioning systems (“GPS”). Defendants refer to NÜVI GPS devices as “PNDs, ” or portable navigation devices, representing that all PNDs include a rechargeable battery so that the devices are suitable for on-the-go use. Defendants carry out their American operations–including the manufacture, sale, marketing, warranting and web-based advertising of NÜVI devices–from their Olathe, Kansas headquarters.

On August 5, 2011, plaintiff purchased a Garmin NÜVI 2460 LMT GPS device (“NÜVI 2460”) from J&R Music and Computer World (“J&R”), which is an authorized dealer of defendants. Before plaintiff purchased his NÜVI 2460, plaintiff reviewed defendants’ website and information therein concerning several models, including the NÜVI 2460. Defendants’ webpage for NÜVI 2460 set forth various product features and included specifications for the pre-installed battery: a lithium-ion battery with a battery life of three hours. Defendants’ webpage did not include information regarding the battery’s expected useful life.

Immediately after purchasing his NÜVI device and before first using it, plaintiff registered the device with defendants. In December 2012, plaintiff attempted to preprogram his NÜVI 2460 for an upcoming trip and was prompted to recharge the device after minimal use. Plaintiff observed during subsequent uses that the device’s battery life continued to decrease, requiring him to connect the device to an external power source in order to preserve functionality.

On April 7, 2013, plaintiff contacted defendants’ customer service through defendants’ website, which then directed him to email product.support@garmin.com. Defendants responded by email, providing a troubleshooting guide intended to resolve battery issues. Plaintiff followed the instructions, but to no avail. Plaintiff contacted defendants again in June 2013 by telephone. Plaintiff requested that defendants replace the battery in his NÜVI unit because the battery had failed. In response, defendants advised plaintiff that they do not offer a battery replacement service. Defendants instead offered to “overhaul” plaintiff’s unit for $120.

Plaintiff asserts in his First Amended Complaint claims for (1) declaratory relief; (2) violations of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act (“KCPA”) for deceptive and unconscionable practices; (3) breach of the implied warranty of merchantability; (4) unjust enrichment; and (5) breach of express warranty. Plaintiff asserts these counts on behalf of himself and a putative class of “all persons or entities who purchased a Garmin NÜVI brand portable navigation device.” Plaintiff also seeks to represent a subclass of those putative class members who “experienced battery failure within two years of purchase” and a subclass who additionally did not receive free repairs or replacement from defendants.

II. Legal Standard

The court will grant a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) only when the factual allegations fail to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Although the factual allegations need not be detailed, the claims must set forth entitlement to relief “through more than labels, conclusions and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” In re Motor Fuel Temperature Sales Practices Litig., 534 F.Supp.2d 1214, 1216 (D. Kan. 2008). The allegations must contain facts sufficient to state a claim that is plausible, rather than merely conceivable. Id. “All well-pleaded facts, as distinguished from conclusory allegations, must be taken as true.” Swanson v. Bixler, 750 F.2d 810, 813 (10th Cir. 1984); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 681 (2009). The court construes any reasonable inferences from these facts in favor of the plaintiff. Tal v. Hogan, 453 F.3d 1244, 1252 (10th Cir. 2006).

III. Discussion

With respect to each Count alleged by plaintiff, defendants contend that plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The court will separately address each Count in turn.

A. Kansas Consumer Protection Act (Counts II and III)

Plaintiff alleges that defendants engaged in deceptive conduct in violation of the KCPA by making willful and intentional omissions concerning the useful life of the batteries used in NÜVI devices. Plaintiff also alleges that defendants engaged in unconscionable practices by attempting to exclude the implied warranty of merchantability through defendants’ express limited warranty. Defendants argue that the consumer transaction about which plaintiff complains occurred outside Kansas, rendering plaintiff’s allegations insufficient as a matter of law to state a claim under the KCPA.

The purpose of the KCPA is to protect consumers from suppliers who commit deceptive and unconscionable practices and to protect consumers from unbargained for warranty disclaimers. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 50-623. The court must liberally construe the KCPA to promote these policies. Id.; Golden v. Den-Mat ...


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