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Thomas v. Firerock Prods., LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division

August 22, 2014

AMY THOMAS; JOHN THOMAS; CAROLE MURPHEY; and SMITH MURPHEY, PLAINTIFFS
v.
FIREROCK PRODUCTS, LLC; and GENERAL SHALE BRICK, INC., DEFENDANTS

Page 784

For Amy Thomas, John Thomas, Carole Murphey, Smith Murphey, Plaintiffs: Jeffrey Keith Pearson, LEAD ATTORNEY, Sarah Lynn Dickey, THE PEARSON LAW FIRM, PLLC, Oxford, MS.

For Selective Way Insurance Company, Intervenor Defendant: William A. Patterson, LEAD ATTORNEY, WILKINS, STEPHENS & TIPTON, Jackson, MS.

For Firerock Products,LLC, Defendant: Paul V. Cassisa , Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, BUTLER SNOW LLP, Oxford, MS.

For General Shale Brick, Inc., Defendant: Jeremy G. Alpert, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, Ryan M. Skertich, LEAD ATTORNEY, GLANKLER BROWN, PLLC, Memphis, TN.

Page 785

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT GENERAL SHALE BRICK'S MOTION TO DISMISS

Debra M. Brown, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

This is a product liability action brought under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2301, et seq., and Mississippi state law. In their amended complaint, Plaintiffs Amy Thomas, John Thomas, Carole Murphey, and Smith Murphey allege that Defendant General Shale Brick, Inc., sold them defective fireplace construction materials manufactured by Defendant Fire Rock [1] Products, LLC. Doc. #47. Before the Court is Defendant General Shale Brick's motion to dismiss. Doc. #48.

I

Applicable Standards

As a general matter, " [a] pleading that states a claim for relief must contain ... a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). In the event

Page 786

a complaint falls short of this directive, a defendant may move to dismiss the claim for " failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In considering the interplay between Rule 8 and Rule 12, the United States Supreme Court has explained that:

To survive a motion to dismiss [for failure to state a claim], a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. 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. The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (citing Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-58, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). Under the Rule 12(b)(6) standard, a " court must accept all well-pleaded facts as true and view those facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Harold H. Huggins Realty, Inc. v. FNC, Inc., 634 F.3d 787, 803 n.44 (5th Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks and punctuation omitted).

II

Factual Allegations

Taking the allegations of the complaint and the documents attached to the complaint as true, the Court derives the following facts:

On an unknown date in 2005, Plaintiffs Carole and Smith Murphey purchased 220 Fire Rock 9" split firebricks from Defendant General Shale Brick. Doc. #47 at ¶ 6. The bricks were delivered to the Murpheys on November 10, 2005. Id. Also in 2005, Plaintiffs Amy and John Thomas purchased 300 Fire Rock 9" split firebricks from General Shale. Id. at ¶ 7. The bricks were delivered to the Thomases on October 28, 2005. Id.

Before and after the delivery of the firebricks, representatives of General Shale informed Plaintiffs that the " Fire[]Rock products would have a warranty, which would include a twenty ... year warranty against any and all defects in workmanship and materials." Doc. #47 at ¶ 9. Representatives of General Shale and Fire Rock also informed the plaintiffs that the firebricks " have a one hundred ... year life expectancy and would likely outlast plaintiffs' homes." Id.

The Murpheys and Thomases installed fireplaces in their homes using the Fire Rock firebricks purchased from General Shale. Doc. # 47 at ¶ 11. After several uses of their fireplaces, Plaintiffs noticed " severe cracking" in the Fire Rock firebricks. Id. A subsequent inspection revealed heat damage to electrical wiring located behind a fireplace in the Thomases' home. Id. at ¶ 13.

At an unknown time, Plaintiffs notified Defendants of the damage to the firebricks. Doc. #47 at ¶ 14. Following this notice, " Defendant Fire[]Rock and Defendant General Shale acted in concert to resolve the problems with plaintiffs' fireplaces ...." Id. Plaintiffs allege that " [t]hroughout this process, plaintiffs relied upon defendants' efforts to repair and replace the defective fireplace materials and ...


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