United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
J. CONRAD, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendants Axalta
Coating Systems, LLC and Axalta Coating Systems U.S.A.,
LLC's (collectively, “Axalta”) Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, (Doc. No. 30), and
the parties' associated briefs and exhibits; the
Memorandum and Recommendation (“M&R”) of the
United States Magistrate Judge, (Doc. No. 34), recommending
that Axalta's Motion be granted; Plaintiff's
Objections thereto, (Doc. No. 35); and Axalta's
responsive briefing to Plaintiff's Objections, (Doc. No.
38). Also before the Court is Defendants Advance Auto Parts
Incorporated and Advance Stores Company, Incorporated's
(collectively, “Advance”) Motion to Dismiss
Amended Complaint, (Doc. No. 36), and the parties'
associated briefs and exhibits; the M&R, (Doc. No. 40),
recommending that Advance's Motion be granted in part and
denied in part; Plaintiff's Objection to the M&R,
(Doc. No. 41); and Advance's responsive briefing to
Plaintiff's Objection, (Doc. No. 42). The Motions are
ripe for adjudication.
the factual allegations of the Amended Complaint as true,
Plaintiff modified a 1970 Dodge Challenger (“the
vehicle”) for a customer in May 2015. As part of that
process, Plaintiff purchased paint manufactured by Axalta
from an Advance Auto Parts store in Mooresville, North
Carolina. Plaintiff then painted the vehicle using the paint
supplied by Advance Auto Parts.
October and November 2015, after it became apparent that the
paint was defective, Plaintiff communicated directly with
Axalta on several occasions. Axalta employees advised
Plaintiff that the paint had not been properly mixed by
Advance Auto Parts. Plaintiff spent more than $75, 000.00 to
strip and repaint the car.
February 15, 2018, Plaintiff filed suit in Iredell County
Superior Court against Defendants, pursuing various
negligence and warranty claims. (Doc. No. 1-1 ¶¶
5-72). On March 22, 2018, Defendants removed the action to
this Court on diversity grounds. (Doc. No. 1). Removal has
not been challenged and appears proper. On June 29, 2018,
Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint, (Doc. No. 27), alleging
claims for negligence, breach of express warranty, breach of
implied warranty of merchantability, and breach of implied
warranty for fitness for a particular purpose. On July 11,
2018, Axalta, filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's
Amended Complaint. (Doc. No. 30). And on August 8, 2018,
Advance filed a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint.
(Doc. No. 36).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
district court may assign dispositive pretrial matters,
including motions to dismiss, to a magistrate judge for
“proposed findings of fact and recommendations.”
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and (B). The Federal Magistrate
Act provides that “a district court shall make a de
novo determination of those portions of the report or
specific proposed findings or recommendations to which
objection is made.” Id. at §
636(b)(1)(C); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3); Camby v. Davis,
718 F.2d 198, 200 (4th Cir. 1983).
has filed objections to both M&Rs. The Court addresses
each M&R and Plaintiff's respective objections to the
M&Rs in turn.
The M&R on Axalta's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No.
has objected to the M&R's recommendation to grant
Axalta's Motion to Dismiss. In support of its objection,
Plaintiff makes two specific arguments: (1) Axalta owed
Plaintiff a duty to ensure that Advance's employee was
qualified to mix the paint; and (2) the economic loss
doctrine is inapplicable to Plaintiff's breach of
warranty claim against Axalta.
The M&R correctly concluded that Plaintiff cannot
maintain a negligence claim against Axalta.
M&R concluded that Plaintiff had not plead any facts to
support a negligence claim against Axalta. “Rather,
Plaintiff alleges that Advance Auto Parts['] employees
failed to properly mix the paint before it was applied to the
car.” (Doc. No. 34 at 4). In response, Plaintiff
attempts to manufacture a duty between Axalta and Plaintiff.
Plaintiff now contends-for the first time-that because Axalta
sold their product through a retailer (i.e., Advance),
Axalta, together with Advance, owed Plaintiff a duty to