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Farrell Creations & Restorations LLC v. Advance Auto Parts, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division

March 29, 2019

FARRELL CREATIONS & RESTORATIONS LLC Plaintiff,
v.
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS, INC. et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          ROBERT J. CONRAD, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         THIS 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.

         I. BACKGROUND [1]

         Accepting 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.

         In 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.

         On 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).

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A 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).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff has filed objections to both M&Rs. The Court addresses each M&R and Plaintiff's respective objections to the M&Rs in turn.

         A. The M&R on Axalta's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 34)

         Plaintiff 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.

         1. The M&R correctly concluded that Plaintiff cannot maintain a negligence claim against Axalta.

         The 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 ...


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