Wilhelm, et al v. Thor Motor Coach, Inc., et al
ORDER AND REASONS: IT IS ORDERED that Defendants' 11 motion is GRANTED. Plaintiffs are directed to submit all of their claims to arbitration. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this case is stayed and ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSED as set forth in document. Signed by Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle on 6/5/2017. (mmv)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
MICHAEL JOHN WILHELM, ET AL.
THOR MOTOR COACH, INC., ET AL.
ORDER AND REASONS
Before the Court is Defendants’ “Motion to Stay Proceedings
Pending Arbitration.” Rec. Doc. 11. Plaintiffs timely filed an
opposition memorandum. Rec. Doc. 14. Defendants then requested
(Rec. Doc. 15), and were granted (Rec. Doc. 16), leave to file a
reply memorandum (Rec. Doc. 17). For the reasons discussed below,
IT IS ORDERED that the motion (Rec. Doc. 11) is GRANTED.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
This case arises out of the July 12, 2016 sale of a motorhome,
a 2017 Thor Synergy assembled by Defendant Thor Motor Coach, Inc.
(“Thor”), from Defendant Dixie Motors, LLC (“Dixie Motors”) to
Michael and Betsy Wilhelm (“Plaintiffs”). Rec. Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 7-8.
After purchasing the motorhome, Plaintiffs noticed several minor
defects, including, for example, excessive air noise from the cabin
door, a torn seal, a twisted track on a drawer, a leaky bathroom
hardware. Id. at ¶ 14. Plaintiffs returned the motorhome to various
authorized dealers for repairs “on numerous occasions,” but the
defects remained. Id. at ¶ 15. Plaintiffs informed Defendants of
the defects and requested a rescission of the sale. Id. at ¶ 17.
When Defendants refused, Plaintiffs filed the instant suit on
February 9, 2017, alleging violations of Louisiana redhibition
laws (LA. CIV. CODE ANN. art. 2520), violations of the Magnuson-Moss
Warranty Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 2301-12), and negligent repair, and
requesting damages, rescission, and attorney’s fees and costs. Id.
at ¶¶ 18-48.
THE PARTIES’ CONTENTIONS
Defendants allege that Plaintiffs entered into a written
arbitration agreement when they purchased the motorhome. Rec. Doc.
11-2 at 1.
Plaintiffs respond that the arbitration agreement (1) is
invalid, because it was not signed by a representative of either
is a violation of the Louisiana Unfair Trade
Practices Act (“LUTPA”); and/or (3) does not cover claims asserted
against Thor, which was not a party to the agreement. Rec. Doc. 14
III. LAW AND ANALYSIS
“Arbitration is favored in the law.” Grigson v. Creative
Artists Agency, L.L.C., 210 F.3d 524, 526 (5th Cir. 2000) (citing
Moses H. Cone Mem’l Hosp. v. Mercury Constr. Corp., 460 U.S. 1,
24-25 (1983)). Section 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”)
arbitration a controversy thereafter arising out of such contract
or transaction . . . shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable,
save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the
revocation of any contract.” 9 U.S.C. § 2.1
According to the courts, § 2 “is a congressional declaration
notwithstanding any state substantive or procedural policies to
the contrary.” Moses H. Cone Mem’l Hosp., 460 U.S. at 24 (citing
§ 2). It was “Congress’s clear intent . . . to move the parties to
an arbitrable dispute out of court and into arbitration as quickly
concerning the scope of arbitrable issues should be resolved in
favor of arbitration . . . .” Id. at 24-25.
Thus, “where the contract contains an arbitration clause,
there is a presumption of arbitrability.” Tittle v. Enron Corp.,
463 F.3d 410, 418 (5th Cir. 2006) (quoting AT&T Techs., Inc. v.
Thus, as a threshold matter, the FAA applies where the transaction at issue
involves commerce. See, e.g. New Orleans Cold Storage & Warehouse Co., Ltd. v.
Grenzebach Corp., No. 15-6642, 2016 WL 279012, at *4 (E.D. La. Jan. 22, 2016)
(noting that “[t]he Fifth Circuit has held that ‘[c]itizens of different states
engaged in performance of contractual operations in one of those states are
engaged in a contract involving commerce under the FAA.’”) (quoting Mesa
Operating Ltd. P’ship v. La. Intrastate Gas Corp., 797 F.2d 238, 243 (5th Cir.
1986) (citing § 2)). Here, Plaintiffs are Pennsylvania citizens who purchased
a motorhome assembled in Indiana from a dealer in Louisiana. See Rec. Docs. 1
at ¶¶ 1-3; 11 at 1. Plaintiffs do not dispute that this transaction involved
Primerica Life Ins. Co. v. Brown, 304 F.3d 469, 471 (5th Cir. 2002)
(noting that any doubts regarding arbitrability should be resolved
in favor of arbitration) (citing Southland Corp. v. Keating, 465
U.S. 1, 10 (1984))). Nonetheless, § 2 contains a savings clause
that provides that an agreement to arbitrate is “enforceable, save
upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation
of any contract.” § 2 (emphasis added). Accordingly, to determine
if the parties agreed to arbitrate, the court should consider “(1)
whether a valid agreement to arbitrate between the parties exist;
and (2) whether the dispute in question falls within the scope of
that arbitration agreement.” Pennzoil Expl. & Prod. Co. v. Ramco
Energy Ltd., 139 F.3d 1061, 1065 (5th Cir. 1998) (citing Webb v.
Investacorp, Inc., 89 F.3d 252, 258 (5th Cir. 1996); In re Hornbeck
Offshore (1984) Corp., 981 F.2d 752, 754 (5th Cir. 1993); Midwest
Mech. Contractors, Inc. v. Commonwealth Constr. Co., 801 F.2d 748,
750 (5th Cir. 1986)).
As to the first inquiry, courts “apply ‘ordinary contract
principles.’” Will-Drill Res., Inc. v. Samson Res. Co., 352 F.3d
211, 214 (5th Cir. 2003) (quoting Fleetwood Enters., Inc. v.
Gaskamp, 280 F.3d 1069, 1073, opinion supplemented on denial of
reh’g,, 303 F.3d 570 (5th Cir. 2002)); see also Webb, 89 F.3d at
258. Under Louisiana law, a valid contract requires capacity,
consent, a lawful cause, and a valid object. Granger v. Christus
Health Ctr. La., 12-1892, p. 33 (La. 6/28/13); 144 So. 3d 736,
760-61 (internal citations omitted); see also LA. CIV. CODE
arts. 1918, 1927, 1966, 1971. Consent is “established through offer
and acceptance,” which may generally “be made orally, in writing,
or by action or inaction that under the circumstances is clearly
indicative of consent.” LA. CIV. CODE
art. 1927. Further, “it
is the burden of the party seeking to enforce a contract to show
the contract exists.” FIA Card Servs., N.A. v. Weaver, 10-1372, p.
16 (La. 3/15/11); 62 So. 3d 709, 719 (citing LA. CIV. CODE
1831; Kosmala v. Paul, 569 So. 2d 158, 162 (La. App. 1 Cir. 1990),
writ denied, 572 So. 2d 91 (La. 1991) (“The party seeking to
enforce arbitration provisions has the burden of showing the
existence of a valid contract to arbitrate”) (citing Ciaccio v.
Cazayoux, 519 So. 2d 799, 800 (La. App. 1 Cir. 1987))).
As to the second inquiry, “the Fifth Circuit distinguishes
between broad and narrow arbitration clauses.” Broussard v. First
Tower Loan, LLC, 150 F. Supp. 3d 709, 724 (E.D. La. 2015), as
modified on denial of reconsideration, No. 15-1161, 2016 WL 879995
(E.D. La. Mar. 8, 2016).
If the clause is broad, the action should be stayed and
the arbitrators permitted to decide whether the dispute
falls within the clause. On the other hand, if the clause
is narrow, the matter should not be referred to
arbitration or the action stayed, unless the court
determines that the dispute falls within the clause.
Hornbeck, 981 F.2d at 754-55 (citing Sedco, Inc. v. Petroleos
Mexicanos Mexican Nat’l Oil Co. (Pennex), 767 F.2d 1140, 1145 n.10
(5th Cir. 1985), holding modified by Freudensprung v. Offshore
Tech. Servs., Inc., 379 F.3d 327 (5th Cir. 2004) (citing Prudential
Lines, Inc. v. Exxon Corp., 704 F.2d 59, 64 (2d Cir. 1983))). “A
intended to cover ‘all aspects of the relationship’ [such that] a
dispute then need only ‘touch matters covered’ by the agreement in
order to compel arbitration.” Grant v. Houser, 469 F. App’x 310,
315-16 (5th Cir. 2012) (quoting Pennzoil, 139 F.3d at 1067-68).
Clauses containing the “any dispute” language are of the broad
type. Id. (citing Sedco, 767 F.2d at 1144; Mar-Len of La., Inc. v.
Parsons-Gilbane, 773 F.2d 633, 634 (5th Cir. 1985);
Hardee’s Food Sys., Inc., 918 F.2d 34, 38 (5th Cir. 1990)).
arbitration pursuant to a written arbitration agreement, the court
shall, on application of one of the parties, “stay the trial of
the action until such arbitration has been had in accordance with
the terms of the agreement . . . .” 9 U.S.C. § 3.
Included in the instant record is a document dated July 12,
2016 and clearly labeled “ARBITRATION AGREEMENT.” See Rec. Doc.
11-3 at 8. The document specifically provides that
“We”, “us” and “Dealer” refer to the Dealer signing
below, and includes the Dealer’s employees, agents, and
parent and affiliated companies and their employees and
agents. “Parties” refers to you and us . . . . “Claim(s)”
includes any and all disputes, claims or controversies
between the Parties relating to the Vehicle or arising
out of or relating to: (a) the application for and the
terms of and enforceability of the sale . . . of the
Vehicle, (b) the purchase or terms of any warranty,
service agreement, maintenance plan, . . . or any other
product or insurance, (c) any claims of breach of
contract, negligence, misrepresentation, conversion,
fraud, or unfair and deceptive trade practices, (d) any
claim of a violation of any state or federal statute or
regulation, or (e) the Vehicle’s condition, warranty,
workmanship, servicing, maintenance, or repair.
. . .
Upon the request of a party, any and all Claims(s) [sic]
shall be decided in binding arbitration . . . .
. . .
The parties agree that once one of the parties has
elected to arbitrate, binding arbitration is the
exclusive method for resolving any and all Claims.
. . .
This Agreement evidences a transaction involving
interstate commerce. The Parties acknowledge and agree
that the [FAA] shall govern any arbitration under this
Agreement. The arbitrator’s decision shall be final and
binding, except for any right of appeal provided by the
FAA or the rules of the selected Arbitration Forum.
Id. The document was signed by both Plaintiffs and lists “DIXIE RV
SUPERSTORES” as the dealer. Id. Thus, on its face, it appears that
a valid arbitration agreement exists and that Plaintiffs’ claims
of breach of express and implied warranties, violations of federal
statute, and related misconduct fall within the scope of the broad
Defendants’ motion for three reasons.
First, Plaintiffs argue that the document is not a valid
contract because it was not signed by a representative of Dixie
Motors. Rec. Doc. 14 at 4-6.2
While there was some dispute as to the authenticity of Plaintiffs’ signatures
on a separate document, “Plaintiffs do not challenge the authenticity of their
signatures” on the instant document. Rec. Doc. 14 at 2. The validity of
The Fifth Circuit has previously recognized that the FAA
requires only that an arbitration agreement be in writing and that
“a party may be bound by an agreement to arbitrate even in the
absence of his signature.” Valero Ref., Inc. v. M/T Lauberhorn,
813 F.2d 60, 64 (5th Cir. 1987) (citing McAllister Bros. v. A & S
Transp. Co., 621 F.2d 519, 524 (2d Cir. 1980); First Citizens Mun.
Corp. v. Pershing Div. of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Sec. Corp.,
546 F. Supp. 884, 887 (N.D. Ga. 1982)); see also Arnold v. Sphere
Drake Ins., PLC, No. 92-1509, 1992 WL 348352, at *3 (E.D. La. Nov.
18, 1992) (“An examination of the case law on the issue of whether
an arbitration provision is binding reveals several cases which
held that a signature is not required. This Court was not directed
to any cases, nor did it locate any on its own, in which a court
held that a signature is required in order for an arbitration
provision to be binding.”) (citations omitted); Figueroa v. W-W
Autos., Inc., No. 02-201, 2002 WL 31992188, at *4 (N.D. Miss. Nov.
5, 2002) (enforcing a second arbitration agreement where the
plaintiff signed the second agreement, the defendant signed the
first agreement, and the defendant’s name was typed along the
bottom of the second agreement); Hansford v. Cappaert Manufactured
Hous., 40,160, p. 6 (La. App. 2 Cir. 9/21/05); 911 So. 2d 901,
Plaintiffs’ signatures on the separate document is irrelevant to the instant
motion and therefore will not be considered.
(enforcing an arbitration agreement where a husband signed, but
his wife and a representative of the manufacturer did not sign).
arbitration agreement, Fifth Circuit case law recognizes that an
arbitration agreement may be enforced against a non-signatory, and
Louisiana case law enforces arbitration agreements where one or
more parties failed to sign, the fact that a representative of
Dixie Motors failed to sign the document does not invalidate the
arbitration agreement. Further, the Court is not persuaded by
Plaintiffs’ attempt to invalidate a contract that they signed. In
Dufrene v. HBOS Manufacturing, LP, the Louisiana Fourth Circuit
applied the Louisiana Arbitration Law (“LAL,” LA. REV. STAT. ANN. §§
9:4201-17), which is “virtually identical” to the FAA. 03-2201, p.
6 (La. App. 4 Cir. 4/7/04); 872 So. 2d 1206, 1211, on reh’g
(5/28/04). In that case, the purchasers of a mobile home signed an
arbitration agreement, but the seller did not, and the appellate
established their knowledge of the existence of a valid arbitration
agreement. On rehearing, the court noted that the LAL does not
require a written arbitration agreement to be signed and that,
absent a signature, “the effect or validity of the agreement may
be shown by the actions and conduct by the parties.” Id. at 1213
(citations omitted). Because the purchasers signed the agreement
and the seller filed a motion to stay pending arbitration, the
court found that the seller’s “failure to sign did not invalidate
the agreement and [the seller’s] actions show the effect or
validity of the agreement.” Id. See also In re Succession of
Taravella, 98-834, p. 3 (La. App. 5 Cir. 4/27/99); 734 So. 2d 149,
151 (“When an agreement lacks a signature, the actions and the
conduct of the party or parties, who did not sign, may show the
effect or validity of the agreement”) (emphasis added) (citations
omitted); Alford v. Johnson Rice & Co., 99-3119, p. 5 (La. App. 4
arbitration agreements “do not have to be signed” under the FAA);
Jasper Contractors, Inc. v. E-Claim.com, LLC, 11-0978, p. 9 n.7
(La. App. 1 Cir. 5/4/12); 94 So. 3d 123, 130 n.7 (noting that when
“the party seeking to avoid arbitration has not signed any contract
requiring arbitration . . . such a party may not have agreed to
submit grievances to arbitration at all”) (emphasis added).
Second, Plaintiffs argue that Louisiana law invalidates “any
term that fixes venue” in a consumer transaction. Rec. Doc. 14 at
6-7 (citing LA. REV. STAT. ANN. § 51:1418(C) (which provides, in
relevant part, that “[t]he following terms of a writing executed
by a consumer are invalid with respect to consumer transactions or
modifications thereof: . . . any term that fixes venue”); LA. REV.
STAT. ANN. § 51:1407(A) (“It being against the public policy of the
state of Louisiana to allow a contractual selection of venue or
jurisdiction contrary to the provisions of the Louisiana Code of
Civil Procedure, no provision of any contract which purports to
waive these provisions of venue, or to waive or select venue or
jurisdiction in advance of the filing of any civil action, may be
enforced against any plaintiff in an action brought in these
Defendants correctly respond that the FAA preempts any state
law that attempts to prohibit the enforcement of otherwise valid
arbitration agreements. Rec. Doc. 17 at 3.
“In enacting § 2 of the [FAA], Congress declared a national
policy favoring arbitration and withdrew the power of the states
to require a judicial forum for the resolution of claims which the
Keating, 465 U.S. at 10. In other words, “Congress intended to
enforceability of arbitration agreements.” Id. at 861 (footnotes
omitted). See also Allied-Bruce Terminix Cos., Inc. v. Dobson, 513
U.S. 265, 281 (1995) (noting that “§ 2 gives States a method for
protecting consumers against unfair pressure to agree to . . . an
unwanted arbitration provision . . . under general contract law
principles . . . . What States may not do is decide that a contract
is fair enough to enforce all its basic terms (price, service,
credit), but not fair enough to enforce its arbitration clause.
The Act makes any such state policy unlawful, for that kind of
policy would place arbitration clauses on an unequal ‘footing,’
directly contrary to the Act’s language and Congress’ intent.”)
(citations omitted); Perry v. Thomas, 482 U.S. 483, 491 (1987)
(holding that “[t]his clear federal policy places § 2 of the Act
in unmistakable conflict with California’s § 229 requirement that
litigants be provided a judicial forum for resolving wage disputes.
Therefore, under the Supremacy Clause, the state statute must give
way.”); Aguillard v. Auction Mgmt. Corp., 04-2804, p. 8 (La.
6/29/05); 908 So. 2d 1, 8 (“The United States Supreme Court has
made it clear that the substantive provisions of the FAA preempt
state law . . . courts must enforce arbitration agreements in
contracts covered by the FAA, notwithstanding any state statutory
or jurisprudential rules to the contrary.”).
In Simpson v. Grimes, the plaintiffs made the same argument
made by Plaintiffs here:
that, because they asserted claims under
the LUTPA, the arbitration clause “fixing venue” was rendered
unenforceable by § 1418. 02-0869, p. 7 (La. App. 3 Cir. 5/21/03);
849 So. 2d 740, 745, writ denied, 03-2497 (La. 12/19/03); 861 So.
2d 567, abrogated on other grounds by Aguillard, 908 So. 2d 1. The
claims could not be raised in cases involving securities and, more
arbitrability preempts any state law to the contrary.” Id. at 746
(citing Keating, 465 U.S. 1).
invalidate otherwise valid arbitration agreements. If it did, it
would be preempted by the FAA. Therefore, this argument is without
Finally, Plaintiffs argue that Defendant Thor was not a party
to the agreement and therefore cannot compel arbitration. Rec.
Doc. 14 at 1. Defendants respond that the arbitration agreement
applies to both of them, even though Thor did not sign the
agreement, because “Plaintiffs’ claims against both Dixie and
[Thor] arise out of the purchase of the Motor Home and the [Thor]
warranties purchased with the Motor Home” and Plaintiffs allege
misconduct and liability” against both Defendants. Rec. Doc. 11-2
Plaintiffs counter that Thor is not mentioned by name in the
agreement, “the term ‘manufacturer’ is not used, nor is there any
direct reference to any claim other than against a ‘Dealer’, which
is Dixie Motors, Inc.” Rec. Doc. 14 at 2.
This Court previously explained that a non-signatory may
compel arbitration and stay court proceedings when “the nonsignatory’s potential liability derives from the signatory’s
conduct, and the claims against the non-signatory are based on the
same operative facts and are inherently inseparable from the claims
asserted against the signatory.” Ryan v. Thunder Restorations,
Inc., No. 09-3261, 2011 WL 2680482, at *8 (E.D. La. July 8, 2011)
(citing Harvey v. Joyce, 199 F.3d 790, 796 (5th Cir. 2000); Subway
Equip. Leasing Corp. v. Forte, 169 F.3d 324, 329 (5th Cir. 1999)).
adversely affect the signatory’s right to arbitration. Id. (citing
Subway, 169 F.3d at 329).
Alternatively, a signatory “may be equitably estopped from
litigating its claims against non-parties in court and may be
ordered to arbitration” when (1) “the signatory . . . must rely on
the terms of the written agreement in asserting its claims against
a non-signatory” or (2) “the signatory raises allegations of
substantially interdependent and concerted misconduct by both the
non-signatory and one or more signatories to the contract.” Brown
v. Pac. Life Ins. Co., 462 F.3d 384, 398 (5th Cir. 2006) (citing
Grigson, 210 F.3d at 526-27).
The Fifth Circuit clarified in 2014 that under 2009 Supreme
Court precedent, “a non-signatory to an arbitration agreement may
compel a signatory to that agreement to arbitrate based on, inter
alia, equitable estoppel if the relevant state contract law so
permits.” Crawford Prof’l Drugs, Inc. v. CVS Caremark Corp., 748
F.3d 249, 261 (5th Cir. 2014) (emphasis added) (citing Arthur
Andersen LLP v. Carlisle, 556 U.S. 624, 627 (2009)). “Consequently,
prior decisions allowing non-signatories to compel arbitration
based on federal common law, rather than state contract law, such
as Grigson, have been modified to conform with Arthur Andersen.”
Id. (emphasis added) (citations omitted).
In Pershing, L.L.C. v. Bevis, the Fifth Circuit found that,
even though the district court addressed the dispute under federal
precedent, “federal law appears to be coextensive with Louisiana
law.” 600 F. App’x 754, 756 (5th Cir. 2015) (emphasis added)
(citations omitted). Accordingly, the Fifth Circuit noted that a
non-signatory may compel a signatory to arbitrate in the two “rare”
situations anticipated by Grigson: (1) where the signatory asserts
a contractual claim against a non-signatory “then refuse[s] to
honor an arbitration provision contained in that contract” or (2)
]signatory and one or more of the signatories to the contract.’”
Id. (footnotes and citations omitted).
For example, in Shroyer v. Foster, the Louisiana First Circuit
recognized that non-signatories may be bound to arbitrate when
they “sue to enforce the provisions of a contract that contains
the arbitration language.” 01-0385, p. 8 (La. App. 1 Cir. 3/28/02);
814 So. 2d 83, 89, superseded by statute on other grounds, as
stated in Green v. Regions Bank, 13-0771, p. 6 (La. App. 1 Cir.
3/19/14); 2014 WL 3555820, at *6. This is because “[t]he party
cannot have it both ways, he cannot rely on the contract when it
works to [his] advantage and then repudiate it when it works to
his disadvantage.” Id.
Further, this Court recently recognized that “at least one
Louisiana appellate court has expressly agreed with Grigson and
the ability of a court to apply equitable estoppel when the
misconduct.” LeBlanc v. Tex. Brine Co., LLC, No. 12-2059, 2016 WL
2849506, at *6 n.7 (E.D. La. May 10, 2016) (citing Saavedra v.
Dealmaker Devs., LLC, 08-1239 (La. App. 4 Cir. 3/18/09); 8 So. 3d
758, 764 n.5, writ denied, 09-0875, p. 7 (La. 6/5/09); 9 So. 3d
defendants, though multiple juridical entities, “formed a single
business enterprise,” his arguments applied to all defendants, and
he used the term defendant to refer to all the defendants)). In
LeBlanc, even though the party “carefully pleaded its claims
against the separate entities,” one a signatory and one a nonsignatory, “it remain[ed] that the various tortious acts [were]
not wholly separate and apart from each other.” 2016 WL 2849506,
at *8. “[I]t [was] nearly impossible to differentiate where one
entity’s fault would begin and another’s would end.” Id. Thus,
“[t]he Court [was] persuaded that the allegations of misconduct .
. . [were] no less ‘concerted’ or ‘interdependent’ than those made
in the many cases where equitable estoppel was deemed to be
appropriate, notwithstanding the ‘rare’ nature of the remedy.” Id.
(citing Griffin v. ABN Amro Mortg. Grp. Inc., 378 F. App’x 437,
[plaintiffs’] default in terms of payment of the note and deed of
trust, and subsequent foreclosure proceedings”); Brown, 462 F.3d
at 398 (where the claims against the non-signatories would depend,
“in some part, upon the nature of” the tortious acts allegedly
committed by the signatories and the plaintiffs failed to allege
tortious acts committed by the non-signatories that were “separate
and apart” from a signatory’s); Ford Motor Co. v. Ables, 207 F.
App’x 443, 448 (5th Cir. 2006) (allowing a non-signatory to compel
interdependent and concerted misconduct” by the signatory and nonsignatory
argument in light of Grigson and its progeny); Jureczki v. Bank
One Tex., N.A., 75 F. App’x 272, 274-75 (5th Cir. 2003) (affirming
agreement to assert their claims and “[a]t the heart of each of
the [plaintiffs’] claims is the allegation that all Defendants
acted in concert to fraudulently withdraw funds from their deposit
allegations in Plaintiffs’ complaint apply to both Defendants.
See, e.g., Rec. Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 10 (“Defendants impliedly warranted
that the repair work had been performed in a good and workmanlike
manner”); 15 (“Defendants failed to repair the vehicle so as to
bring it into conformity with the warranties”); 17 (“Plaintiffs
directly notified defendants . . . of the defective conditions .
. . [and] that they wanted a rescission of the sale . . . but
defective Synergy”); 24 (“Plaintiffs have provided the Defendants
sufficient opportunity to repair”); 25 (“Plaintiffs have performed
. . . every duty required . . . except as may have been excused .
. . by the conduct of the Defendants”); 27 (“Defendants failed to
perform the repair work . . . [t]his conduct by those Defendants
constitutes a breach of the implied warranties under Louisiana
law”); 28 (“As a proximate result of Defendants’ misconduct . . .
Plaintiffs have incurred . . . legal fees”); 34 (“The actions of
Defendants . . . constitute . . . a violation of the MagnusonMoss Warranty Act”); 35 (similar to ¶ 25); 36 (“As a . . . result
of the acts and omissions of Defendants”); 37 (similar to ¶ 28);
40 (“Defendants owed a duty of care to Plaintiffs . . . Defendant
has a ‘high duty’ to detect and correct defects . . . Defendants
breached this duty”); 41 (“Defendants’ attempted repairs . . .
were refused or done so negligently”); 42 (“As a . . . proximate
result of Defendants’ negligent failure to repair”); 47 (“based on
Plaintiff[s]’ reasonable reliance on the false representations and
warranties of the Defendants”). Unlike the party seeking to avoid
carefully plead separate claims against Defendants Dixie Motors
and Thor. Plaintiffs’ claims all relate to alleged defects in the
motorhome and Defendants’ alleged failure to repair those defects.
This Court is persuaded that the alleged misconduct is sufficiently
arbitration against the signatories, Plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs’ claims fall within the scope of that agreement,
IT IS ORDERED that Defendants’ motion (Rec. Doc. 11) is
GRANTED. Plaintiffs are directed to submit all of their claims to
ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSED. No later than thirty (30) days after the
arbitrator’s final decision, either party may file a motion to
reopen for good cause, i.e. due process, attaching the related
decision. If the case is disposed of through arbitration, or any
other means, Plaintiffs shall promptly file a motion to dismiss
within 30 days of that disposition.
Failure to timely comply
with any of above deadlines may lead to dismissal of claims
without further notice.
New Orleans, Louisiana, this 5th day of June, 2017.
SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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