McDonald v. LG Electronics USA, Inc. et al
MEMORANDUM ORDER granting 28 Motion of Amazon.com to Dismiss plaintiff's First Amended Complaint; plaintiff's claims against Amazon are dismissed with prejudice. Signed by Judge Richard D. Bennett on 5/8/2017. (jnls, Deputy Clerk) Modified on 5/8/2017 (jnls, Deputy Clerk).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
LG CHEM LTD, et al.,
Civil Action No. RDB-16-1093
On November 10, 2016, this Court dismissed plaintiff Ryan McDonald’s claims
against defendant Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”), concluding that Count V of the original
Complaint was barred under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. §
230(c)(1), and that Counts VI and VII of the original Complaint failed to state plausible
claims for negligence and breach of implied warranty. (ECF No. 21.) McDonald v. LG Elecs.
USA, Inc., RDB-16-1093, --- F.Supp.3d---, 2016 WL 6648751 (D. Md. Nov. 10, 2016).
With leave of Court, plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint (ECF No. 26), and
Amazon once again has moved to dismiss the claims against it. (ECF No. 28.) The parties’
submissions have been reviewed, and no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md.
2016). For the reasons stated below, Amazon’s Motion is GRANTED, and plaintiff’s claims
against defendant Amazon are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
While plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint attempts to bolster the allegations set
forth in the original Complaint, the pleading again fails to state a plausible claim for relief
against defendant Amazon. To survive a motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), a complaint must contain facts sufficient to “state a claim to relief that is plausible
on its face.” Bell Atl., Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 684 (2009). Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint, by contrast, relies on conclusory
allegations and even mere conjecture: “Amazon may have also fulfilled Plaintiff’s order and
shipped the batteries from one of its many Fulfillment Centers, a detail to be determined
during the course of discovery.” (ECF No. 26 at ¶ 8) (emphasis added). Even ignoring the
fact that plaintiff’s original Complaint affirmatively stated that “[t]he batteries were sold and
shipped to Plaintiff by Safetymind, and Plaintiff received them,” plaintiff’s mere speculation
regarding Amazon’s possible role in order fulfillment and shipping does not state a plausible
claim for relief. (ECF No. 2 at ¶ 4.)
Furthermore, Count VI (Negligence) of the First Amended Complaint targets in
particular Amazon’s failure to communicate about the defect to plaintiff: “Defendants were
negligent in failing to sell, distribute and place in the stream of commerce a safe battery, and
for instead selling Plaintiff a defective and unreasonably dangerous battery, without
communicating said defect, creating a clear and immediate risk of serious injury to battery
(ECF No. 26 at ¶ 37) (emphasis added).
As set forth in this Court’s prior
Memorandum Opinion, plaintiff’s failure to warn claims against Amazon are barred under
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. (ECF No. 21.) Plaintiff’s effort to dodge
this bar by the use of new labels is unavailing.
Finally, Count VII (Breach of Implied Warranty) of the First Amended Complaint
merely adds the allegation that Amazon “is regularly engaged in the sale of batteries and
deal[s] in goods of this kind.” (ECF No. 26 at ¶ 39.) This Court previously explained that
under Maryland law, a “merchant” is defined as:
“a person who deals in goods of the kind or otherwise by his occupation holds
himself out as having knowledge or skill peculiar to the practice or goods
involved in the transaction or to whom such knowledge or skill may be
attributed by his employment of an agent or broker or other intermediary who
by his occupation holds himself out as having such knowledge or skill.”
Md. Code Ann., Com. Law § 2-104(1). While plaintiff asserts that Amazon regularly sells
batteries, there is no indication that Amazon has any particular knowledge or skill about
batteries so as to qualify Amazon as a merchant of such products—or that Amazon holds
itself out as such. Accordingly, plaintiff’s breach of implied warranty claim against Amazon
also must fail.
In sum, plaintiff again fails to state a plausible claim against defendant Amazon, and
plaintiff’s claims against Amazon are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
Plaintiff may pursue his remaining claims against defendants LG Chem, Ltd. and LG
Chem America, Inc. A Scheduling Order for this case will be issued promptly.
For the foregoing reasons, it is this 8th day of May, 2017, hereby ORDERED that:
1. Amazon.com’s Motion to Dismiss plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint (ECF No.
28) is GRANTED;
2. Plaintiff’s claims against Amazon are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
Richard D. Bennett
United States District Judge
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