Rose et al v. Qdoba Restaurant Corporation
ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED The Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings 13 is GRANTED and Count II of the complaint is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE and the request for attorneys' fees is DENIED. (Written Opinion) Signed by Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright on 5/19/2023. (BCL)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
Case No. 22-cv-2060 (WMW/TNL)
Linda Chau Rose,
and Nathaniel Rose,
Qdoba Restaurant Corporation,
Before the Court is Defendant Qdoba Restaurant Corporation’s (“Qdoba”) Motion
for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings. (Dkt. 13.) Qdoba seeks to dismiss Count II pursuant
to Rule 12(c), Fed. R. Civ. P., and requests attorneys’ fees. For the reasons addressed
below, the motion is granted and the request for attorneys’ fees is denied.
Plaintiff Linda Chao Rose worked for a division of Blue Cross Blue Shield. On
August 8, 2016, her team at Blue Cross Blue Shield ordered a take-out style buffet from
Qdoba for a work meeting. The buffet was set up in a conference room at Blue Cross Blue
Shield located in Eagan, Minnesota. The “buffet setup” included light metal trays, thickgauge aluminum foil pans and sterno-type cans to heat the food. The food was kept warm
in a three-tiered tray stand that held food in an aluminum foil pan on the top level with a
pan filled with hot water on the middle level and a lit sterno-can on the bottom level.
At the end of the meeting, several Blue Cross Blue Shield employees began
dismantling the “buffet setup.” In an attempt to extinguish the sterno-can, a co-worker of
Linda Chau Rose used his hand to place the lid on top of the sterno-can and singed his
finger. The co-worker reflexively recoiled and knocked over a tray of hot water into Linda
Chau Rose’s lap, which resulted in significant burns to her left lower extremity, left hip
Plaintiffs Linda Chao Rose and Nathaniel Rose (collectively the “Roses”) initiated
litigation on August 5, 2022, against Qdoba in Hennepin County District Court. The
complaint asserts a claim for negligence (Count I), breach of implied warranty (Count II)
and loss of consortium (Count III). Qdoba removed the action to the United States District
Court for the District of Minnesota. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332, 1441. On December 15, 2022,
Qdoba moved for judgment on the pleadings as to Count II of the complaint. Fed. R. Civ.
Judgment on the Pleadings
A party may file a motion for judgment on the pleadings “[a]fter the pleadings are
closed—but early enough not to delay trial.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c). When deciding a motion
for judgment on the pleadings, the Court must accept as true all of the factual allegations
in the complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff’s favor. Gorog v. Best
Buy Co., 760 F.3d 787, 792 (8th Cir. 2014).
Qdoba argues that, because the Roses’ breach of implied warranty claim is barred
by the relevant statute of limitations, Count II should be dismissed with prejudice. The
Uniform Commercial Code (“U.C.C.”), as adopted by Minnesota, applies to the sale of
goods. Minn. Stat. § 336.2-102. “Goods” are “all things which are movable at the time of
identification to the contract for sale.” Minn. Stat. § 336.2-105. Under the U.C.C.,
implied-warranty claims generally “must be commenced within four years after the cause
of action has accrued.” Minn. Stat. § 336.2-725(1). The four-year period begins to run
“when the breach occurs, regardless of the aggrieved party’s lack of knowledge of the
breach.” Minn. Stat. § 336.2-725(2). “A breach of warranty occurs when tender of
delivery is made.” Id.
The Roses allege that the “buffet setup” was sold and delivered on August 8, 2016,
and that the incident resulting in Linda’s injury occurred on the same day. Because the
food and the materials provided for the “buffet setup” are items that were “movable at the
time of identification to the contract for sale,” they are goods as defined by the U.C.C. See
Minn. Stat. § 336.2-105; see also Holowaty v. McDonald’s Corp., 10 F. Supp. 2d 1078,
1086 (D. Minn. 1998) (finding that a hot coffee sold by defendants were goods under the
U.C.C.). As the U.C.C. applies to the sale of the food and the materials for the “buffet
setup,” an action for a breach of implied warranty must have been brought no later than
August 8, 2020. The Roses commenced this action on August 5, 2022, nearly two years
after the limitation period expired. Because the Roses’ implied breach of warranty claim
is barred by the statute of limitations, Qdoba’s Motion for Partial Judgment on the
Pleadings is granted and Count II of the complaint is dismissed with prejudice.
Qdoba also seeks attorneys’ fees. But Qdoba provides neither legal analysis nor a
formal motion to support this request. The Court, therefore, is unable to determine whether,
or in what amount, an award of attorneys’ fees is warranted. Without a formal motion with
factual support and legal analysis, such relief cannot be granted. Accordingly, Qdoba’s
request for attorneys’ fees is denied.
Based on the foregoing analysis and all the files, records and proceedings herein, IT
IS HEREBY ORDERED:
The Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings, (Dkt. 13), is GRANTED
and Count II of the complaint is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
The request for attorneys’ fees is DENIED.
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.
Dated: May 19, 2023
s/Wilhelmina M. Wright___
Wilhelmina M. Wright
United States District Judge
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