United States District Court, D. Connecticut
LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY a/s/o EQUIPOWER RESOURCES CORP., et al., Plaintiffs,
HOWMET CASTFNG & SERVICES, INC., Defendant.
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
number of insurance companies, including Liberty Mutual
Insurance Company, Westport Insurance Company, Navigators
Insurance Company and others (hereinafter
"Plaintiffs"), bring this lawsuit against Howmet
Casting & Services, Inc. ("Defendant" or
"Howmet") seeking damages related to an alleged
turbine failure at a power plant in Milford, Connecticut.
Second Am. Compl., ECF No. 11. Plaintiffs allege that the
damage was caused by a defective turbine blade made by
Howmet. Id. at ¶ 16. Howmet has moved to
dismiss Counts I and III of Plaintiffs' Second Amended
Complaint under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6); in the alternative,
Howmet asks the Court to strike certain allegations under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f) and require a more definite statement
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e). Def Mot. to Dismiss/Strike, ECF No.
14. For the reasons set forth below, Howmet's Motion to
Dismiss, Motion to Strike and/or Motion for a More Definite
Statement is DENIED.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a
complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual
allegations are not required, BellAtl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007), but Rule 8 demands
more than conclusory allegations. Ashcroftv. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). In order to survive a motion to
dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to "state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570. In determining whether a plaintiff has met this
standard, the Court must accept the allegations as true and
draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to
the nonmoving party. In re NYSE Specialists Sec.
Litig., 503 F.3d 89, 95 (2d Cir. 2007).
Rule 12(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides
that a court "may strike from a pleading any
insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial,
impertinent, or scandalous matter." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f).
Resolution of a Rule 12(f) motion is left to the district
court's discretion, and such motions are generally
disfavored and infrequently granted. Tucker v. Am.
Int'l Grp., Inc., 936 F.Supp.2d 1, 15-16 (D. Conn.
2013). This type of motion will be denied "unless it can
be shown that no evidence in support of the allegation would
be admissible." Lipsky v. Commonwealth United
Corp., 551 F.2d 887, 893 (2d Cir. 1976). "[C]ourts
should not tamper with the pleadings unless there is a strong
reason for so doing." Id. Thus, the party
moving to strike "bears a heavy burden" and
ordinarily must show that (1) no evidence in support of the
allegations would be admissible; (2) the allegations have no
bearing on the issues in the case; and (3) permitting the
allegations to stand would result in prejudice to the movant.
Tucker, 936 F.Supp. at 16.
Complaint describes three claims against Howmet: a negligence
claim (Count I), a products liability claim under the
Connecticut Products Liability Act ("CPLA") (Count
II), and a Breach of Express and Implied Warranty claim
(Count III). Second Am. Compl. ¶¶ 13-44. Howmet
argues that Counts I and III should be dismissed under Rule
12(b)(6) because the exclusivity provisions of the CPLA
prohibit these claims from being brought separately. Def Mot.
to Dismiss/Strike. Alternatively, Howmet argues that the
express warranty allegation in Count III be dismissed under
Rule 12(b)(6) or stricken under Rule 12(f) based on
Plaintiffs' lack of specificity with respect to that
claim. Howmet also moves for a more definite statement under
Rule 12(e), proposing that the Court order detailed revisions
to particular paragraphs of Plaintiffs' complaint.
light of this Court's obligation not to "tamper with
the pleadings unless there is a strong reason for so doing,
" Lipsky, 551 F.2d at 893, the Court declines
to grant Howmet's requests. Howmet has failed to
establish that dismissal or revision of Plaintiffs'
Second Amended Complaint is warranted under Rule 12(b)(6),
Rule 12(f), or Rule 12(e).
Motion to Dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6)
argues that dismissal may be warranted because Plaintiffs
stated their negligence and breach of warranty claims
separately rather than pleading all three claims under the
CPLA. Def. Mem. in Supp. 5, ECF No. 14-1. The CPLA serves as
the "exclusive remedy" for products liability
claims. Fraser v. Wyeth, Inc., 857 F.Supp.2d 244,
252 (D. Conn. 2012). Although it "does not preempt all
common law theories of product liability... the CPLA bars
separate common law causes of action in product liability
cases." Id. (citing Densberger v. United
Technologies Corp., 297 F.3d 66, 70 (2d Cir. 2002)). By
stating three distinct counts, Plaintiffs' complaint
treats the claims of negligence and breach of warranty as
separate from the CPLA claim, which is not permitted by this
"exclusive remedy" rule. Second Am. Compl.
rather than dismissing the claims or requiring amendment of
the pleadings, courts have typically read multiple products
liability counts as though they had been pled together under
the CPLA. See Fraser, 857 F.Supp.2d at 252
("Rather than reading the pleading requirements under
the CPLA to bar the constituent common law allegations that
make up Plaintiffs' CPLA claims, the Court will instead
read the first seven counts of the Complaint to constitute a
single CPLA claim broken up into individual common law
theories of products liability"); Walters v.
Howmedica Osteonics Corp., 676 F.Supp.2d 44, 49 (D.
Conn. 2009) ("while [plaintiffs'] claims exist
within the CPLA framework, those claims retain their
character as they existed at common law. The enactment of the
CPLA did not displace common law theories of
liability"); Beyer v. Anchor Insulation Co.,
Inc., No. 3:13CV1576 JBA, 2014 WL 5465698, at *1 n2 (D.
Conn. Oct. 28, 2014) (declining to dismiss separately pled
claims and reading separate claims as a single CPLA claim).
The Court sees no reason to deviate from this practice here.
Plaintiffs' negligence claim and breach of warranty claim
could be interpreted as having been appropriately brought
pursuant to the CPLA; accordingly, Howmet's Motion to
Dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) is
Motion to Dismiss/Strike Express Warranty Claim under Rule
12(b)(6) and Rule 12(f)
alternative, Howmet asks the Court to require Plaintiffs to
amend their complaint by striking certain paragraphs and
revising others. Def Mot. to Dismiss/Strike. Under Rule
12(f), Howmet seeks to dismiss or strike a portion of
Plaintiffs' breach of warranty claim in Count III,
arguing that Plaintiffs inappropriately pled both express and
implied warranty claims in a single count "to create
even more confusion" and requesting that references to
express warranties be stricken from Plaintiffs'
complaint. Def. Mem. in Supp. at 8. This request is denied.
claims that Plaintiffs failed to plead the existence of an
express warranty with the required specificity, thus failing
to provide Howmet with "fair notice" of the basis
of their claim and justifying its dismissal or striking from
the complaint. Id. at 9. In support of its argument,
Howmet relies on Simoneau v. Stryker Corp., 2014 WL
1289426 (D. Conn. 2014), a products liability case which
resulted in the dismissal of an express warranty claim based
on lack of specificity. In Simoneau, the plaintiffs
complaint mentioned that the defendants breached an express
warranty, but it did not actually allege any express
warranties made by the defendants. Id. This Court
dismissed the plaintiffs breach of express warranty claim for
failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), explaining that
"[w]hile Simoneau need not prove the existence of the
warranty at this stage, the Complaint must at least indicate
the representation that the Stryker defendants are alleged to