United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ROBERT E. CRABTREE, JR., Plaintiff,
HOPE'S WINDOWS, INC., BRIGHT WINDOW SPECIALISTS, INC., and RICHARD KUSYK, Defendants.
RULING AND ORDER ON PENDING MOTIONS
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
E. Crabtree, Jr. (“Plaintiff”), has sued
Hope's Windows, Inc. (“Hope's Windows”)
and Bright Window Specialists, Inc. (“Bright”)
and Richard Kusyk (“Defendant”) (collectively the
“Bright Defendants”) for breach of Article 2 of
Connecticut's Uniform Commercial Code, Conn. Gen. Stat.
§ 42a-2-101, et seq., breach of contract,
breach of implied warranty, revocation of acceptance,
conversion, and violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade
Practices Act (“CUPTA”), Conn. Gen. Stat. §
42a-110a et seq.
Bright Defendants move to dismiss the case and also move for
sanctions under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Mr. Crabtree moves to amend the First Amended
Complaint under Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure and for a default judgment against Hope's
Windows under Rule 55.
Windows, after oral argument had already been heard on the
Bright Defendants' motion to dismiss, now moves to
dismiss the lawsuit against it.
reasons that follow, the Bright Defendant's motion to
dismiss is GRANTED in part and
DENIED in part. Mr. Crabtree's claims
under Conn. Gen. Stat § 42a-2-101 et seq. and
for breach of contract, breach of implied warranty, and
revocation and acceptance are all DISMISSED.
The Court, however, lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over
the remainder of Mr. Crabtree's claims against the Bright
Defendants and REMANDS them to Connecticut
Superior Court. The Bright Defendant's motion for
sanctions is DENIED.
Crabtree's motion to amend the First Amended Complaint
and for default judgment are both DENIED.
Windows' motion to dismiss is DENIED.
FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Crabtree owns the property located at 918 North Street in
Greenwich, Connecticut (“the Property”). First
Am. Compl. ¶ 1, ECF No. 19. Hope's Windows, Inc.
(“Hope's Windows ”) manufactures custom
windows, doors, and other architectural products.
Id. ¶ 4. Their windows allegedly come with a
lifetime warranty from manufacturer defects. Id.
¶ 5. Bright Windows Specialists, Inc.
(“Bright”) is allegedly Hope's Windows's
sole regional sales representative for Greenwich,
Connecticut, and Mr. Kusyk is Bright's owner.
Id. ¶ 3. This dispute arose when windows that
Bright installed in Mr. Crabtree's home allegedly began
to crack spontaneously after installation.
Crabtree bought windows and doors from Hope's Windows
through the Bright Defendants in December 2005. First Am.
Compl. ¶ 6. Mr. Crabtree paid Bright, by and through his
general contractor, approximately $1, 000, 000 to install the
windows and doors. Id. ¶ 7. In 2007,
ninety-five percent of the windows and doors had allegedly
been installed, and, by 2008, Mr. Crabtree moved into the
home. Id. ¶ 9. In the following months, Mr.
Crabtree allegedly discovered that windows and door frames
were defective with missing frame pieces, improperly set
window sills and doors that rattled, and hardware missing or
improperly installed. Id. At the time, the Amended
Complaint alleges that Mr. Crabtree had no knowledge of
defects in the glass itself. Id.
complaint filed in Connecticut Superior Court, Judicial
District of Stamford/Norwalk at Stamford on February 3, 2010,
Mr. Crabtree sued Defendants regarding the windows and doors
they installed at the Property. See generally Feb.
3, 2010, Compl. ¶ 10, Bright's Br., Ex. B, ECF No.
20 at 18. That complaint included four causes of action,
alleging (1) products liability; (2) breach of implied
warranty; (3) revocation of acceptance; and (4) a violation
of the CUTPA. See generally Feb. 3, 2010, Compl.
With respect to the first cause of action, the complaint
alleges that Bright installed windows and doors from
Hope's Windows that were “negligently and
defectively manufactured.” Id. ¶ 10;
accord Id. ¶ 12 (“Defendant Hope's
breached its duty by negligently and defectively
manufacturing the Goods which are inferior and unusable for
their intended purpose.”).
Crabtree, Hope's Windows, and the Bright Defendants
settled that case. See generally Settlement
Agreement (“Agreement”), Bright Br., Ex. C, ECF
No. 20 at 28. The agreement provides: “In full and
final satisfaction of any and all claims that CRABTREE has or
may have against HOPE'S and BRIGHT, on or about May 17,
2010, . . . BRIGHT shall perform the remaining ‘punch
list' work, . . . and any additional replacement of
materials or repairs that HOPE'S and CRABTREE agree may
be required to be performed so that the installation of the
windows and doors and deemed by HOPE and CRABTREE to be
complete in all respects . . . .” Id. §
1(a). The Agreement also provided for a general release,
under which Mr. Crabtree “release[d] and forever
discharge[d] BRIGHT . . . from all actions, claims and causes
of action, including, but not limited to, all claims relating
to any work performed by BRIGHT . . . which against BRIGHT .
. ., CRABTREE . . . ever had, now have or hereafter can,
shall or may, have for, upon or by reason of any matter,
cause or thing whatsoever from the beginning of the world to
the day of this RELEASE.” May 17, 2010, General
Release, Bright Br., Ex. D, ECF No. 20 at 35. Finally, the
Agreement also included a merger clause that provides that
all agreements between the parties were expressed through the
written agreement, and may only be modified by written
agreement signed by the parties. Settlement Agreement
February 2017, the first of five windows at the Property
allegedly “spontaneously fractured like an automobile
windshield.” First Am. Compl. ¶ 11. The First
Amended Complaint asserts that, later that summer, four
additional windows “spontaneously burst in the same
manner.” Id. These windows were allegedly
purchased and installed under the $1, 000, 000 contract
between Mr. Crabtree and Bright that were the subject of the
2010 litigation. Compare Id. ¶ 11 (“The
defective windows were purchases and installed under the $1,
000, 000 Contract.”), with Feb. 3, 2010,
Compl. ¶ 6 (“By the time the doors and windows
were installed, the contract price had increased to almost
$1, 000, 000.”). The First Amended Complaint asserts
that the cause of the fractures was a manufacturing defect.
Compare Compl. ¶ 21 (“Bright installed
Hope's windows and doors in the Premises[, ] however[, ]
the windows and doors  were negligently and defectively
manufactured and spontaneously fracture.”),
with Feb. 3, 2010, Compl. ¶ 12
(“Hope's breached its duty by defectively
manufacturing the Goods which are inferior and unusable for
their intended purpose.”).
Crabtree allegedly contacted Mr. Kusyk and Hope's Windows
to request that Defendants replace the defective windows and
doors, which Mr. Kusyk's allegedly had stated would
“last a lifetime.” Id. ¶ 13. The
Complaint asserts that, knowing that Mr. Crabtree had no
other option than to deal with Bright, Mr. Kusyk agreed to
inspect the defective windows only after Mr. Crabtree paid a
“down payment fee” in the sum of $1, 500, which
Mr. Crabtree paid. Id. After inspecting the windows,
Mr. Kusyk allegedly said he could replace the windows for a
minimum of $3, 500 per window. Id. Mr. Crabtree
declined and, despite Mr. Crabtree's demand, Mr. Kusyk
refused to return to Mr. Crabtree the $1, 500
“deposit” for the windows. Id. ¶
September 26, 2017, Mr. Crabtree sued Defendants in
Connecticut Superior Court at the Judicial District of
Stamford/Norwalk at Stamford. ECF No. 1-2. The Bright
Defendants subsequently removed the case to this Court under
28 U.S.C. § 1445. ECF No. 1. The Court has jurisdiction
under 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
January 16, 2017, Mr. Crabtree amended the Complaint. ECF No.
19. The First Amended Complaint remains operative. The First
Amended Complaint asserts six causes of action: (1) a
violation arising out of Article 2 of Connecticut's
Uniform Commercial Code, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42a-2-101,
et seq.; (2) breach of contract; (3) breach of
implied warranty; (4) revocation of acceptance; (5)
conversion; and (6) violation of the CUTPA, Conn. Gen.
Stat. § 42-110a et seq.
Bright Defendants now move to dismiss for failure to state a
claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). ECF No.
20. The Bright Defendants also move for sanctions under Rule
11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. ECF No. 31.
March 1, 2018, Mr. Crabtree moved for entry of default
judgment against Hope's Windows and also now moves to
amend the First Amended Complaint. ECF No. 29.
Court heard oral argument on April 12, 2018, and Hope's
Windows did not appear. ECF No. 33.
April 13, 2018, Hope's Windows moved to dismiss for
failure to state a claim. ECF No. 35.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Federal Subject Matter Jurisdiction
courts have “original jurisdiction of all civil actions
where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of
$75, 000, exclusive of interests and costs, and is between .
. . citizens of different States.” 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1441, “any civil action
brought in a State court of which the district courts of the
United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by
the defendant . . . to the district court of the United
States for the district . . . embracing the place where such
action is pending.” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). CASE
“[i]f at any time before final judgment it appears that
the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the
case shall be remanded.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
Cohen v. Postal Holdings, LLC, 873 F.3d 394, 399 (2d
Cir. 2017) (“[W]hen a district court correctly
dismisses all federal claims for lack of subject-matter
jurisdiction . . . the district court is thereby precluded
from exercising supplemental jurisdiction over related
Motion to Dismiss
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). Any claim that fails
“to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted” will be dismissed. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In
reviewing a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), a court applies a
“plausibility standard” guided by “two
working principles.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice.” Id.; see also Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (“While
a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss
does not need detailed factual allegations . . . a
plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds'
of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than
labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.” (internal
citations omitted)). Second, “only a complaint that
states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to
dismiss.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Thus, the
complaint must contain “factual amplification . . . to
render a claim plausible.” Arista Records LLC v.
Doe 3, 604 F.3d 110, 120 (2d Cir. 2010) (quoting
Turkmen v. Ashcroft, 589 F.3d 542, 546 (2d Cir.
reviewing a complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), a court must take the factual allegations in the
complaint as true, Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678, and
view the inferences drawn therefrom in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff. Cohen v. S.A.C. Trading
Corp., 711 F.3d 353, 359 (2d Cir. 2013); see also
York v. Ass'n of the Bar of the City of New York,
286 F.3d 122, 125 (2d Cir. 2002) (“On a motion to
dismiss for failure to state a claim, we construe the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff,
accepting the complaint's allegations as true.”).
considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) generally
limit its review “to the facts as asserted within the
four corners of the complaint, the documents attached to the
complaint as exhibits, and any documents incorporated in the
complaint by reference.” McCarthy v. Dun &
Bradstreet Corp., 482 F.3d 184, 191 (2d Cir. 2007). A
court may also consider “matters of which judicial
notice may be taken” and “documents either in
plaintiffs' possession or of which plaintiffs had
knowledge and relied on in bringing suit.” Brass v.
Am. Film Techs., Inc., 987 F.2d 142, 150 (2d Cir. 1993);
Patrowicz v. Transamerica HomeFirst, Inc., 359
F.Supp.2d 140, 144 (D. Conn. 2005).