LaFerrera v. Camping World RV Sales of Birmingham, 7:15-cv-00473-LSC

CourtUnited States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
Writing for the CourtL. SCOTT COOGLER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Citation171 F.Supp.3d 1257
Parties Brett and Jessica LaFerrera, Plaintiffs; v. Camping World RV Sales of Birmingham, Thor Motor Coach, Inc., Defendants.
Decision Date21 March 2016
Docket Number7:15-cv-00473-LSC

171 F.Supp.3d 1257

Brett and Jessica LaFerrera, Plaintiffs;
v.
Camping World RV Sales of Birmingham, Thor Motor Coach, Inc., Defendants.

7:15-cv-00473-LSC

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division.

Signed March 21, 2016


171 F.Supp.3d 1260

Donald R. Simms, Jr., K. Donald Simms, Webster Henry Lyons White Bradwell & Black PC, Birmingham, AL, Mark Sterling Gober, Mark Gober Esq., Tuscaloosa, AL, for Plaintiffs.

Alexandra M. Shulman, Stephen Leslie Poer, Ben Bainbridge Robinson, John W. Scott, Scott Dukes & Geisler PC, Birmingham, AL, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OF OPINION

L. SCOTT COOGLER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Plaintiffs Brett and Jessica LaFerrera (the “LaFerreras”) sued Defendants Emerald Coast RV Center LLC d/b/a Camping World RV Sales (“Camping World”) and Thor Motor Coach (“Thor”) because of

171 F.Supp.3d 1261

alleged defects in a motor home manufactured by Thor and sold by Camping World. The LaFerreras claim revocation of acceptance, misrepresentation, concealment of defects, breach of warranty, and violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (“MMWA”). The LaFerreras and Defendants each filed motions for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, Defendants' motion is due to be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part, and the LaFerreras' motion is due to be DENIED. The LaFerreras additionally filed a Motion to Preclude Defendants' Argument because of spoliation, and Defendants filed a Motion to Strike the Motion to Preclude. The LaFerreras' Motion is due to be DENIED. Therefore, Defendants' Motion is MOOT.

I. BACKGROUND

Brett and Jessica LaFerrera purchased a Palazzo motor home in October 2013 from Camping World. The Palazzo line of motor homes was manufactured by Thor. While using the Palazzo, the LaFerreras experienced repeated problems with it, and they discussed trading it in for a different model. They largely dealt with Steve Schriver, who was the general manager of Camping World at the time, but they also spoke with Phil Houser of Thor during the trade-in process. The parties eventually agreed that the LaFerreras would trade the Palazzo for a Tuscany model motor home, which was also manufactured by Thor. Thor gave Camping World $5,000 to facilitate the trade-in and to obtain a release of liability for any claims related to the Palazzo.1 In exchange for facilitating the trade-in, the LaFerreras signed a release of liability for any claims arising from the Palazzo. The LaFerreras did not know at the time that Thor's contribution was related to obtaining the release.

Thor provided a written one year limited warranty on the Tuscany beginning on October 31, 2013.2 The notice of the written warranty included a disclaimer, displayed in all capital letters, of all implied and express warranties. It also exclusively limited the LaFerreras' remedies to the repair or replacement of any defects at the expense of Thor, and if that remedy failed, then the LaFerreras would be entitled to diminution in value damages. Further, the warranty required that any action to enforce the warranty be brought within ninety days of the expiration of the one year warranty period. At some point during the trade-in process, a Camping World employee showed Brett LaFerrera a brochure that contained a statement that the motor home passed Thor's “Gold Star Inspection,” which was described as an extensive inspection of its major components. The LaFerreras claim that this Gold Star Inspection and Camping World's explanation of it warranted that the Tuscany would be defect free.

Camping World and the LaFerreras entered into a sales agreement that was separate from the warranty provided by Thor. This agreement stated that Camping World sold the Tuscany “ ‘AS IS', WITH NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES.” (Doc. 62-14 at 2). It also stated,

I UNDERSTAND THAT THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS
171 F.Supp.3d 1262
FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ALL OTHER WARRANTIES EXPRESS OR IMPLIED ARE EXCLUDED BY YOU FROM THIS TRANSACTION AND SHALL NOT APPLY TO THE GOODS SOLD.

(Doc. 62-14 at 3). Moreover, the agreement contained a merger clause that said the written document contained the entire agreement between the parties. It—along with an acknowledgement of receipt of warranty document provided by Thor—also stated that the Tuscany had eight miles on its odometer. However, Defendants have admitted that the mileage was actually closer to 800 miles because it was driven from Indiana to Alabama after manufacturing. Regardless, they contend that the odometer always showed the correct mileage. Brett LaFerrera insists he saw the number eight on the odometer when he purchased the Tuscany and did not know that it was driven from Indiana to Alabama.

Following the purchase, the LaFerreras experienced several problems with the Tuscany. The motor home would lose electrical power sporadically, specifically in the dash control panel. The washing machine and dishwasher did not drain. The windshield was cracked and would leak, and the heat and air conditioning failed at times. The motor home vibrated because of alignment issues, and one of its TVs was scratched.3 The Tuscany experienced some of these issues, particularly water leaks and electrical problems, during Thor's inspection of the unit during manufacturing. Thor claims to have repaired the problems before it delivered the Tuscany to Camping World. However, because the LaFerreras experienced problems with the Tuscany, they returned the motor home to Camping World on November 9, 2013, December 5, 2013, March 12, 2014, and April 9, 2014 for repairs. According to the LaFerreras, some of the problems were fixed, but others, including the electrical problems, persisted, even though Camping World would assure the LaFerreras that the problems were fixed. In May of 2014, employees from Camping World and Thor emailed back and forth about who was handling these problems with the LaFerreras' Tuscany. The LaFerreras allege that Defendants failed to produce parts of this email conversation.4

On June 19, 2014, the LaFerreras agreed to release both Thor and Camping World:

from any and all contract, warranty, equity and statutory claims, demands, administrative proceedings and lawsuits of any kind arising prior to the date this letter agreement is signed relating to your purchase, ownership and use of the [Tuscany], including any claims based upon prior warranty repairs and the time taken to complete the same.

(Doc. 62-17 at 2) (release executed on June 19, 2014). In exchange for the release, Thor provided the LaFerreras a one year warranty beginning November 1, 2014, the day after the original warranty expired. The release does not address the Tuscany, other than as stated above. It also does not mention what Thor or Camping World knew about the Tuscany's problems. Further, the LaFerreras have not provided any parol evidence concerning any other relevant representations made at or about the time of the release.

171 F.Supp.3d 1263

The LaFerreras continued to have problems with the Tuscany. On July 31, 2014, Brett LaFerrera sent an email to Phil Houser of Thor, Chris Wathey of Camping World, and Steve Schriver of Camping World in which he listed eleven specific complaints.5 Thor transported the Tuscany to Indiana to perform the repairs in September 2014. Thor claims to have repaired all of the problems. In addition, Thor contracted a Freightliner Service Center to fix the electrical problems with the dash control panel. Although it could not replicate the electrical failure, the Freightliner Service Center replaced the dash control panel but did not keep the removed dash panel. Thus, it could not be produced in discovery. During the repairs, Thor employees made entries into a unit history file, as well as maintaining a series of documents6 pertaining to the repairs. Defendants produced the unit file but not the other documents in discovery. Although they never moved to compel Defendants to produce the documents, the LaFerreras claim that they were spoliated in a motion filed with this Court. In response to this motion, Defendants produced the documents, which largely consist of physical notes about the repairs that were made.

Thor returned the Tuscany to the LaFerreras on October 6, 2014, and Brett LaFerrera stated that someone from Thor or Camping World told him they could not identify and fix the electrical failure with the dash control panel. Two days later, on October 8, 2014, Brett LaFerrera drove the Tuscany from Alabama to Dixie Motors in New Orleans, Louisiana and traded it for a different RV made by a different manufacturer. Although Brett LaFerrera stated that some of the problems were not fixed, he did not experience any problems while driving the Tuscany to New Orleans. The LaFerreras filed this lawsuit on March 20, 2015.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). A fact is “material” if it “might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106...

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3 practice notes
  • Cobblestone Glen Flats LLC v. R&R-Beth LP, 1:20-cv-410-CLM
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • January 10, 2022
    ...of the owner by the time R&R-Beth allegedly acted to its detriment. See LaFerrara v. Camping World RV Sales of Birmingham, 171 F.Supp.3d 1257, 1269 (N.D. Ala. 2016) (“Suppression differs from misrepresentation in that it is based on a party's silence on or concealment of a material fact......
  • Abner v. U.S. Pipe & Foundry Co., 2:15-cv-02040-KOB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • March 31, 2017
    ...and (4) that [the plaintiff] suffered actual damage as a proximate result." LaFerrera v. Camping World RV Sales of Birmingham, 171 F. Supp. 3d 1257, 1269 (N.D. Ala. 2016) (quoting State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Owen, 729 So. 2d 834, 837 (Ala. 1998)); see ALA. CODE § 6-5-102. In the ......
  • Summit Auto Sales, Inc. v. Draco, Inc., 2:15-cv-00736-KOB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • September 6, 2017
    ...and (4) that the plaintiff suffered actual damage as a proximate result." LaFerrera v. Camping World RV Sales of Birmingham, 171 F. Supp. 3d 1257, 1269 (N.D. Ala. 2016) (quoting State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Owen, 729 So. 2d 834, 837 (Ala. 1998)); see ALA. CODE § 6-5-102. The exist......
3 cases
  • Cobblestone Glen Flats LLC v. R&R-Beth LP, 1:20-cv-410-CLM
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • January 10, 2022
    ...of the owner by the time R&R-Beth allegedly acted to its detriment. See LaFerrara v. Camping World RV Sales of Birmingham, 171 F.Supp.3d 1257, 1269 (N.D. Ala. 2016) (“Suppression differs from misrepresentation in that it is based on a party's silence on or concealment of a material fact......
  • Abner v. U.S. Pipe & Foundry Co., 2:15-cv-02040-KOB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • March 31, 2017
    ...and (4) that [the plaintiff] suffered actual damage as a proximate result." LaFerrera v. Camping World RV Sales of Birmingham, 171 F. Supp. 3d 1257, 1269 (N.D. Ala. 2016) (quoting State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Owen, 729 So. 2d 834, 837 (Ala. 1998)); see ALA. CODE § 6-5-102. In the ......
  • Summit Auto Sales, Inc. v. Draco, Inc., 2:15-cv-00736-KOB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • September 6, 2017
    ...and (4) that the plaintiff suffered actual damage as a proximate result." LaFerrera v. Camping World RV Sales of Birmingham, 171 F. Supp. 3d 1257, 1269 (N.D. Ala. 2016) (quoting State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Owen, 729 So. 2d 834, 837 (Ala. 1998)); see ALA. CODE § 6-5-102. The exist......

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