Simner v. LG Elecs. U.S.A.

Decision Date08 August 2022
Docket NumberCivil Action 21-13322(SDW)(CLW)
PartiesRACHEL SIMNER, ROBERT DOMASCHUK, and MICHAEL ROSSIDIVITO, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. LG ELECTRONICS U.S.A., INC., Defendant.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of New Jersey




Before this Court is Defendant LG Electronics U.S.A., Inc.'s (“LG” or Defendant) Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs Rachel Simner and Robert Domaschuk, and Michael Rossidivito's (collectively Plaintiffs) Class Action Complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 12(b)(1), 12(b)(6), and 9(b). Jurisdiction is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, 15 U.S.C. § 2301, et seq., and 28 U.S.C. § 1367. Venue is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C § 1391. This opinion is issued without oral argument pursuant to Rule 78. For the reasons stated herein, the Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.


Defendant LG Electronics, Inc. is a Delaware corporation, headquartered in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. (D.E. 13 ¶ 13.) Plaintiffs Simner and Domaschuk (“the Simner Plaintiffs) are residents of Illinois, and Plaintiff Rossidivito (Rossidivito) is a resident of New Jersey. (Id. ¶¶ 14, 26.)

On January 7, 2017, the Simner Plaintiffs purchased an LG-manufactured dishwasher, model LDF5545ST, from Menards store in Naperville, Illinois, for $629.10. (Id. ¶ 15.) On April 28, 2018, Rossidivito purchased an LG-manufactured dishwasher, model LDP6797BB, from a website for Home Depot store, for $698.40. (Id. ¶ 27.) He also purchased a three-year extended warranty for the dishwasher. (Id. ¶ 27.) Plaintiffs allege that both dishwasher models, which were “QuadWash-enabled dishwashers,” had “defective LED control panels.” (Id. ¶ 1.) Plaintiffs contend that dishwasher models LDT7797, LDT5665, LDT5678, and LDT7808-also manufactured by Defendant-had the same allegedly defective control panels.[1] (Id.)

A. The Simner Plaintiffs

When the Simner Plaintiffs sought to purchase a dishwasher, they researched different models online and allege that Defendant's website advertised the dishwasher model LDF5545ST as [a]mong the most energy-efficient dishwashers in its class,” which had “energy and watersaving features . . . [that] would help reduce your energy and water consumption.” (Id. ¶ 16 (first and second alteration in original) (citing LG website).) In early April 2017, about four months after the Simner Plaintiffs bought model LDF5545ST, the dishwasher began to turn off mid-cycle, and they had to restart the circuit breaker to restart the appliance. (Id. ¶ 17.) On April 4, 2017, the Simner Plaintiffs contacted Defendant to report the issue and request warranty service, and Defendant sent a repair technician to replace the dishwasher's control panel. (Id. ¶ 18.) In October 2017, the control panel began shutting off mid-cycle again. (Id. ¶ 19.) On October 5, 2018, approximately a year after the issue began to occur again, the Simner Plaintiffs hired an electrical services company to make sure their electric service was working properly, and the company confirmed that it was. (Id. ¶ 20.) After that confirmation, the Simner Plaintiffs contacted Defendant for additional assistance, but Defendant would not send a technician without payment for the service. (Id. ¶ 21.) The Simner Plaintiffs opted not to pay for the service and instead requested that Defendant send a replacement control panel. (Id. ¶ 22.) Defendant initially agreed, but then declined to do so when the Simner Plaintiffs refused to pay for the device. (Id.) On June 10, 2020, the Simner Plaintiffs contacted Defendant again for service, and a company representative confirmed that the Simner Plaintiffs would have to pay for the technician and repair, which they refused to do. (Id. ¶ 23.) Thereafter, the Simner Plaintiffs attempted to return the dishwasher to Menards but were unsuccessful. (Id. ¶ 24.) Plaintiffs opted instead to replace the dishwasher with a new unit. (Id.)

B. Rossidivito

When Rossidivito sought to purchase a dishwasher, he researched different models online and found that Defendant's website advertised the dishwasher model LDP6797BB as [a]mong the most energy-efficient dishwashers in its class.” (Id. ¶ 28 (first and second alteration in original) (citing LG website).) On July 9, 2018, approximately two months after he purchased model LDP6797BB, Rossidivito noticed that when he tried to put the dishwasher on another cycle, the control panel stopped working. (Id. ¶ 30.) He immediately notified Defendant about the problem. (Id. ¶ 31.) Defendant sent a repair technician on July 12, 2018, and on July 25, 2018 the technician replaced the control panel. (Id. ¶¶ 32-33.) On December 29, 2018, the control panel shut down again, and Rossidivito contacted Defendant for assistance. (Id. ¶ 34.) Defendant sent a third-party technician to replace the control panel again. (Id. ¶ 35.) In December 2019, the dishwasher malfunctioned again and Rossadivito contacted Defendant on January 4, 2020 for assistance. (Id. ¶¶ 36-37.)

Defendant sent a technician, who replaced the dishwasher's motor. (Id. ¶¶ 37-38.) On April 1, 2020, the dishwasher's motor failed again, Rossadivito contacted Defendant for assistance, and a technician again repaired the motor. (Id. ¶¶ 39-40.) On April 8, 2021, the control panel shut off again, Rossadivito contacted Defendant for assistance, and a company technician replaced the control panel again. (Id. ¶¶ 41-42.) On April 28, 2021, “Rossadivito's extended three-year warranty expired.” (Id. ¶ 43.) On November 6, 2021, the control panel failed again. (Id. ¶ 44.) Because his warranty had expired, and because of the difficulties he had experienced with the dishwasher, Rossadivito did not contact Defendant for repair and instead purchased a new dishwasher. (Id. ¶¶ 44-45.)

C. Allegations

Plaintiffs allege that Defendant's “ubiquitous marketing campaigns lead consumers to believe that Class Dishwashers are high quality, efficient, and dependable,” but the dishwashers “do not work as advertised or promoted.” (Id. ¶¶ 56-57.) Plaintiffs further contend that the Class Dishwashers have an “internal design, assembly, and mechanical engineering” defect that manifests “during the expected useful life of the [d]ishwasher,” and in turn deprives consumers of a functioning unit. (Id. ¶¶ 58-60; see also ¶¶ 80-81.) The defect, Plaintiffs assert, causes “water [to] seep[] into the [c]ontrol [p]anel,” which causes a malfunction of the dishwasher. (Id. ¶ 58.)

Plaintiffs also maintain that Defendant “knew or had reason to know that the Class Dishwashers suffer from the [c]ontrol [p]anel [d]efect,” but has failed to fix the defect, and has failed to reimburse consumers for repairs and replacement. (Id. ¶¶ 65-67.) A service bulletin that Defendant issued in 2018, Plaintiffs allege, “provided a purported solution to the [c]ontrol [p]anel [d]efect,” which, in turn, suggests that Defendant was aware of the defect before 2018. (Id. ¶¶ 72-76.) Plaintiffs contend that the purported solution, however, was ineffective. (Id. ¶ 77.) Plaintiffs allege that Defendant continues to market and sell the dishwashers despite knowing or having reason to know that the control panels are defective, and that Defendant continues to conceal the existence of the defect from consumers, which should toll any statutes of limitations. (Id. ¶¶ 94-112.)

Plaintiffs note that Defendant provides a limited one-year warranty for the Class Dishwashers, which covers “defect[s] in materials or workmanship under normal home use ....” (Id. ¶¶ 82-83 (alterations in original) (citing Owner's Manual, LG).) Defendant also provides a five-year electronics and racks warranty, a ten-year Direct Drive motor warranty, and a limited lifetime tub warranty. (Id. at ¶ 83.) Plaintiffs argue that Defendant has violated the warranties in various ways, including failing to fix the control panel issue, charging for parts and labor after the warranty has expired, charging diagnostic and service fees, and providing ineffective and inadequate warranty repairs. (Id. ¶¶ 84-89.)

Finally, Plaintiffs allege that there are three potential classes pertaining to the class action allegations: (1) a Nationwide Class, which includes consumers in the United States who purchased one or more Class Dishwasher(s); or, in the alternative, (2) an Illinois Subclass, which includes consumers in Illinois who purchased one or more Class Dishwasher(s), and (3) a New Jersey Subclass, which includes consumers in New Jersey who purchased one or more Class Dishwasher(s) (“State Subclasses”). (D.E. 13 ¶ 113.)

D. Procedural History

On July 2, 2021, Plaintiffs filed a putative class action suit in this Court, asserting various claims. (See D.E. 1.) Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss on October 7, 2021. (See D.E. 10.) On November 22, 2021, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint, (D.E. 13), asserting the following claims: Violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (“ICFA”) (Count I) (Simner Plaintiffs/Illinois Subclass); Violations of the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (“IUDTPA”) (Count II) (Simner Plaintiffs/Illinois Subclass); Violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (“NJCFA”) (Count III) (Rossidivito/New Jersey Subclass); Breach of Written Warranty Under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (“MMWA”) (Count IV) (Nationwide Class/State Subclasses); Breach of Express Warranty (Count V) (Nationwide Class/State Subclasses); Breach of Implied Warranty of Merchantability (Count VI) (Nationwide Class/State Subclasses); Common Law Fraud (Count VII) (Nationwide Class/State Subclasses); and Unjust Enrichment (Count VIII) (Nationwide Class/State Subclasses). (See D.E. 13.) ...

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