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Powell v. Camping World RV Sales LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division

October 16, 2014

RICHARD G. POWELL and DEBRA Y. POWELL, Plaintiffs,
v.
CAMPING WORLD RV SALES LLC, MERCEDES BENZ USA, LLC, WINNEBAGO INDUSTRIES, INC., AND TLR, INC., Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

KRISTINE G. BAKER, District Judge.

Plaintiffs Richard and Debra Powell filed this action against Camping World RV Sales LLC ("Camping World") on February 22, 2013, in the Circuit Court of Pulaski County, Arkansas. On April 3, 2013, Camping World filed its answer and removed the action to this Court. On October 5, 2013, the Powells filed their first amended complaint (Dkt. No. 12), adding claims against Mercedes Benz USA, LLC ("Mercedes Benz"), Winnebago Industries, Inc. ("Winnebago"), and Truck Centers of Arkansas, doing business as TRL, Inc. ("Truck Centers") (improperly identified in filings as "TLR, Inc.").

This case arises out of the Powells' purchase of a Winnebago View Motorcoach recreational vehicle. The Powells' first amended complaint alleges that Camping World, Mercedes Benz, and Winnebago violated the Arkansas New Motor Vehicle Quality Assurance Act, Ark. Code Ann. § 4-90-401, et seq ., by delivering to the Powells a motor vehicle that contained a "nonconformity" as defined in that act. Further, the Powells claim that Camping World breached its contract with the Powells by failing to furnish them a new vehicle. The Powells also claim breach of contract against Camping World, Mercedes Benz, and Winnebago for failing to repair the vehicle in a timely manner. Accordingly, the Powells seek to revoke their acceptance of the motor vehicle they purchased from Camping World under Arkansas Code Annotated § 4-2-608. Lastly, the Powells allege that Camping World committed the tort of deceit and that Truck Centers negligently performed its repairs to the vehicle.

Before the Court are Camping World's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 32), including the Powells' response (Dkt. No. 49) and Camping World's reply (Dkt. No. 52); Mercedes Benz's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 37), including the Powells' response (Dkt. No. 48) and Mercedes Benz's rejoinder (Dkt. No. 60); and Winnebago's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 38), including the Powells' response (Dkt. No. 47) and Winnebago's rejoinder (Dkt. No. 60). The Powells also have filed a reply to Mercedes Benz and Winnebago's rejoinder (Dkt. No. 71). The Powells also have filed a motion for leave to file a supplemental complaint (Dkt. No. 46), to which all defendants have responded (Dkt. Nos. 56, 61, 70). The Powells have replied to all defendants' responses to the motion for leave to file a supplemental complaint (Dkt. Nos. 65, 67, 72, 73).

Additionally, before the Court are several evidentiary motions. The Powells have filed a motion to exclude certain opinion testimony of camping world experts T.J. Smith (Dkt. No. 40), and Mark Byrd and Larry Sharp (Dkt. No. 41); a motion to exclude all TLR proffered expert witnesses (Dkt. No. 87); a motion to exclude Ron Post (Dkt. No. 93); and a motion in limine as to all defendants (Dkt. No. 94). Camping World has filed its motion in limine no. 1 (Dkt. No. 63); and motion in limine no. 2 (Dkt. No. 83). Winnebago and Mercedes Benz have filed joint motions in limine no. 1, no. 2, and no. 3 to exclude portions of the expert reports and purported expert testimony to be offered by the Powells' witnesses (Dkt. No. 84; Dkt. No. 91; Dkt. No. 99).

The Court held a motion hearing on these matters on Wednesday, October 15, 2014. At that hearing, for reasons stated on the record and in this Order, the Court granted the Powells' motion for leave to file a supplemental complaint (Dkt. No. 46) and removed this case from the trial docket for October 27, 2014. A new trial date and a second amended final scheduling order will be set by separate order.

I. Background

On January 13, 2012, Richard and Debra Powell purchased a 2012 Winnebago View Motorcoach ("Motorcoach") vehicle from Camping World, which is a recreational vehicle dealer. Winnebago finished the manufacturing of the Motorcoach in Forest City, Iowa, by constructing it on a 2011 model frame, or chassis, manufactured by Mercedes Benz.

At the time that the Powells purchased the Motorcoach from Camping World, Mr. Powell signed a retail sales agreement and an odometer disclosure statement. The sales agreement contained explicit waivers by Camping World of any express warranties made by manufacturers and of the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. The odometer disclosure statement represented to the Powells that, at the time of their purchase, the Motorcoach had been driven for 1, 730 miles, which is the approximate distance the Motorcoach travelled from Forest City, Iowa, to a Camping World dealership in Dothan, Alabama, and from there to the Camping World dealership in North Little Rock, Arkansas, where the Powells purchased the vehicle.

From January 13, 2012, to July 26, 2012, the Powells drove the Motorcoach at least an additional 1, 000 miles. On July 26, 2012, the Powells were driving the Motorcoach when it malfunctioned. The Powells contacted Camping World about the malfunction, and the Motorcoach was towed to Truck Centers for repairs. Truck Centers inspected the vehicle and made several repairs. Ultimately, Truck Centers determined that contaminated fuel caused the Motorcoach's malfunction and communicated this determination to the Powells. Mercedes Benz and Winnebago refused to pay for the repairs, and Truck Centers demanded from the Powells payment for the repairs and storage costs.

On February 22, 2013, the Powells filed this action against Camping World in the Circuit Court of Pulaski County, Arkansas. Camping World removed the action to this Court on April 3, 2013. The Final Scheduling Order set the deadline for adding parties and amending pleadings as August 12, 2013 (Dkt. No. 6). After Camping World served on July 25, 2013, its initial disclosure on the Powells, the Powells on September 12, 2013, filed a motion for leave to amend their complaint (Dkt. No. 10). The Court granted that motion, and the Powells amended their complaint on October 15, 2013, adding claims against Mercedes Benz, Winnebago, and Truck Centers. The first amended final scheduling order was entered on March 11, 2014 (Dkt. No. 22). The first amended final scheduling order did not alter the deadline for amending pleadings. Furthermore, the first amended final scheduling order set the deadlines for expert disclosures as May 20, 2014, for the Powells and June 30, 2014, for defendants.

The first amended complaint asserts claims under the Arkansas New Motor Vehicle Quality Assurance Act, Ark. Code Ann. § 4-90-401, et seq .; for breach of contract; for revocation of acceptance of the Motorcoach; and for the tort of deceit. The Powells' claims in their first amended complaint appear rooted in their allegations that the Motorcoach was not "new" since it had been driven nearly 1, 800 miles prior to the Powells' purchasing the vehicle. The first amended complaint states that Mercedes Benz and Winnebago "refused to make payment for the repairs, because the repairs were allegedly caused by contaminated fuel, per Truck Centers" (Dkt. No. 12, ¶ 8).

Camping World's initial disclosure, served on the Powells on July 25, 2013, included as an exhibit the certificate of origin issued by Winnebago. Winnebago's certificate of origin is dated October 11, 2011, and certifies that the Motorcoach "is the property of the said company... and is transferred on the above date...." (Dkt. No. 57, Ex. 1). On December 20, 2013, Winnebago filed its initial disclosures, which included a certificate of origin issued by Mercedes Benz. Mercedes Benz's certificate of origin is dated April 30, 2011, and certifies that the Motorcoach "is the property of the said company... and is transferred on the above date...." (Dkt. No. 57, Ex. 3).[1]

Winnebago answered the Powells' interrogatories on May 8, 2014. In Interrogatory No. 1, the Powells inquired about dates on which Winnebago introduced fuel into the Motorcoach and the manner in which the Motorcoach was shipped from Mercedes Benz to Winnebago. Winnebago's answer to Interrogatory No. 1 stated that Winnebago introduced fuel into the Motorcoach on or about September 8, 2011, and that "the fuel tank on the vehicle received ...


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