United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division
DAVID PROCTOR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on the Motion to Dismiss filed by
Defendant Henry Schein, Inc. (“Henry Schein”).
(Doc. # 26). The Motion is fully briefed. (Docs. # 26, 30,
36). After careful review, and for the reasons explained
below, the court concludes that the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. #
26) is due to be granted in part. Plaintiffs' Complaint
is due to be stricken as a shotgun pleading, and they shall
file an Amended Complaint in accordance with the court's
instructions before proceeding in this action.
about January 20, 2016, an ASUS laptop computer containing a
Simplo battery pack with Samsung SDI lithium-ion batteries
self-ignited, resulting in substantial damages to the
property and leasehold of Plaintiff Terry A. Burgess DDS,
Inc., d/b/a Madison Center for Dental Care (hereinafter
“Madison Center for Dental Care”). (Doc. # 1 at
¶ 29). Defendant Henry Schein designs, manufactures,
assembles, sells, and distributes dental products.
(Id. at ¶ 11). Henry Schein obtained the laptop
computer and used it as a component in a dental product that
it sold to Plaintiff Madison Center for Dental Care.
laptop reached Plaintiff Madison Center for Dental Care
without substantial change in its condition from the time it
was sold or placed into the stream of commerce by Defendants.
(Id. at ¶ 28). Plaintiffs were unaware of the
laptop's defects, and they claim that the defects were
not discoverable through reasonable inspection. (Id.
at ¶ 30). Plaintiffs allege that all of the Defendants,
including Henry Schein, knew or should have known about the
defective nature of the laptop. (Id. at ¶ 29).
Complaint raises four claims against all Defendants. First,
Plaintiffs allege that all Defendants negligently sold,
distributed, manufactured, assembled, and/or designed a
defective laptop computer, which caused damage to the
property of Madison Center for Dental Care. (Id. at
¶¶ 24-32). Second, Plaintiffs allege that all
Defendants violated the Alabama Extended Manufacturers
Liability Doctrine (“AEMLD”) by selling,
distributing, manufacturing, assembling, and/or designing an
unreasonably dangerous laptop or one that was in a defective
condition. (Id. at ¶¶ 33-41). Third,
Plaintiffs allege that all Defendants failed to warn
Plaintiffs of potential hazards or failed to design and
install adequate risk reduction devices. (Id. at
¶¶ 42-44). Finally, Plaintiffs allege that all
Defendants violated express or implied warranties of
merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.
(Id. at ¶¶ 45-50).
Standard of Review
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a complaint
provide “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). However, the complaint must include
enough facts “to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Pleadings that
contain nothing more than “a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action” do not meet Rule 8
standards, nor do pleadings suffice that are based merely
upon “labels and conclusions” or “naked
assertion[s]” without supporting factual allegations.
Id. at 555, 557. In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
to dismiss, courts view the allegations in the complaint in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Watts
v. Fla. Int'l Univ., 495 F.3d 1289, 1295 (11th Cir.
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must “state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Although “[t]he plausibility standard is not akin to a
‘probability requirement, '” the complaint
must demonstrate “more than a sheer possibility that a
defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. A
plausible claim for relief requires “enough fact[s] to
raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal
evidence” to support the claim. Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556.
considering a motion to dismiss, a court should “1)
eliminate any allegations in the complaint that are merely
legal conclusions; and 2) where there are well-pleaded
factual allegations, ‘assume their veracity and then
determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement
to relief.'” Kivisto v. Miller, Canfield,
Paddock & Stone, PLC, 413 Fed.Appx. 136, 138 (11th
Cir. 2011) (quoting Am. Dental Ass'n v. Cigna
Corp., 605 F.3d 1283, 1290 (11th Cir. 2010)). That task
is context specific and, to survive the motion, the
allegations must permit the court based on its
“judicial experience and common sense . . . to infer
more than the mere possibility of misconduct.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. If the court determines that
well-pleaded facts, accepted as true, do not state a claim
that is plausible, the claims are due to be dismissed.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.
Motion to Dismiss, Henry Schein first argues that the claims
against it fail to meet the Twombly plausibility
standard because the Complaint raises generic allegations
against each Defendant. Second, Henry Schein contends that
the claims against it fail as a matter of law due to the
“innocent seller” defense in Alabama Code §
6-5-521. Finally, Henry Schein contends that the Complaint is
a shotgun pleading. Because the “shotgun” nature
of the Complaint is apparent, the court addresses this
category of deficiencies as an initial matter.
Eleventh Circuit has identified four types of shotgun
The most common type-by a long shot-is a complaint containing
multiple counts where each count adopts the allegations of
all preceding counts, causing each successive count to carry
all that came before and the last count to be a combination
of the entire complaint. The next most common type, at least
as far as our published opinions on the subject reflect, is a
complaint that does not commit the mortal sin of re-alleging
all preceding counts but is guilty of the venial sin of being
replete with conclusory, vague, and immaterial facts not
obviously connected to any particular cause of action. The
third type of shotgun pleading is one that commits the sin of
not separating into a different count each cause of action or
claim for relief. Fourth, and finally, there is the
relatively rare sin of asserting multiple claims against
multiple defendants without specifying which of the
defendants are responsible for which acts or omissions, or
which of the defendants the claim is brought ...