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Naparala v. Pella Corp.

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division

December 22, 2015

TED NAPARALA, SR., on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
PELLA CORPORATION, Defendant

          For Pella Corporation Architect and Designer Series Windows Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, In Re (2:14-mn-00001-DCN): John P. Mandler, LEAD ATTORNEY, Faegre, Baker Law Firm - Minneapolis Office, Minneapolis, MN; Shane A Anderson, Faegre Baker Daniels, Minneapolis, MN.

         For Plaintiff's Lead Counsel, Plaintiff (2:14-mn-00001-DCN): Daniel K Bryson, LEAD ATTORNEY, Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP, Raleigh, NC; Jonathan Shub, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, Kohn Swift and graft, Philadelphia, PA.

         For Plaintiff's Liaison Counsel, Plaintiff (2:14-mn-00001-DCN): Justin O'Toole Lucey, LEAD ATTORNEY, Justin O'Toole Lucey Law Firm, Mt Pleasant, SC.

         For Pella Corporation, Defendant (2:14-mn-00001-DCN): Amy R Fiterman, LEAD ATTORNEY, Mark J Winebrenner, Shane A Anderson, Faegre Baker Daniels, Minneapolis, MN; G Mark Phillips, Michael Tucker Cole, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough (Ch), Charleston, SC; John P. Mandler, LEAD ATTORNEY, Faegre, Baker Law Firm - Minneapolis Office, Minneapolis, MN; Kevin L Morrow, Faegre Baker Daniels, Chicago, IL.

         For Ted Naparala, Sr, Plaintiff (2:14-cv-03465-DCN): Scott A George, LEAD ATTORNEY, Seeger Weiss, Philadelphia, PA; Daniel K Bryson, Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP, Raleigh, NC; Matthew E Lee, PRO HAC VICE, Whitfield Bryson and Mason, Raleigh, NC; Jeffrey A Leon, Quantum Legal, Highland Park, IL.

         For Pella Corporation, Defendant (2:14-cv-03465-DCN): John P. Mandler, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, Faegre, Baker Law Firm - Minneapolis Office, Minneapolis, MN; Kevin L Morrow, Faegre Baker Daniels, Chicago, IL; Mark J Winebrenner, Shane A Anderson, Faegre Baker Daniels, Minneapolis, MN.

         ORDER

         DAVID C. NORTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the court on defendant Pella Corporation's (" Pella" ) motion for partial summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the court grants Pella's motion and dismisses Naparala's fraudulent concealment claim, unjust enrichment claim, and breach of express warranty claim to the extent it is based on non-written warranties outside of Pella's limited warranty.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Ted Naparala, Sr. (" Naparala" ) began construction of his new home in September 2005. Def.'s Mot. Ex. 1, Naparala Depo. 19:24-25. He purchased Pella ProLine and Architect Series windows on August 25, 2005 from a Menard's retail store in Wisconsin and he and his son personally installed them in his home in November 2005. Id. at 35:11-14; Def.'s Mot. Ex. 3. He and his family moved into the home in February 2006. Id. at 20:6. Prior to purchasing the windows, Naparala contends that he had a discussion with a Menard's salesperson, read brochures regarding Pella windows, and saw a couple of advertisements on TV regarding Pella windows. Id. at 22:2-25; 38:17-23. Naparala testified that a Menard's salesperson told him that the windows were " good windows." Id. at 22:2-4; 26:6-7.

         In 2006, Naparala began observing moisture problems with the windows and contacted Pella. Id. at 44:15-25. Naparala testified that all of the rooms in his home were affected by the moisture problems. Id. at 31:14. Specifically, Naparala testified that there was " [m]oisture on the inside of the windows" and that " [i]n real cold weather they actually had frost on them." Id. at 31:16-17. Naparala made a service claim under the limited warranty. Id. at 44:19-45:1. On March 23, 2006, VerHalen, Inc., an independent distributor of Pella products, sent a service technician to investigate Naparala's claim. Def.'s Mot. Ex. 5. The technician indicated that the windows were not sealing properly and adjusted the cranks on the windows so that they would crank tighter. Id. at 44:19-45:1.

         According to Naparala's testimony, the technician did not specifically say that the problem was fixed, but Naparala assumed that it was. Id. at 65:21-66:4. Naparala testified that every year after the original service call he experienced water damage due to excessive moisture. Id. at 63:10-14. When asked whether he " believed that [he] still had a problem with the windows" " when [he] started seeing the water damage due to excessive moisture beginning to occur" every fall, Naparala answered in the affirmative. Id. at 65:1-11. In December 2013, Naparala contacted Pella to submit a warranty claim. Id. at 45:8-25. On January 27, 2014, a service technician from VerHalen, Inc. visited Naparala's home and denied warranty coverage, concluding that the issue with the windows was caused by excess humidity in the home. Def.'s Mot. Ex. 6.

         On May 20, 2014, Naparala filed a class action complaint against Pella in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, alleging jurisdiction based on the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d). The complaint brings the following nine causes of action: (1) violation of the Wisconsin Deceptive Trade Practices Act (" WDTPA" ); (2) negligence; (3) breach of implied warranty of merchantability; (4) breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose; (5) breach of express warranty; (6) fraudulent concealment; (7) unjust enrichment; (8) violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (" MMWA" ); and (9) declaratory relief. Naparala alleges that the windows suffer from various design deficiencies, including " a defect in the design of the sill extrusion and sill nailing fin attachment as well as a defect in the design of allowing a gap between the jamb gasket and the sill gasket." Compl. ¶ 46. According to Naparala, these defects cause leaks and allow water to be " trapped between the aluminum and the operable wood frame causing damage to the Windows and other property within the home." Id. Naparala alleges that Pella was or should have been aware that its windows were defective and that Pella concealed its knowledge of repeated product defects. Id. ¶ ¶ 50, 52.

         On August 15, 2014, the United States Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred the case to this court as part of the consolidated multidistrict litigation. Pella filed a motion to dismiss on September 15, 2014. Naparala opposed the motion on October 21, 2014, and Pella replied on November 7, 2014. After the court issued an order on Pella's motion to dismiss on May 19, 2015, Naparala's only remaining claims are for: (1) breach of ...


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