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Allen v. Holiday Kamper Company of Columbia, LLC

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

August 29, 2019

JEFFREY E. ALLEN and ELIZABETH A ALLEN, Plaintiffs
v.
HOLIDAY KAMPER COMPANY OF COLUMBIA, LLC d/b/a Camping World RV Sales; WINNEBAGO INDUSTRIES, INC.; and BANK OF AMERICA, NA, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          MARY GEIGER LEWIS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiffs Jeffery E. Allen and Elizabeth A. Allen (collectively, the Allens) brought this suit in the Court of Common Pleas for Horry County against Defendants Holiday Kamper Company of Columbia, LLC, d/b/a Camping World RV Sales (Camping World), Winnebago Industries, Inc. (Winnebago), and Bank of America, NA (Bank of America) (collectively, Defendants). The Allen's claims include breaches of warranties under state law and the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (Warranty Act), violations of the South Carolina Manufacturers, Distributors, and Dealers Act, violations of South Carolina's Lemon Law, rescission, and revocation of acceptance.

         Defendants subsequently removed the case to this Court. The Court has jurisdiction over the matter in accordance with 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1367.

         Pending before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment. Having carefully considered the motion, the response, the reply, the record, and the applicable law, the Court will grant in part and deny in part Defendants' motion. Specifically, the Court will grant Defendants' motion as to the Allen's: (1) suit against Camping World, (2) revocation of acceptance and rescission claims, (3) Lemon Law allegations against Winnebago, and (4) causes of action against Bank of America. And, the Court will deny Defendants' motion on the Allen's claims against Winnebago for (1) breach of warranties and (2) violations of the South Carolina Manufacturers, Distributors, and Dealers Act, SC Code Ann. § 56-15-10.

         II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The Allens purchased their 2016 Sunstar LX Class A motorhome (the RV) from Camping World on December 4, 2015. The RV was manufactured by Winnebago. They paid $125, 000 for the RV, plus $4, 075 in additional charges, for a total of $129, 075.00. The Allens financed $90, 075 of this amount. The loan was assigned to Bank of America.

         According to the Allens, “[s]hortly after purchasing the [RV], [they] experienced numerous unrelenting problems . . . . [They] have had the [RV] in for repairs at the Camping World Repair Shop on numerous occasions, totaling many months.” Complaint ¶ 7-8.

         After the Allens filed suit in state court, Defendants removed the case to this Court on the basis of the Allen's Warranty Act claim. Subsequent to the Court's denying the Allen's motion to remand, Defendants filed their motion for summary judgment, the Allens filed their response in opposition, and Defendants filed their reply in support. The Court, having been briefed on the relevant issues, is prepared to adjudicate Defendants' motion on the merits.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that summary judgment “shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” The moving party bears this initial burden of informing the Court of the basis for its motions, and identifying those portions of the record “which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The Court reviews the record by drawing all inferences most favorable to the party opposing the motion. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).

         “Once the moving party carries its burden, the adverse party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of the adverse party's pleadings, but the adverse party's response . . . must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). The adverse party must show more than “some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. If an adverse party completely fails to make an offer of proof concerning an essential element of that party's case on which that party will bear the burden of proof, then all other facts are necessarily rendered immaterial and the moving party is entitled to summary judgment. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23. Hence, the granting of summary judgment involves a three-tier analysis.

         First, the Court determines whether a genuine issue actually exists so as to necessitate a trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). An issue is genuine “if the evidence is such that a reasonable [trier of fact] could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Second, the Court must ascertain whether that genuine issue pertains to material facts. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). The substantial law of the case identifies the material facts, that is, those facts that potentially affect the outcome of the suit. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Third, assuming no genuine issue exists as to the material facts, the Court will decide whether the moving party shall prevail solely as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).

         Summary judgment is “properly regarded not as a disfavored procedural shortcut, but rather as an integral part of the Federal Rules as a whole, which are designed to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 327. The primary issue is whether the material facts present a substantive disagreement as to require a trial, or whether the facts are sufficiently one-sided that one party should prevail as a matter of law. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52. The substantive law of the case identifies which facts are material. Id. at 248. Only disputed facts potentially affecting the outcome of the suit under the substantive law preclude the entry of summary judgment.

         IV. DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS

         A. Whether the Court should dismiss the Allen's claims against Camping World

         First, Defendants contend the Allen's claims against Camping World should be dismissed on the basis it validly excluded all the warranties on the RV. The Allens neglect to address this issue in their response to Defendants' motion. Therefore, any argument in opposition they might have is waived. See Russell v. Absolute Collection Servs., Inc., 763 F.3d 385, 396 n. * (4th Cir. 2014) (noting that failure to present legal arguments waives the argument). As such, the Court will grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment on the Allens claims against Camping World.

         B. Whether the Court should dismiss the Allen's breach of warranty claims

         Second, Defendants state the Allens have failed to establish any breach of warranty by Winnebago. The Allens take exception to this argument.

         This portion of the parties' dispute focuses primarily on two component parts of the RV: the slide-outs and the levelers. The slide-outs are used to expand the size of the living space of the RV. And, the levelers are supposed to make the RV level when camping and parked on an uneven terrain.

         The Allens maintain “[t]he slide-out mechanisms for the living portions of the home have never worked satisfactorily. The slide-outs continue to work loose and slide [ ] out of their positions on long trips.” The Allen's Response in Opposition 2 (citing Jeffrey Allen's Depo.).

         Further, Allens state they “have continued to experience the same problem over and over again with the levelers. [They] will go to a particular site, position the levelers, and then over a period of time, the levelers will leak down so that the home is no longer level.” Id. According to the Allens, “[w]hen the home is no longer level, the doors will not shut ...


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