United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. MAZZANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendants Mattel, Inc. and Fisher-Price,
Inc.'s (collectively “Defendants”) 12(b)(6)
Partial Motion to Dismiss, or Alternatively 12(e) Motion for
More Definite Statement (Dkt. #13). After reviewing the
relevant pleadings and motions, the Court finds
Defendants' motion should be granted in part and denied
case arises from alleged injuries Plaintiff Nishoria Hina
sustained on or about September 26, 2016. Plaintiff alleges
such injuries resulted from a Fisher-Price Power Wheels
Disney Frozen Jeep (the “Toy Jeep”) she ordered
from a retail website. Specifically, Plaintiff claims that as
she lifted the Toy Jeep's frame from its packaging, the
Toy Jeep's battery fell out of the Toy Jeep and landed on
her big toe of her right foot. Plaintiff asserts that
Defendants placed the battery inside an unsealed individual
cardboard box inside of the hood of the Toy Jeep, unattached
to anything, with the hood of the Toy Jeep left unlatched.
Additionally, Plaintiff claims the unsealed cardboard box,
which held the battery, did not contain visible marks from
staples, glue, or tape. As a result, Plaintiff filed suit
against Defendants for negligence, strict liability, breach
of warranty, and fraudulent concealment.
September 19, 2017, Defendants filed its Motion to Dismiss,
or Alternatively Motion for More Definite Statement (Dkt.
#13). On October 3, 2017, Plaintiff filed her response (Dkt.
#15). Defendants filed their reply (Dkt. #16) on October 10,
2017, and Plaintiff filed her sur-reply (Dkt. #17) on October
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that each claim in a
complaint include a “short and plain statement . . .
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Each claim must include enough factual
allegations “to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
12(b)(6) motion allows a party to move for dismissal of an
action when the complaint fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). When
considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the
Court must accept as true all well-pleaded facts in
plaintiff's complaint and view those facts in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff. Bowlby v. City of
Aberdeen, 681 F.3d 215, 219 (5th Cir. 2012). The Court
may consider “the complaint, any documents attached to
the complaint, and any documents attached to the motion to
dismiss that are central to the claim and referenced by the
complaint.” Lone Star Fund V (U.S.), L.P. v.
Barclays Bank PLC, 594 F.3d 383, 387 (5th Cir. 2010).
The Court must then determine whether the complaint states a
claim for relief that is plausible on its face.
‘“A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the [C]ourt to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.'” Gonzalez v.
Kay, 577 F.3d 600, 603 (5th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).
“But where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the
[C]ourt to infer more than the mere possibility of
misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not
‘show[n]'-‘that the pleader is entitled to
relief.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting
Iqbal, the Supreme Court established a two-step
approach for assessing the sufficiency of a complaint in the
context of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. First, the Court should
identify and disregard conclusory allegations, for they are
“not entitled to the assumption of truth.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 664. Second, the Court
“consider[s] the factual allegations in [the complaint]
to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to
relief.” Id. “This standard
‘simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable
expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the
necessary claims or elements.'” Morgan v.
Hubert, 335 F. App'x 466, 470 (5th Cir. 2009)
(citation omitted). This evaluation will “be a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing [C]ourt to
draw on its judicial experience and common sense.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
“[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.”' Id. at 678 (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
12(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a party
to move for a more definite statement of the pleadings when
the pleadings are “so vague or ambiguous that the party
cannot reasonably prepare a response.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(e). “If a pleading fails to specify the allegations
in a manner that provides sufficient notice, a defendant can
move for a more definite statement . . . before
responding.” Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534
U.S. 506, 514 (2002). Motions for a more definite statement
are generally disfavored because “in view of the great
liberality of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 . . . it is
clearly the policy of the Rules that Rule 12(e) should not be
used to . . . require a plaintiff to amend his complaint
which under Rule 8 is sufficient to withstand a motion to
dismiss.” Source Data Acquisition, LP v. Talbot
Grp., Inc., 4:07-cv-294, 2008 WL 678645, at *2 (E.D.
Tex. Mar. 11, 2008) (citing Mitchell v. E-Z WayTowers, Inc., 269 F.2d 126, 132 (5th Cir. 1959)). In
addition, “when a defendant is complaining of matters
that can be clarified and developed during discovery, not
matters that impede his ability to form a responsive
pleading, an order directing the plaintiff to provide a more
definite statement is ...