United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
T. PITTMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant Forest River, Inc.'s
(“Forest River”) Motion to Dismiss for Failure to
State a Claim (ECF No. 9), Plaintiffs Angie and Larry
Sparks' (the “Sparkses”) Response (ECF No.
13), and Forest River's Reply (ECF No. 15). Having
reviewed the Motion, Response, Reply, the Sparkses' First
Amended Complaint (ECF No. 8), and having considered the
current status of the case, the Court finds that Forest
River's Motion should be and hereby is
Sparkses allege in their First Amended Complaint that they
purchased a faulty 2016 Sierra by Forest River 5th Wheel
Travel Trailer (the “Travel Trailer”) from Forest
River for “tens of thousands of dollars.” 1st Am.
Compl. at ¶ 9, ECF No. 8. The Sparkses claim that Forest
River failed to properly design and install the electrical
wiring for the electric fireplace in the Travel Trailer.
Id. at ¶ 11. Moreover, the Sparkses claim that
Forest River did not install a Ground Fault Circuit
Interrupter (“GFCI”) or an Arc Fault Circuit
Interrupter (“AFCI”) in the circuit panel of the
travel trailer. Id. at ¶ 10. GFCIs and AFCIs
are devices that act to turn off the flow of electricity when
there is a short in electrical wiring, which is a safety
feature designed to prevent fires and other damage resulting
from malfunctioning electrical wires. Id. The
Sparkses allege that GFCIs and AFCIs can and should be
installed between the main incoming electric line and the
circuit breaker box of a travel trailer. Id.
the Sparkses used their electrical fireplace in the Travel
Trailer on or about December 19, 2016, the improperly
installed wiring caused a short. Id. at 12, 16. As
the shorted wiring began to heat and melt, no GFCI of AFCI
was in place to turn off the flow of electricity, causing
other wiring in the circuit breaker box to melt and
malfunction. Id. at ¶ 12. Plaintiff Angie
Sparks (“Angie”) personally observed the
malfunctioning fireplace while the wiring began to melt,
shoot sparks, and ultimately catch fire. Id. at
¶ 13. In response, Angie ran from the Travel Trailer to
disconnect the main electric line outside of the Travel
Trailer. Id. While running to unplug the Travel
Trailer, Angie fell and suffered “a life changing and
debilitating injury.” Id.
December 13, 2018, the Sparkses filed a lawsuit in the 348th
Judicial District Court for Tarrant County, Texas, against
Forest River. See ECF No. 1. On February 6, 2019,
Forest River removed this action to this Court. ECF No. 1. On
April 8, 2019, the Sparkses amended their complaint. ECF No.
8. In the Sparkses amended complaint, the Sparkses purport to
bring claims on their behalf as well as on behalf of others
similarly situated as a class action under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 23. Id. at ¶ 34. The Sparkses
seek damages related to property damage suffered by them and
members of the class, as well as for the injury to Angie.
Id. at 13. These damages include property damage,
medical care and expenses, physical pain and suffering,
mental anguish and physical pain and suffering, physical
impairment, loss of consortium including damage to the family
relationship, loss of care, comfort, solace, companionship,
protection services. Id. The Sparkses also pray for
relief in the form of statutory damages under the Texas
Deceptive Trade Practices Act, exemplary damages,
attorneys' fees and costs, and pre- and post-judgment
interest. Id. at 43-44.
River filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss on April 22,
2019. ECF No. 9. The Sparkses filed a response to Forest
River's motion to dismiss on May 22, 2019 (ECF No. 13),
and Forest River filed a reply on June 10, 2019 (ECF No. 15).
Forest River's motion to dismiss is now ripe for the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require a party to formulate
their pleadings in a manner that is organized and
comprehensible.” Boswell v. Honorable Governor of
Texas, 138 F.Supp.2d 782, 785 (N.D. Tex. 2000) (Mahon,
J.). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires a claim
for relief to contain “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule 8(e)(1) provides
that although no technical forms of pleadings are required,
each claim shall be “simple, concise, and
direct.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(e)(2). Furthermore, Rule 10(b)
directs parties to separate their claims within their
pleadings, and provides that the contents of each shall be
“limited as far as practicable to a single set of
circumstances.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(b).
plaintiff fails to satisfy Rule 8(a), the defendant may file
a motion to dismiss the plaintiff's claims under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for “failure to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). “In order to avoid dismissal for failure to
state a claim, a plaintiff must plead specific facts, not
mere allegations.” Boswell, 138 F.Supp.2d at
785 (citing Elliott v. Foufas, 867 F.2d 877, 881
(5th Cir. 1989)). “While a complaint need not outline
all the elements of a claim, the complaint must be
comprehensible and specific enough to draw the inference that
the elements exist.” Id. (citing Walker v.
South Cent. Bell Telephone Co., 904 F.2d 275, 277 (5th
Cir. 1990); Ledesma v. Dillard Dept. Stores, Inc.,
818 F.Supp. 983, 984 (N.D. Tex. 1993)). A plaintiff must
plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “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) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “The plausibility
standard is not akin to a ‘probability
requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court must accept all
well-pleaded facts in the complaint as true and view them in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Sonnier v.
State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 509 F.3d 673, 675 (5th
Cir. 2007). The Court is not bound to accept legal
conclusions as true, and only a complaint that states a
plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79. When there are
well-pleaded factual allegations, the Court assumes their
veracity and then determines whether they plausibly give rise
to an entitlement to relief. Id. “The ultimate
question in considering a motion to dismiss is whether the
complaint states a valid cause of action when it is viewed in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff.”
Boswell, 138 F.Supp.2d at 785 (citing Lowery v.
Texas A & M University Sys., 117 F.2d 242, 247 (5th
Sparkses failed to sufficiently plead the elements of, or
legal conditions for, any cause of action against Forest
River. To the contrary, the Sparkses have adopted what can be
described as a “shot-gun” approach, reciting
pages of facts combined with cryptic legalese only serving to
confuse the reader. See Boswell, 138 F.Supp.2d at
786. Although the Sparkses' First Amended Complaint
contains vague citations to several claims, it is replete
with bald, disjointed assertions. The Sparkses' First
Amended Complaint contains two separate fact sections,
neither of which complies with the mandate of Rule 10(b) to
separate claims within pleadings. See Fed. R. Civ.
P. 10(b). The Sparkses' First Amended Complaint also
contains a section setting out the Sparkses' Rule 23
class allegations, but it is likewise bereft of any
articulation of the causes of action alleged on behalf of the
class. This is unacceptable.
is not the Court's place to speculate or imagine what the
plaintiff's claims may be.” Martin v. U.S. Post
Office, 752 F.Supp. 213, 218 (N.D. Tex. 1990),
aff'd. 929 F.2d 697 (5th Cir. 1991);
Boswell, 138 F.Supp.2d at 785. Here, the Court
cannot determine the nature of the claims asserted in the
Sparkses' First Amended Complaint without resorting to
improper speculation. Indeed, the confusing nature of the
Sparkses' First Amended Complaint is highlighted by the
fact that Forest River is required to impermissibly speculate
as to the nature of the ...