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Rait v. Sears, Roebuck and Co.

2009 WL 250309 (U.S. Dist. Ct. D. N.J. 2009) (Unpublished)

CONSUMER FRAUD ACT; @FRAUD — A complaint alleging violations of Consumer Fraud Act and of common law consumer fraud must be pled with specificity.

A customer purchased a garage door opener from a retailer but soon afterwards experienced an ongoing problem which caused light bulbs to continually burn out prematurely. The customer paid for a repair performed by the retailer and subsequently sued the retailer for statutory and common law fraud. She alleged that the retailer intentionally placed inferior products on the market and then gained additional profits by charging for repairs. The Court found that the customer’s allegations of statutory or consumer fraud were not precise or specific enough because she did not provide supporting documents or factual details of how, or in what ways, the retailer intentionally placed inferior products on the market in order to gain further profits from repairs but only made broad assertions alleging the retailers misconduct. The customer’s common law fraud claims were found not to be sufficiently established especially in light of the fact that common law fraud claims require proof that an aggrieved party was actually deceived or misled. The Court found that the customer adequately alleged that the retailer unjustly benefitted by receiving payment for repairs to the garage door opener. Finally, the Court agreed with the customer that products such as the garage door opener that are advertised on the internet, where she purchased it, could trigger an implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, but found that her allegation of such a breach, based on her assertion that she bought the garage door opener because of the description on the website, was insufficient. Based on its findings, the Court dismissed the customer’s claims for statutory and consumer fraud. The customer’s breach of the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose claim was also dismissed, but the Court allowed her the opportunity to amend her claim. In addition, the customer’s claim for unjust enrichment against the retailer was allowed to proceed.

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