JAMES C. LABRECQUE d/b/a FLEXWARE CONTROL TECHNOLOGY Plaintiff,
REFRIGERATION RESEARCH, INC. and JOHN DOE, an ASME National Board Inspector Defendants,
the Court is Defendant, Refrigeration Research, Inc.'s
("Refrigeration Research") Motion to Dismiss for
Failure to State a Claim, filed pursuant to M.R. Civ. P.
12(b)(6). This case arises from the aftermath of the alleged
failure of four high-pressure vessels sold by Refrigeration
Research to Plaintiff James C. LaBrecque d/b/a Flexware
Control Technology ("Flexware") for use in a
grocery store refrigeration system.
April 27, 2018, Flexware filed a Complaint alleging one count
of Negligence against Refrigeration Research, two counts of
Negligent Misrepresentation (one against each Defendant), two
counts of Fraudulent Misrepresentation (one against each
Defendant), and one count for Punitive Damages. The Complaint
was served on Refrigeration Research, in Michigan, on May 4,
2018. Refrigeration Research argues that the economic loss
doctrine bars Counts I and II, that Plaintiff has not pled
Count IV (Fraud) with sufficient particularity, and that
Count V (punitive damages) is not a viable cause of action
under Maine law.
reasons that follow, the Court grants Refrigeration
Research's Motion to Dismiss as to Counts I and II, but
denies the Motion as to Count IV.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
a court decides a motion to dismiss, made pursuant to M.R.
Civ. P. 12(b)(6), 'the material allegations must be taken
as admitted."' Moody v. State Liquor &
Lottery Comm'n, 2004 ME 20, ¶ 7, 843 A.2d 43
(citation omitted). Moreover, "[a] dismissal should only
occur when it appears 'beyond doubt that a plaintiff is
entitled to no relief under any set of facts that he might
prove in support of his claim.'" Id.
(citations omitted) (alteration added).
following facts alleged in Flexware's Complaint are taken
as admitted for purposes of resolving Refrigeration
Research's 12(b)(6) Motion.
April 2012, Flexware took delivery of four high-pressure
vessels purchased from Refrigeration Research. (Pl's.
Compl. ¶ 6.) On or about May 12, 2012, Flexware
incorporated the vessels into a refrigeration system located
within a grocery store in Holden, Maine. (Id. ¶
provided Refrigeration Research with specific requirements
necessary for the high-pressure vessels to be incorporated
into the refrigeration system. (Id. ¶ 9.)
Refrigeration Research knew or should have known that the
refrigeration system was to be placed in a grocery store
frequented by the public. (Id. ¶ 10.)
Research knew or should have known that the vessels were
required to sustain working pressure of 450 pounds per square
inch, (Id. ¶ 11.) The State of Maine has
adopted and codified the ASME requirements and standards at
32 M.R.S. § 15101, et seq. (Id. ¶ 13.)
Research affixed to each vessel a metal plate which certified
that the vessel complied with the ASME standards of design,
fabrication, testing, and performance. (Id. ¶
14.) Refrigeration Research knew or should have known the
four vessels did not meet these ASME standards, (Id.
¶ 15.) Flexware relied on Refrigeration Research's
affirmation, by ASME certification, that the four vessels
would withstand an operating pressure of 450 pounds per
square inch. (Id. ¶ 16.)
Research had a duty to construct the vessels in a workmanlike
manner and in compliance with all applicable laws, rules,
regulations, and mandates. (Id. ¶ 17.)
Refrigeration Research breached its duty by failing to
construct the vessels in compliance with ASME requirements,
which are mandated by Maine law. (Id. ¶ 18.)
direct and foreseeable result of Refrigeration Research's
false representation, by ASME certification, as to the
working pressure capacity, and Refrigeration Research's
breach of its duty owed Flexware, Flexware suffered damages
when the vessels failed at a working pressure at or near half
the pressure Refrigeration Research certified. This created
an unreasonable and foreseeable risk of injury due to