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Daniels v. NVR, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

October 30, 2014

NVR, INC., t/a Ryan Homes, Defendant

Tamara P. Daniels, Plaintiff, Pro se, Baltimore, MD.

For NVR, Inc., trading as Ryan Homes, Defendant: Michael Stuart Koplan, LEAD ATTORNEY, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, Washington, DC.

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James K. Bredar, United States District Judge.

I. Background

Plaintiff Tamara P. Daniels filed this lawsuit against NVR, Inc., trading as Ryan Homes (" NVR" ), in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, Maryland, on September 30, 2013. (Compl., ECF No. 2.) After being served with the complaint on October 25, 2013, NVR removed the case to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. (ECF No. 1.) Pending before the Court is NVR's motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). (ECF No. 20.) The motion is premised on NVR's assertions that Daniels's claims are time-barred. Following full briefing on the motion (ECF Nos. 24 & 26), Plaintiff's counsel moved to withdraw their representation of her (ECF No. 27), and the Court granted that motion (ECF No. 28). Plaintiff has not secured another attorney to represent her and is proceeding pro se. No hearing is necessary. Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014). The motion will be granted.

II. Standard for Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

A motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) is assessed under the same standard applicable to motions to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).

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See Walker v. Kelly, 589 F.3d 127, 139 (4th Cir. 2009). A complaint must contain " sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). Facial plausibility exists " when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. An inference of a mere possibility of misconduct is not sufficient to support a plausible claim. Id. at 679. As the Twombly opinion stated, " Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." 550 U.S. at 555. " A pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.' . . . Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders 'naked assertion[s]' devoid of 'further factual enhancement.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557). Although when considering a motion to dismiss a court must accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint, this principle does not apply to legal conclusions couched as factual allegations. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

III. Allegations of the Complaint

Plaintiff Daniels and Defendant NVR entered into a purchase agreement on April 24, 2011, in which Daniels agreed to buy and NVR agreed to sell a lot and home to be built thereon in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. (Compl., ¶ 4, and Ex. 1.) The parties agreed on a specific model home to be constructed by NVR for Daniels. (Compl., ¶ 4.) NVR further agreed that the home would be constructed according to certain energy efficiency guidelines, including a particular level of insulation, and that agreed improvements to the lot were reflected in the plans and specifications provided to Daniels. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 5-9.) Settlement occurred on August 12, 2011. ( Id. ¶ 20.)

The complaint alleges the building permit application contained factual assertions inconsistent with the home actually constructed. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 13-14.) The factual inaccuracies were allegedly reported to the Maryland State Department of Assessment and Taxation, resulting in a higher tax burden for Daniels. ( Id. ¶ 16.) Daniels further alleges that NVR made significant departures from the plans and specifications in regard to the plumbing and undertook to correct those errors without applying for a revised building permit or securing another plumbing inspection. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 18-19.) Daniels alleges that the house " was never completed in good and workmanlike fashion," was not constructed according to applicable building code, and did not comply with the promised energy efficiency standards. ( Id. ¶ 21.) The complaint includes a lengthy list of building defects and deficiencies. ( Id. ¶ 23.)

In conjunction with and at the time of execution of the purchase agreement, NVR provided a specimen of a written warranty (" Limited Warranty" ) to Daniels. ( Id. ¶ 10.) The Limited Warranty provided a one-year warranty " on the basic home," promising it would be free from defects in both materials and workmanship of the original construction. (Def.'s Mot., Ex. A, ECF No. 21-1.) In addition, NVR warranted the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems would be free of defects in workmanship of the original installation for two years. ( Id.) Finally, NVR gave a ten-year ...

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