United States District Court, D. Maryland
RICHARD D. BENNETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Kevin Robinson (“Plaintiff” or
“Robinson”) filed this action pro se
against Defendants Big Mouth, Inc. (“Big Mouth”)
and Amazon.Com, Inc. (“Amazon”) (collectively,
“Defendants”) relating to toilet paper
manufactured with the image of former President Barack Obama.
(ECF No. 2.) Presently pending before this Court are
Defendants' Motions to Dismiss. (ECF Nos. 12, 20.) The
parties' submissions have been reviewed and no hearing is
necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014). For
the reasons that follow, the Defendants' Motions to
Dismiss (ECF Nos. 12, 20) are GRANTED.
8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that
a complaint 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 12(b)(6) authorizes the dismissal
of a complaint if it fails to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The United States
Supreme Court's opinions in Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929
(2007) and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129
S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) “require that
complaints in civil actions be alleged with greater
specificity than previously was required.” While a
court must accept as true all factual allegations contained
in the complaint, legal conclusions drawn from those facts
are not afforded such deference. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678. Although a pro se plaintiff's pleadings are
“to be liberally construed” and are “held
to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers, ” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007), even a pro se litigant's complaint must
be dismissed if it does not allege a “plausible claim
for relief.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
negligence and strict products liability claims against
Defendants stem from Plaintiff observing toilet paper with
former President Barack Obama's image while at his place
of work. (Compl., ECF No. 2 at ¶ 4.) Plaintiff claims to
have suffered a panic attack when he reported the toilet
paper to his employer's Equal Employment Opportunity and
Human Resource representatives. (Id.) In addition,
when he reported the toilet paper to the United States Coast
Guard, the Coast Guard found Plaintiff's reaction to be
“extreme” and “hurt his credibility.”
(Id.) Plaintiff claims this incident “was the
catalyst for [his] termination” and “[a]s a
direct result of the workplace panic [he] has sustained
economic hardship, including damage to his reputation, as
well as emotional trauma.” (Id.)
claims, however, fail to show a “product” that
injured him. Maryland's statute, along with the
Restatement (Third) of torts, similarly define
“product” as “tangible.” Md. Code
Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-405 (West) (“any
tangible article, including attachments, accessories and
component parts, and accompanying labels, warnings,
instructions, and packaging”); Restatement (Third) of
Torts: Prod. Liab. § 19 (1988) (“A product is
tangible personal property distributed commercially for use
claims are that an image placed on a product, and not the
product itself, injured him. Negligence and strict products
liability law does not recognize a cause of action for
alleged harm stemming from an intangible expression. See
Jones v. J.B. Lippincott Co., 694 F.Supp. 1216, 1217 (D.
Md. 1988) (“No case has extended [products liability
theories] to the dissemination of an idea or knowledge in
books or other published material.”); Winter v.
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 938 F.2d 1033, 1034 (9th Cir.
1991) (“The language of products liability law reflects
its focus on tangible items. . . . [W]e decline to expand
products liability law to embrace the ideas and expression in
also brings a breach of warranty claim against Defendants.
Under Maryland law, an express warranty exists where there is
an “affirmation of fact or promise made by the seller
to the buyer which relates to the goods and becomes part of
the basis of the bargain.” Md. Code Ann., Com. Law
§ 2-313(1)(a). Plaintiff expressly states, however, that
he “was not the purchaser” of the toilet paper.
Absent a showing of personal injury, privity is a required
element for an express warranty claim. H & M Co. v.
Tech. Heat Transfer Servs., Inc., No. CIV.A.
TDC-14-1518, 2015 WL 1472000, at *4 (D. Md. Mar. 30, 2015)
(citing Copiers Typewriters Calculators, Inc. v. Toshiba
Corp., 576 F.Supp. 312, 322 (D. Md. 1983)).
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED this 26th day of September, 2017, that
Defendants' Motions to Dismiss (ECF No. 12, 20) are
GRANTED and it is FURTHER HEREBY ORDERED that these
Dismissals be WITH PREJUDICE, and the Clerk of this Court is
instructed to CLOSE THIS CASE.
 In Plaintiff's Response to
Defendants' Motions to Dismiss (ECF No. 24), he raises
for the first time claims under Federal Obscenity laws.
Because these claims were not included in the Complaint, ...