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Gentry Homes, Ltd. v. Simpson Strong-Tie Co., Inc.

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

December 9, 2019

GENTRY HOMES, LTD., Plaintiff,
v.
SIMPSON STRONG-TIE CO., INC.; SIMPSON MANUFACTURING CO., INC.; JOHN DOES 1-20, Defendants.

         ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS SIMPSON STRONG-TIE CO., INC. AND SIMPSON MANUFACTURING CO., INC.'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT REGARDING STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON PLAINTIFF'S BREACH OF WARRANTY CLAIM (ECF NO. 56) AND DENYING DEFENDANTS SIMPSON STRONG-TIE CO., INC. AND SIMPSON MANUFACTURING CO., INC.'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S BREACH OF WARRANTY CLAIM (ECF NO. 54) AND DENYING DEFENDANTS SIMPSON STRONG-TIE CO., INC. AND SIMPSON MANUFACTURING CO, INC.'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S NEGLIGENT MISREPRESENTATION CLAIM (ECF NO. 52)

          HELEN GILLMOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Gentry Homes, Ltd. filed a Complaint against Defendants Simpson Strong-Tie Co., Inc. and Simpson Manufacturing Co., Inc. arising out of the construction of more than 2, 000 homes in the Ewa Beach community on the island of Oahu.

         Gentry Homes, Ltd., the developer of the residential housing community, claims that it constructed 2, 136 homes between July 2001 and 2012 using Defendants Simpson Strong-Tie Co. Inc. and Simpson Manufacturing Co., Inc.'s products.

         Specifically, the homes were constructed with Defendants' hold-down straps and mudsill anchors that are designed to prevent injuries and damage to the homes that may be caused from wind uplift forces, such as hurricane winds. The products were subject to an express warranty provided by Defendants.

         Plaintiff claims that it used the hold-down straps and mudsill anchors in its construction pursuant to Defendants' specifications.

         Plaintiff claims, however, that as early as 2003, Defendants became aware that Defendants' products were defective, were subject to corrosion, and were rusting through the concrete in some homes in other developments in Hawaii.

         Plaintiff asserts that Defendants failed to inform Plaintiff of the defects in their products and misrepresented the quality of their products.

         On July 30, 2011, both Plaintiff and Defendants were subject to a class action lawsuit in Hawaii State Court that was brought by the homeowners of the development constructed by Plaintiff. The lawsuit claimed that the homes that were designed, developed, and built by Plaintiff had inadequate high-wind protection and included defective products designed by the Defendants.

         Both Plaintiff and Defendants agreed to toll any claims against each other during the pendency of the Hawaii State Court class action lawsuit. Defendants were granted summary judgment in the state lawsuit and Gentry remained in the suit.

         On September 7, 2017, the class action lawsuit against Gentry was settled. Under the terms of the settlement, Plaintiff Gentry Homes, Ltd. agreed to replace all of the hold-down straps and mudsill anchors that it had installed in its homes that were designed and manufactured by Defendants.

         Plaintiff now has filed suit against Defendants Simpson Strong-Tie Co., Inc. and Simpson Manufacturing Co., Inc., seeking damages on the grounds that Defendants' products were defective.

         Plaintiff filed this Complaint against Defendants asserting two claims:

         Count I: Breach of Warranty

         Plaintiff brings a claim for breach of warranty based on alleged defects in the design and manufacturing of the Defendants' products, pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statute § 490:2-313;

         Count II: Negligent Misrepresentation

         Plaintiff brings a state law claim for negligent misrepresentation, alleging Defendants made misrepresentations and omissions to Plaintiff about the installation means, methods, and suitability of their products.

         Defendants seek summary judgment on both of Plaintiff's claims.

         There are genuine issues of material fact as to the basis for the purported failure of the hold-down straps and mudsill anchors. Plaintiff claims the products were defective, while Defendants claim that their products are not defective but were only subject to corrosion in Plaintiff's homes because of the improper construction and installation by Plaintiff.

         Each party has submitted expert reports in support of their positions. The Court is unable to weigh evidence and make credibility determinations at summary judgment.

         Defendants Simpson Strong-Tie Co., Inc. and Simpson Manufacturing Co., Inc.'s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment Regarding Plaintiff's Breach of Warranty Claim (ECF No. 54) is DENIED.

         Defendants Simpson Strong-Tie Co., Inc. and Simpson Manufacturing Co., Inc.'s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment Regarding Plaintiff's Negligent Misrepresentation Claim (ECF No. 52) is DENIED.

         Statute of Limitations

         Defendants also seek partial summary judgment on the statute of limitations applicable to Plaintiff's breach of warranty claim. Defendants claim that the Hawaii state statute for breach of warranty prevents Plaintiff from seeking relief for products that were delivered outside of the statue of limitations.

         Plaintiff concedes that the applicable statute of limitations limits its ability to recover only as to breach of warranty for specific homes that received Defendants' products outside the statute of limitations.

         Defendants Simpson Strong-Tie Co., Inc. and Simpson Manufacturing Co., Inc.'s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment Regarding Statute of Limitations On Plaintiff's Breach of Warranty Claim (ECF No. 56) is GRANTED.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On November 20, 2017, Plaintiff Gentry Homes, Ltd. filed a Complaint. (ECF No. 1).

         On August 21, 2019, Defendants Simpson Strong-Tie Co., Inc. and Simpson Manufacturing Co., Inc. filed three separate Motions for Summary Judgment and Concise Statements of Fact as follows:

MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S NEGLIGENT MISREPRESENTATION CLAIM (ECF No. 52);
CONCISE STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S NEGLIGENT MISREPRESENTATION CLAIM (ECF No. 53);
MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT REGARDING PLAINTIFF”S BREACH OF WARRANTY CLAIM (ECF No. 54);
CONCISE STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S BREACH OF WARRANTY CLAIM (ECF No. 55);
MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT REGARDING STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON PLAINTIFF'S BREACH OF WARRANTY CLAIM (ECF No. 56);
CONCISE STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT REGARDING STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON PLAINTIFF'S BREACH OF WARRANTY CLAIM (ECF No. 57).

On September 5, 2019, the Court issued a briefing schedule. (ECF No. 60).

         On September 11, 2019, the Court granted the Parties' joint request to extend the briefing schedule. (ECF No. 61).

         On October 22, 2019, Plaintiff filed its Oppositions to Defendants' three Motions for Summary Judgment as follows:

MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S NEGLIGENT MISREPRESENTATION CLAIM (ECF No. 64);
MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S BREACH OF WARRANTY CLAIM (ECF No. 65);
CONCISE STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON PLAINTIFF'S BREACH OF WARRANTY CLAIM (ECF No. 66);
CONCISE STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON NEGLIGENT MISREPRESENTATION CLAIM (ECF No. 67);
PLAINTIFF'S STATEMENT OF POSITION RE: DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT REGARDING STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON PLAINTIFF'S BREACH OF WARRANTY CLAIM (ECF NO. 68).

On October 23, 2019, Plaintiff filed ERRATA TO PLAINTIFF'S RESPONSE TO SEPARATE AND CONCISE STATEMENT OF FACTS IN SUPPORT OF SIMPSON'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT REGARDING NEGLIGENT MISREPRESENTATION CLAIM. (ECF No. 69).

         On the same date, Plaintiff filed ERRATA TO PLAINTIFF'S CONCISE STATEMENT OF FACTS IN SUPPORT OF GENTRY HOMES, LTD'S MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS SIMPSON STRONG-TIE CO., INC. AND SIMPSON MANUFACTURING CO., INC.'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S BREACH OF WARRANTY CLAIM. (ECF No. 70).

         On October 29, 2019, Defendants filed their Replies and Concise Statements of Facts in ...


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