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Zinn v. ADT LLC of Delaware (FN)

United States District Court, D. Arizona

January 23, 2018

Sandra Zinn, Plaintiff,
v.
ADT LLC of Delaware (FN), et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Douglas L. Rayes United States District Judge.

         At issue is Defendant ADT LLC of Delaware (FN)'s motion for judgment on the pleadings, which is fully briefed. (Docs. 10, 16, 19.) For the following reasons, the motion is granted.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff Sandra Zinn, an Arizona resident, claims several individuals intruded on her residence in Pinnacle Peak Country Club Estates on April 24, 2016. Plaintiff claims the intrusion resulted in damage to her personal property and emotional distress-totaling at least $200, 000 in damages. Prior to the intrusion, Plaintiff entered into a Residential Services Contract (“Contract”) with Defendant. The Contract stipulated that Defendant would provide security services, including an alarm system, to Plaintiff's residence in exchange for a monthly fee of $40.99. Defendant, however, did not detect or respond to an intrusion on April 24, 2016.

         On June 13, 2017, Plaintiff filed this action in state court claiming that Defendant acted negligently with respect to its duty to provide alarm services, and that Defendant's negligence proximately caused Plaintiff's injuries. Defendant removed the action pursuant to this Court's diversity jurisdiction. Defendant now seeks judgement in its favor pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c).

         II. Legal Standard

         A motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) “is properly granted when, taking all the allegations in the non-moving party's pleadings as true, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fajardo v. Cnty. of L.A., 179 F.3d 698, 699 (9th Cir. 1999). “Rule 12(c) is ‘functionally identical' to Rule 12(b)(6) and . . . ‘the same standard of review' applies to motions brought under either rule.” Cafasso v. Gen. Dynamics C4 Sys., 637 F.3d 1047, 1054 n.4 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Dworkin v. Hustler Magazine Inc., 867 F.2d 1188, 1192 (9th Cir. 1989)). Thus, a motion for judgment on the pleadings should not be granted if the complaint is based on a cognizable legal theory and contains “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 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

         Ordinarily, when ruling on a motion for judgment on the pleadings, “the scope of review . . . is limited to the contents of the complaint.” Marder v. Lopez, 450 F.3d 445, 448 (9th Cir. 2006). Other evidence may be considered, however, “[i]f the documents' ‘authenticity . . . is not contested' and ‘the plaintiff's complaint necessarily relies' on them.” Lee v. City of L.A., 250 F.3d 668, 688 (9th Cir. 2001) (quoting Parrino v. FHP, Inc., 146 F.3d 699, 705-06 (9th Cir. 1988)). Accordingly, in ruling on Defendant's motion the Court will consider the Contract because its authenticity is not contested, and Plaintiff's complaint necessarily relies on its terms and conditions.

         III. Discussion

         Defendant argues that Plaintiff's negligence claim fails as a matter of law both because Arizona recognizes no common law duty under these circumstances and because Plaintiff's claim is untimely. The Court agrees.[1]

         A. Negligence

         Plaintiff claims that Defendant owed her a duty of care based on Defendant's relationship to her as her home security provider. Plaintiff further asserts that Defendant breached that duty by failing to detect or respond to the home intrusion. Defendant argues that Plaintiff's negligence claim fails as a matter of law because Defendant did not have a duty to provide alarm services independent of the Contract.

         In Arizona, “a breach of contract is not a tort unless the law imposes a duty on the relationship created by the contract which exists apart from the contract.” See Flores v. ADT Sec. Servs., Inc., No. CIV 10-036-TUC-FRZ (GEE), 2010 WL 6389598, at *5 (D. Ariz. June 28, 2010) (quoting Aspell v. Am. Contract Bridge League, 595 P.2d 191, 194 (Ariz.Ct.App. 1979). Arizona law does not impose a duty on the relationship between a provider of security services and a contracting residence owner. Id.; see also Valenzuela v. ADT Sec. Servs., Inc, 475 Fed. App'x 115, 117 (9th Cir. 2012) (affirming the district court's grant of summary judgment on the plaintiff's gross negligence claim because the alarm service provider's duty to provide security services “arose solely from its contractual relationship . . . not form any duty independent of the parties' contract.”). Accordingly, Defendant is entitled to judgment on Plaintiff's negligence claim because Arizona imposes no duty of care on Defendant independent of the Contract.

         B. ...


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