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Pegg v. Nexus RVS LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

July 2, 2019

STEVE PEGG, Plaintiff,
v.
NEXUS RVS LLC, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          PHILIP P. SIMON, JUDGE

         This case involves the purchase of an RV which, according to the plaintiff Steve Pegg, was riddled with problems from the moment he drove it off the lot. Pegg claims the manufacturer and seller, Nexus RVs, LLC, failed to live up to its express and implied warranties and also asks the court to strike Pegg's expert [DE 48, 50]. Because I find that the expert opinion is reliable and relevant, and that genuine issues of material fact remain as to Pegg's claims, both motions will be denied. In other words, a jury is going to have to decide whether Mr. Pegg is a fussy nitpicker, on the one hand, or was an aggrieved customer, on the other.

         Background

          Pegg, a Texas resident, purchased a 2017 Nexus Ghost Recreational Vehicle on May 4, 2016, for a total purchase price of $198, 322.13 (which included a vehicle service contract). [Pegg Aff., DE 56 at 2.][1] Nexus RV manufactured the RV which was purchased by Pegg, and as part of the deal, Nexus provided Pegg a 1 year warranty. [Id.; DE 52-3.] The warranty covered “defects in Nexus materials and/or workmanship in construction of the recreational vehicle.” [DE 52-3 at 1.] The warranty also provided that “[a]ll obligations of Nexus pursuant to this Limited Warranty are limited to replacing or repairing the defective part of component.” Id.

         On May 5, 2016, Pegg took delivery of the RV from the Nexus factory in Elkhart, Indiana. During the pre-delivery walk through inspection, Pegg discovered a number of problems with the RV, including: wrong size bed installed, safe box not installed, trim behind rear, bunk wiring missing, trim behind rear TV falling off, trim missing between bedroom and bunk, passenger slide out not closing properly, no hot water, squeak in transition plate, missing tile work, no air compressor, no slide trade in cargo, and the rear cargo doors were coming open. [DE 56 at 2-3; spreadsheet (DE 52-4).]

         Pegg stayed overnight so that Nexus could repair the problems. [DE 56 at 3.] The next day, Nexus told Pegg that the defects were repaired, so he took delivery and headed home. Id. According to Pegg, he began experiencing problems with the RV on his way home from the Nexus factory. Id. For example, he discovered that the hot water was intermittently inoperable, the rear doors were still coming open, trim still needed to be fixed, and the transition plate still squeaked. [DE 52-4.]

         When he got home, Pegg notified Steve Tobias (the Nexus service manager), via text message of the following issues:

a. Shower leak dripping from the left side of the shower pan;
b. transition plate still squeaking;
c. Water tank was sliding to the passenger side, drooping, and spilling while moving. The overflow and the outlet were only a few inches apart;
d. rear passenger cargo door doesn't close properly because of the tank;
e. suspension squeaky while turning right;
f. bumper dent; g. mirror had a crack;
h. access panel to laundry;
i. hot water in and out;
j. MCD shade in dinette would not go all the way up;
k. cargo bay in front of passenger tire was banged up; and
l. leak above the battery bay.

[DE 51-5.]

         Prior to leaving on a two-week family trip, Pegg contacted Tobias in order to obtain warranty repairs of these defects. [DE 56 at 3.] However, Tobias could not arrange for an authorized repair facility to perform the warranty repairs on the route for the family trip. Id. Instead, Tobias mailed parts to Pegg so he could repair the RV's water tank himself. Id.

         After returning from the family trip, Nexus selected and arranged for Mike's RV to repair the defects beginning on June 15, 2016. [Id.] Nexus authorized Mike's RV to perform warranty repairs on its behalf. [Donati Dep., DE 52-18, at 39-40.] In anticipation of the service visit, Pegg provided a list of defects directly to Tobias including: transition plate squeak, screen in top bunk falling out, dent in bumper from the factory, shower leaks, sink leaks, fresh water tank loose and sliding around, rear door not closing properly, driver's side suspension squeaky, crack in mirror, access panel falling off, hot water intermittently inoperable, shade in dinette won't go all the way up, cargo door damaged from loose fresh water tank, squeak in dining window, cargo door misaligned, wood trim bubbling, wall seam tape peeling, water leak over battery door, passenger side cargo compartment leaks, bath sink inoperable, and electrical plugs inoperable. [DE 56 at 4; DE 52-4.]

         On June 15, 2016, Mike's RV picked up the RV to perform those repairs. [DE 56 at 4.] Because Pegg hoped to use the RV for the long Fourth of July weekend, and since Mike's RV was waiting for parts from Nexus, Mike's RV returned the RV to Pegg on June 28, 2016. Id. However, upon return of the RV, Pegg discovered roof damage to the RV. Id. Mike's RV acknowledged the roof damage and stated it would take the RV back, patch up the roof, and install a new vent hood. Id. Mike's RV took the RV back that same day and returned it to Pegg on June 29, 2016. Id.

         When he got the RV back, Pegg discovered that the RV was filthy, as if someone had stayed in it, and there were scratches down both sides of the RV. Id. Although Mike's RV attempted to buff out the scratches and repair the issues, Mike's RV failed to repair all of the problems. Id.

         About a week later, on July 7, 2016, something strange happened; Pegg received a letter from the Fort Worth Traffic Division indicating the RV had been in an accident on June 17, 2016 - a time period during which Mike's RV was supposed to be repairing the RV. [DE 56 at 5.] Pegg then immediately contacted Tobias and told him the RV had been in an accident while in the possession of Mike's RV, and asked Tobias to find another authorized repair facility to service the RV. Id.

         Nexus then indicated that it would arrange for the RV to be transported to the Nexus factory in Elkhart, Indiana. Id. In a letter dated July 20, 2016, Nexus agreed to complete the repairs, but noted that Nexus was not responsible for the accident at Mike's RV, and that it was “not responsible for this situation.” [DE 52-8 at 2.] Evidently, this was Pegg's problem to work through. Nexus did say it was willing to work with Pegg's insurance carrier on the items that were damaged in the accident, provide estimates, and perform the repairs if given authorization from State Farm. Id. This response ticked Pegg off, and he responded with an e-mail dated July 25, 2019, stating he was ...


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