In Thompson v. Exeter Fin. Corp., No. 2021AP219, 2022 Wisc. App. LEXIS 494, at *1-3 (Ct. App. June 8, 2022), the Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment against a consumer who alleged breach of the peace during the course of an attempted repossession.
On June 4, 2017, repossession agents attempted to repossess Thompson’s car. Thompson’s family members protested and told the agents to leave, as the family needed the car to take Thompson’s pregnant daughter to the hospital.2 The agents declined to leave and called law enforcement for assistance. Law enforcement came and noted that there was no court order for the car. Eventually, the agents left without it. Thompson sued Exeter over its agents’ actions in the attempted repossession of her car. She accused Exeter of violating Wis. Stat. § 425.206(2)(a), which codifies the rule in the Uniform Commercial Code prohibiting repossessions in breach of peace. See Wis. Stat. § 409.609(2)(b); see also Hollibush v. Ford Motor Credit Co., 179 Wis. 2d 799, 806, 508 N.W.2d 449 (Ct. App. 1993) (concluding that “breach of the peace” in § 425.206(2)(a) has the same meaning as in the Uniform Commercial Code). Exeter moved for summary judgment on Thompson’s claim. After a hearing on the matter, the circuit court granted the motion. This appeal follows. . . Here, we are satisfied that the circuit court properly granted summary judgment to Exeter. The statute that Thompson relies on provides, “[i]n taking possession of collateral or leased goods, no merchant may … [c]ommit a breach of the peace.” Wis. Stat. § 425.206(2)(a). This plainly required Exeter’s agents to “tak[e] possession” of Thompson’s car. While Exeter’s agents attempted to take possession Thompson’s car, they never actually did so. Without actual possession, there can no liability under the statute for breaching the peace in the process of repossession. See Hollibush, 179 Wis. 2d at 805 (recognizing that under the statute, “a creditor may repossess collateral if it does not breach the peace in the process.”).3