In Overholt v. CarMax Auto Superstores California, LLC, 2015 WL 403873 (E.D.Cal. 2015), Judge Burrell granted summary judgment to a car dealer who allegedly had falsely stated that the vehicle was “certified” and allegedly had failed to disclose that the vehicle was prior daily rental.
On December 31, 2011, Plaintiff purchased a used 2010 Jeep Liberty (the “Jeep.”) from CarMax. (Id. ¶ 4.) Plaintiff signed a prior use disclosure form before she purchased the Jeep, which disclosed: “I/We acknowledge the above vehicle’s prior use at the time of delivery as: RENTAL[.] This vehicle was used as a rental car before being purchased by CarMax.” (Id. ¶¶ 11–12.) . . .CarMax maintains a vehicle certification program known as the Certified Quality Inspection, (“CQI”). (Id. ¶ 16.) Plaintiff’s Jeep has undergone and passed a CQI. (Id.)CarMax asserts its statement that Plaintiff’s Jeep was certified does not constitute a misrepresentation since the Jeep had “undergone and passed a certification inspection.” (Ex. 21 (“Collins Decl.”) ¶¶ 5, 6 ECF No. 23–4.) CarMax supports this assertion with the declaration of the Operations Manager (“Collins”) for the CarMax store where Plaintiff purchased her Jeep. Collins declares that by looking at the Vehicle Repair Order History for Plaintiff’s Jeep, he was able to determine it went through and passed the Certified Quality Inspection (“CQI”) process. (Id. ¶¶ 15–16, Ex. 4 “Vehicle Repair Order History”, ECF No. 23–3.)
The District Court granted summary judgment for the Dealer on Plaintiff’s CLRA and UCL claims arising from the claim that the dealer lied about the vehicle’s “certification”.
Plaintiff responds that there is no requirement for her to have suffered damages to bring these claims, and that in any event she suffered “economic injury” as a result of CarMax’s alleged conduct since “she would not have purchased the vehicle if it had not been certified.” (Opp’n 13:3–4; 13:21; 16:1–3.) A CLRA action requires Plaintiff to demonstrate “some kind of damage” as a result of the unlawful practice. Meyer v. Sprint Spect., 45 Cal.4th 634, 641 (2009) (emphasis added). The UCL also requires “a loss or deprivation of money or property sufficient to qualify as injury.” Kwikset Corp. v. Superior Court, 51 Cal.4th 310, 322 (2011). Section 11713.18(a) (6) of the California Vehicle Code “requires a dealer to provide the buyer with a completed inspection report prior to sale, but the absence of a report does not actually bear on whether the inspection occurred.” Chulick–Perez v. CarMax Auto Superstores Cal., LLC, No. 2:13–cv–2329–TLN–DAD, 2014 WL 6819710, at *5 (E.D.Cal. Dec. 2, 2014). Plaintiff’s assertion that she “would not have purchased the Jeep if it had not been certified,” does not demonstrate that CarMax caused her harm since her claims “ha[ve] no bearing whatsoever on whether the underlying inspection[s] actually happened .” Stelzer v. CarMax Auto Superstores Cal., LLC, No. 13–cv01788–LAB–JMB, 2013 WL 6815029, at *2 (S.D.Cal. Dec. 20, 2013); see also Sigala v. CarMax Auto Superstores, LLC, No. 1:14–cv–01451–SAB, 2014 WL 5823099, at *7 (E.D.Cal. Nov. 10, 2014) (“the lack of [a] … CQI report or checklist [has] … not [been shown to] invalidate the certification of the vehicle.”). Since the Jeep was actually certified, CarMax’s summary judgment motion on these claims is granted.
The District Court also bound Plaintiff to the written disclosure of the car’s prior daily rental status as signed by the consumer.
CarMax also seeks summary judgment on Plaintiff’s CLRA and UCL claims that allege CarMax “fail[ed] to disclose the prior rental status of the [Jeep]” as required by 13 CCR § 260.02, since “[P]laintiff concede[d] that CarMax disclosed” that the Jeep had previously been used as a rental vehicle in the prior use disclosure form she signed. (Mot. 6:24–25, ECF No. 23–1.) California Code of Regulations 13 CCR § 260.02 prescribes: “Former … rental vehicles … shall be clearly identified as such if the previous status is known to the seller.” Plaintiff disputes the uncontroverted facts establishing that she signed and acknowledged the Jeep’s prior use “as a rental car before [it was] purchased by CarMax,” (Def. SUF ¶¶ 11–12), with her declaration in which she declares: she “felt the woman in the business office [who helped her with the paperwork] was flipping through the paperwork very quickly and it felt like a ‘blur.’ “. (Rosner Decl. Ex. 10 (“Overholt Decl.”) ¶ 5, ECF No. 29–1; (Ex. 12 (“Prior Use Disclosure”), ECF No. 23–3.) However, Plaintiff’s conclusory assertion concerning her feeling does not support drawing a reasonable inference that what she “felt” is grounded in objective fact as required under the summary judgment standard. See Cermetek, Inc. v. Butler Avpak, Inc., 573 F.2d 1370, 1376–77 (9th Cir.1978) (indicating that facts preceded by the preambles “understanding,” “belief,” or on “information and belief,” are not sufficient to create a genuine issue of fact absent specific facts justifying the stated conclusion); Superior Offshore Intern., Inc. v. Bristow Grp. Inc., No. 1:09–CV–00438–LDD, 2011 WL 2516522, at *9 (D. Del. June 23, 2011) (“Plaintiff has not introduced evidence of legal significance suggesting that Tuttle’s feelings and beliefs are reasonable, accurate, or grounded in objective fact.”); Carlson v. Arnot—Ogden Mem’l Hosp., 918 F.2d 411, 416 (3d Cir.1990) (stating a witness’s “purely subjective impression without any factual support amounts to nothing of legal significance and is insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment.”). Therefore, Plaintiff’s unexplained subjective feelings are insufficient to controvert Plaintiff’s signed acknowledgement that she understood the Jeep was a prior rental vehicle before she purchased it. See generally Bauer v. Jackson, 15 Cal.App.3d 358, 370 (1971) (“Ordinarily when a person with capacity of reading and understanding an instrument signs it, [s]he may not, in the absence of fraud, imposition or excusable neglect, avoid its terms on the ground that [s]he failed to read it before signing it.”). This portion of CarMax’s motion is granted.