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Singh v. Soraya Motor Co.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

October 26, 2017

HARVINDER SINGH, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
SORAYA MOTOR CO., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          JOHN C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant American Honda Finance Corporation's (“American Honda”) motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (Dkt. No. 52) and motion to strike contained in its reply brief (Dkt. No. 78).[1]The Court converts American Honda's motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(d), because both parties have presented to the Court matters outside the pleadings. See Fed R. Civ. P. 12(d); (see generally Dkt. Nos. 52, 64, 64-1.) Having thoroughly considered the parties' briefing and the relevant record, the Court finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS American Honda's motion for summary judgment, and GRANTS in part and DENIES in part its motion to strike for the reasons explained herein.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In February 2016, Plaintiff Harvinder Singh (“Singh”) bought a new Honda Accord from Defendant Hinshaw's Honda. (Dkt. No. 62 at 1.) The car had a sticker on the window (“Dealer's Addendum”) that listed three items: “3M, ” “Pro Pak, ” and “New Car Detail & Dealer Prep” (“Dealer Prep”) (collectively “Add-ons”). (Dkt. No. 74-1 at 75.) The sticker listed these Add-ons beneath the heading “DEALER-ADDED EQUIPMENT AND SERVICES.” (Id.) Each Add-on had a price associated with it and were included in the car's total price listed as $30, 632.00. (Id.)

         Singh did not know what the Add-ons listed on the Dealer's Addendum were. (Dkt. No. 62 at 1.) But Singh thought the Add-ons would be included as part of the price of the car because they were listed on the Dealer's Addendum. (Dkt. No. 62 at 2-4.) When Singh completed sales paperwork for the car, the Dealer's Addendum was not included with the paperwork. (Id. at 3.) Singh negotiated with dealership employees over the final sale price of the car but did not separately negotiate the price of the Add-ons. (Id. at 4.) The final negotiated base price, before taxes and title, was $27, 356.79. (Dkt. No. 74-1 at 47.)

         As part of the sale, Singh signed a Retail Installment Sale Contract (“RISC”). (Dkt. No. 74-1 at 58-60.) The RISC is a three page document that lists the total vehicle price and applicable financing information. (Dkt. No. 74-1 at 58-60.) Individual prices for the 3M, Pro Pak, and Dealer Prep listed on the Dealer Addendum were not included in the RISC. (Id.) Singh obtained financing from American Honda, and signed the RISC prior to purchasing the car. (Id. at 60.) The RISC was sent by Hinshaw's Honda to American Honda. (Dkt. Nos. 74-3 at 9, 80 at 4-6.) No American Honda employees were present during the sale of Singh's car. (Dkt. Nos. 74-2 at 2, 80 at 2.)

         Singh styles his lawsuit as a putative class action, alleging that Hinshaw's Honda and other related car dealerships fail to disclose the price of, and in some instances fail to furnish, Add-ons during the sale and lease of new cars. (See generally Dkt. No. 42.) Singh asserts that if he had known about the Add-ons, he could have declined to pay for them or negotiated a lower base price. (Dkt. No. 62 at 3-4.) American Honda allegedly profits from these non-disclosures by receiving larger interest payments on financing. (Dkt. No. 74 at 18.) Singh alleges American Honda breached its contract, violated its duty of fair dealing, negligently supervised employees, and violated the Washington Consumer Protection Act (“CPA”). (Id. at 34-41.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. The Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss Standard

         A defendant may move for dismissal when a plaintiff “fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). When ruling on a motion to dismiss, a court may consider the pleadings, documents attached to the pleadings, documents incorporated by reference in the pleadings, and matters of judicial notice. United States v. Ritchie, 342 F.3d 903, 907-08 (9th Cir. 2003). However, “[i]f, on a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) or 12(c), matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule 56.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). “All parties must be given a reasonable opportunity to present all the material that is pertinent to the motion.” Id.

         American Honda initially filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Dkt. No. 52.) As part of its motion to dismiss, American Honda included a copy of the RISC signed by Singh at the time he purchased his car. (Dkt. No. 52 at 13-16.) The RISC was not attached to the amended complaint. (See generally Dkt. No. 42.) In his response, Singh objected to the inclusion of the RISC with the motion to dismiss. (Dkt. No. 64 at 8.) Singh also included with his response 91 pages of declarations and exhibits that he cites throughout his response to American Honda's motion to dismiss. (Dkt. Nos. 64 at 3-9, 64-1.) The attachments to Singh's response were not included with the amended complaint. (See generally Dkt. No. 42.)

         Pursuant to Rule 12(d), the Court deferred consideration of the motion to allow Singh a reasonable opportunity to present all material that would be pertinent to American Honda's motion. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d); (Dkt. No. 68 at 2.) Singh was allowed to file an updated response and American Honda was allowed to file an updated reply. (Id.)

         In his second response to American Honda's motion (Dkt. No. 74), Singh objected to “a lack of any opportunity for discovery.” (Id. at 3-4.) Singh stated that he was able “to obtain minimal informal and incomplete discovery from AHFC [American Honda], i.e., answers to a limited number of requests for admission.” (Id. at 4.) Singh is essentially asking the Court to further defer consideration of American Honda's motion for summary judgment to allow for more discovery. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(d); (Dkt. No. 74 at 14.)

         The Court does not find a basis to defer consideration any further than it already has. When parties submit materials outside of the pleadings they are on notice that “[t]he judge may use them to decide a motion originally noted as a motion to dismiss, requiring its transformation to a motion for summary judgment.” San Pedro Hotel Co. v. City of L.A., 159 F.3d 470, 477 (9th Cir. 1998). By including matters outside of the pleadings, both Singh and American Honda were placed on notice that the Court, under the Federal Rules, could convert the motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d).

         Furthermore, Singh's argument that he has not been allowed to conduct discovery to oppose American Honda's motion is simply not supported by the record. First, Singh has been propounding discovery on American Honda and the Dealership Defendants since July 21, 2017. (Dkt. No. 79 at 2.) To be sure, Singh attaches to his response dozens of documents that he obtained through discovery and that directly address the issues American Honda raises in its motion to dismiss. (See generally Dkt. No. 74-1.)[2] American Honda's motion does not rely on any evidence that has not been provided to Singh. (See generally Dkt. No. 78.)

         While Singh asserts that American Honda has not fully responded to its discovery requests, he does not provide by affidavit or declaration any “specified reasons, [he] cannot present facts essential to justify [his] opposition . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(d). Singh simply states that “[a]side from the RISC, AHFC has not produced other relevant documents.” (Dkt. No. 74 at 13.) He fails to explain how such documents would alter his ability to address American Honda's motion. Singh also suggests that he needs an opportunity to depose AHFC employees who handled his contract paperwork, but does not specify how such testimony would provide essential facts needed to justify his opposition. (Id.)

         Finally, the Court already delayed consideration of this motion for an additional month to allow Singh a reasonable opportunity to address the arguments put forward in American Honda's motion to dismiss. (Dkt. No. 68 at 2.) The Court, therefore, finds it appropriate to convert American Honda's motion to dismiss (Dkt. No. 52) to a motion for summary judgment, and to rule on the motion for summary judgment at this time.

         B. The Summary ...


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