United States District Court, E.D. Washington
ROGERS MOTORS OF HERMISTON LLC, an Oregon limited liability company, Plaintiff,
BARTLETT LLC, a Washington limited liability company, and TRAVELERS CASUALTY AND SURETY COMPANY OF AMERICA, a Connecticut corporation, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND MOTION
SALVADOR MENDOZA, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Motors purchased a 2007 Toyota Tundra (the Tundra) from
Bartlett LLC (Bartlett) at an auction in 2014. Rogers Motors
then sold the Tundra to a consumer. Several months later, the
consumer discovered the odometer had not been registering
miles since it was purchased at the auction. Rogers Motors
brought this action against Bartlett alleging, among other
things, violation of the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost
Savings Act (Odometer Act), 49 U.S.C. §§ 32701- 11,
and Washington's Consumer Protection Act (CPA), Wash.
Rev. Code § 19.86 et. seq. Rogers Motors
alleges that Bartlett tampered with the Tundra's
odometer, operated the Tundra with knowledge the odometer was
dysfunctional, and fraudulently provided an inaccurate
odometer statement at the time of sale.
moves for summary judgment on Rogers Motors's Odometer
Act claims. ECF No. 41. By separate motion, Bartlett also
moves for summary judgment on Rogers Motors's CPA claims.
ECF No. 53. On January 23, 2018, the Court held a hearing on
the motions for summary judgment and denied both motions. The
Court also denied Bartlett's motion to compel, ECF No.
56. This Order memorializes and supplements the Court's
Bartlett is the sole owner of Bartlett LLC (Bartlett), a
wholesale auto importer located in Spokane, Washington. In
2007, Bartlett, acting through an intermediary known as
Northern Imports LLC (Northern Imports), purchased a 2007
Toyota Tundra. Bartlett purchased the Tundra from Omar Hajar,
the truck's registered owner in Canada. ECF No. 41-2 at
2. When Bartlett purchased the Tundra, the odometer
registered 137, 213, the equivalent of 85, 720 miles. ECF No.
taking possession of the Tundra, Bartlett paid Northern
Imports to convert the odometer from kilometers to miles. ECF
No. 41 at 2. Northern Imports does not perform conversions
itself, but works with outside vendors. ECF No. 50 at 47.
Northern Imports removed the odometer cluster from the Tundra
and sent it to Kelowna Instruments for conversion.
Id. at 48. Kelowna Instruments declined to do the
work, telling Northern Imports that the odometer “had
been opened and they weren't going to touch it.”
Id. Northern Imports relayed this information to Mr.
Bartlett, and Mr. Bartlett told Northern Imports to find a
different vendor to complete the work. Id. at 49.
Imports next sent the odometer to Tacoma Speedometer.
Id. at 50. Tacoma Speedometer declined to convert
the odometer due to signs of tampering. Id. Tacoma
Speedometer sent the cluster back to Northern Imports in a
box. Northern Imports again relayed this information to
Bartlett, who again instructed Northern Imports to send the
odometer to another vendor. Id. at 51.
opening the box from Tacoma Speedometer, Northern Imports
next shipped the cluster to C&R Motors. ECF No. 50 at 51.
When Richard MacKay, the owner of C&R Motors opened the
box, he discovered it contained a note stating,
“Cluster has been tampered with. Not doing.” ECF
No. 52 at 7. McKay called Northern Imports regarding the note
in the box and expressed his concerns in working on the
odometer. Id. at 2. MacKay spoke to James Sandmire,
the individual performing the odometer conversion. ECF No. 51
at 2. Sandmire agreed to convert the odometer but would not
repair the odometer or warranty the work. Id. McKay
relayed this information to Northern Imports. ECF No. 52 at
3. When MacKay returned the odometer, he included the note
and marked the invoice as “special.” Id.
taking possession of the Tundra, Northern Imports employees
and Mr. Bartlett drove the Tundra an unspecified number of
miles. ECF No. 59 at 8 (“[T]he vehicle had 26, 27 miles
on it tracked, which would be my employee driving it and then
when it was released to Mr. Bartlett, him driving it back to
1, 2015, Bartlett sold the Tundra to Rogers Motors. ECF No.
50 at 82. Bartlett sold the Tundra through Manheim Auto
Auctions, a company that hosts automobile auctions in Western
Washington. Id. Pursuant to a contractual agreement,
Manheim Auctions has Doug Bartlett's Power of Attorney on
file, and Manheim fills out all paperwork when cars are
bought at auction, including odometer disclosure statements.
ECF No. 41-2 at 2. At the time of the purchase, the odometer
shows the vehicle's mileage as 85, 720 miles. ECF No.
41-1 at 3.
that month, Rogers Motors sold the vehicle to a consumer. ECF
No. 50 at 82. Several months later, the consumer contacted
Rogers Motors to report that the odometer still read 85, 720
miles, the same mileage listed on the date Rogers Motors
bought the vehicle from Bartlett at auction. Bartlett
repurchased the Tundra. ECF No. 59 at 2. It was later
determined that the odometer was missing a few bytes of code
causing it not to accumulate miles accurately. ECF No. 50 at
judgment is appropriate if the “movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Once a party has moved for summary
judgment, the opposing party must point to specific facts
establishing that there is a genuine dispute for trial.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986).
If the nonmoving party fails to make such a showing for any
of the elements essential to its case for which it bears the
burden of proof, the trial court should grant the summary
judgment motion. Id. at 322. “When the moving
party has carried its burden under Rule [56(a)], its opponent
must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical
doubt as to the material facts. . . . [T]he nonmoving party
must come forward with ‘specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial.'”
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986) (internal citation omitted).
considering a motion for summary judgment, the Court does not
weigh the evidence or assess credibility; instead, “the
evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all
justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor.”
Sgt. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
255 (1986). “In short, what is required to defeat
summary judgment is simply evidence ‘such that a
reasonable juror drawing all inferences in favor of the
respondent could return a verdict in the respondent's