United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant National Railroad
Passenger Corporation d/b/a Amtrak's (âAmtrakâ) motion
for partial summary judgment on plaintiff's consumer
protection act claim. Dkt. 94. The Court has considered the
pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motion
and the remainder of the file and hereby grants in part and
denies in part the motion for the reasons stated herein.
PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
Aaron Harris (“Harris”) purchased a ticket to
ride the Amtrak 501 train that left Seattle on December 18,
2017. Dkt. 118, ¶ 1. On the day of the trip, Harris paid
$10.40 for a Lyft ride to the train station. Id.
¶ 3. On the way to Portland, the train derailed and
allegedly injured Harris. Sometime after January 4, 2018,
Amtrak refunded the cost of Harris's ticket. Id.
January 12, 2018, Harris filed a complaint against Amtrak in
King County Superior Court for the State of Washington. Dkt.
1-1. Harris asserts a claim of negligence for personal
injuries and a claim under Washington's Consumer
Protection Act (“CPA”), RCW Chapter 19.86.
Id. On January 29, 2018, Amtrak removed the matter
to this Court. Dkt. 1.
27, 2019, Amtrak filed the instant motion for summary
judgment on Harris's CPA claim. Dkt. 94. On July 29,
2019, Harris responded. Dkt. 114. On August 2, 2019, Amtrak
replied. Dkt. 119.On August 8, 2019, Harris filed a surreply.
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is proper only if the pleadings, the discovery and
disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that
there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law when the nonmoving party fails to make a
sufficient showing on an essential element of a claim in the
case on which the nonmoving party has the burden of proof.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
There is no genuine issue of fact for trial where the record,
taken as a whole, could not lead a rational trier of fact to
find for the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co.
v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)
(nonmoving party must present specific, significant probative
evidence, not simply “some metaphysical doubt”).
See also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). Conversely, a
genuine dispute over a material fact exists if there is
sufficient evidence supporting the claimed factual dispute,
requiring a judge or jury to resolve the differing versions
of the truth. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 253 (1986); T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac.
Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir.
determination of the existence of a material fact is often a
close question. The Court must consider the substantive
evidentiary burden that the nonmoving party must meet at
trial-e.g., a preponderance of the evidence in most civil
cases. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 254; T.W. Elec.
Serv., Inc., 809 F.2d at 630. The Court must resolve any
factual issues of controversy in favor of the nonmoving party
only when the facts specifically attested by that party
contradict facts specifically attested by the moving party.
The nonmoving party may not merely state that it will
discredit the moving party's evidence at trial, in the
hopes that evidence can be developed at trial to support the
claim. T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc., 809 F.2d at 630
(relying on Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255). Conclusory,
nonspecific statements in affidavits are not sufficient, and
missing facts will not be presumed. Lujan v. Nat'l
Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 888-89 (1990).
moves for summary judgment on Harris's CPA claim on two
grounds. First, Amtrak argues that Harris may not recover
damages for personal injury under the CPA. Dkt. 94 at 7-8.
This is a well-settled issue of law that Harris does not
dispute. Therefore, to the extent that Harris seeks damages
for personal injuries under the CPA, the Court grants the
Amtrak argues that Harris “has not produced evidence of
the types of damages to ‘business or property' that
are recoverable under the [CPA].” Dkt. 94 at 4. In
response, Harris submitted evidence of his injuries declaring
that (1) he lost the use of his money between the date he
purchased the ticket and the date Amtrak refunded the
purchase price and (2) he paid for a ride to the train
station the morning of his trip. Dkt. 118. In reply, Amtrak
moves to strike Harris's declaration because he failed to
timely disclose this evidence. Dkt. 119 at 3. Thus, Amtrak
morphed this summary judgment motion into a discovery motion
or a motion in limine. The Court declines to consider
Amtrak's motion to strike because it is presented for the
first time in a reply depriving Harris of the due process
protections of notice and an opportunity to be
heard.Accordingly, the Court denies Amtrak's
motion to the extent that Harris has failed to submit
admissible evidence of his injury.
alternative, Amtrak has refunded Harris's ticket cost and
offers to pay his other alleged actual damages under the CPA.
Dkt. 119 at 6. Amtrak argues that, once it pays Harris's
actual damages, “there is simply no injury, and no
grounds to permit plaintiff's CPA claim to move
forward.” Dkt. 94 at 10. Amtrak provides no citation
for this position, and the Court finds it to be without
merit. If Harris is able to prove his CPA claim, he may
recover actual damages, treble damages (up to a maximum of
$25, 000), attorney's fees, and statutory costs.
See RCW 19.86.090. Amtrak cites no authority for the
proposition that paying the alleged actual damages precludes
Harris from seeking these other forms of damages. Moreover,
Harris seeks “injunctive relief to protect the
public.” Dkt. 1-1, ¶ 6.2. This request alone is
sufficient to overcome summary judgment. For example, if the
jury finds that Amtrak engaged in the unfair and deceptive
act of selling train tickets for a route that did not comply
with the federal regulations governing preventative ...