United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL 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
(“Amtrak”) motion for partial summary judgment on
plaintiff's consumer protection act claim. Dkt. 78. 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 HISTORY
November 23, 2017, Plaintiff Dale Skyllingstad
(“Skyllingstad”) purchased a ticket for Amtrak
501 for $12.00. Dkt. 88, ¶ 2. On December 17, 2017,
Skyllingstad drove a car to Olympia, Washington to use after
the train ride. Id. ¶ 3. On December 18, 2017,
Skyllingstad drove a car to Tacoma, Washington to board a
commuter train that took him to the Amtrak 501 train.
Id. ¶ 4. While on the trip to Olympia, Amtrak
501 derailed allegedly causing Skyllingstad injuries. After
the derailment, Skyllingstad's parents drove roundtrip to
Olympia to retrieve his car and incurred expenses that
Skyllingstad covered. Id. ¶ 5. On January 9,
2018, Amtrak refunded Skyllingstad's ticket. Id.
3, 2018, Skyllingstad filed a complaint against Amtrak
asserting a cause of action for negligence and a violation of
Washington's Consumer Protection Act (“CPA”),
RCW Chapter 19.86. Dkt. 1. In relevant part, Skyllingstad
seeks “all fees and expenses, including attorney fees,
treble damages, prejudgment interest and all other damages
recoverable under [the CPA]” and “injunctive
relief to protect the public.” Id.,
¶¶ 6.2, 6.3.
27, 2019, Amtrak filed the instant motion for summary
judgment on Skyllingstad's CPA claim. Dkt. 78. On July
29, 2019, Skyllingstad responded. Dkt. 84. On August 2, 2019,
Amtrak replied. Dkt. 89. On August 8, 2019, Skyllingstad
filed a surreply. Dkt. 91.
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 Skyllingstad's CPA claim on
two grounds. First, Amtrak argues that Skyllingstad may not
recover damages for personal injury under the CPA. Dkt. 78 at
6-7. This is a well-settled issue of law that Skyllingstad
does not dispute. Therefore, to the extent that Skyllingstad
seeks damages for personal injuries under the CPA, the Court
grants the motion.
Amtrak argues that Skyllingstad “has not produced
evidence of the types of damages to ‘business or
property' that are recoverable under the [CPA].”
Id. at 3. In response, Skyllingstad submitted
evidence of (1) the loss of use of his money between when he
purchased his ticket and when Amtrak refunded the purchase
price and (2) expenses incurred in commuting to and from the
relevant train stations. Dkt. 88. In reply, Amtrak moves to
strike Skyllingstad's declaration because he failed to
timely disclose this evidence. Dkt. 89 at 3-5. 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 Skyllingstad of the due
process protections of notice and an opportunity to be
heard.Accordingly, the Court denies Amtrak's
motion to the extent it argues that Skyllingstad has failed
to submit admissible evidence of his injury.
alternative, Amtrak has refunded Skyllingstad's ticket
cost and offers to pay his other alleged actual damages under
the CPA. Dkt. 89 at 6. Amtrak argues that, once it pays
Skyllingstad's actual damages, “there is simply no
injury, and no grounds to permit plaintiff's CPA claim to
move forward.” Dkt. 78 at 9. Amtrak provides no
citation for this position, and the Court finds it to be
without merit. If Skyllingstad can 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
Skyllingstad from seeking these other damages. Moreover,
Skyllingstad seeks “injunctive relief to protect the
public.” Dkt. 1, ¶ 6.3. 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 measures