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Wiegand v. Walser Automotive Groups

October 28, 2003

JEFF WIEGAND, ON BEHALF OF HIMSELF AND ALL PERSONS SIMILARLY SITUATED, APPELLANT,
v.
WALSER AUTOMOTIVE GROUPS, INC., AND ALL RELATED DEALERSHIPS INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: WALSER PLYMOUTH C., L.L.C., D/B/A WALSER CHEVROLET; ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



Anderson, Judge Hennepin County District Court File No. CT-02-16142

Considered and decided by Harten, Presiding Judge; Anderson, Judge; and Wright, Judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

In an action pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 325F.69, subd. 1 (2002), a provision of the Minnesota Consumer Fraud Act, and Minn. Stat. § 8.31, subd. 3a (2002), the Private Attorney General statute, reliance on an oral misrepresentation that is directly contradicted by provisions of a written contract is insufficient to state a claim.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: G. Barry Anderson, Judge

Affirmed

Dissenting, Wright, Judge

OPINION

Appellant Jeff Wiegand sued respondent Walser Automotive Group (Walser), asserting that Walser's misrepresentations violated Minn. Stat. § 325F.69, subd. 1 (2002), and that he was entitled to damages for this violation pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 8.31, subd. 3a (2002). In this appeal from the district court's dismissal of Wiegand's claim for failure to state a claim under Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(e), Wiegand argues that the district court erred when it dismissed his claim by ruling that Wiegand could not show reliance on respondents' alleged misrepresentations. We affirm.

FACTS

On or about September 26, 1998, Wiegand visited a Walser dealership to purchase an automobile. In his complaint, Wiegand alleged that a Walser representative told Wiegand that he was required to purchase a $1,500 service contract in order to obtain financing. The parties do not dispute that the service contract stated that financing could not be made contingent on the purchase of a service contract. The document includes the following language above the signature line on the service contract, "I understand that the purchase of this service contract is not required in order to obtain financing or to purchase this vehicle." Wiegand also alleged that a Walser representative told him that he had to purchase a $340.37 credit insurance policy in order to obtain financing. The sales contract states, "Credit insurance is not required." Wiegand further alleged that a Walser representative told him that after he made 12 monthly payments to the bank, he could refinance at a lower annual percentage rate (APR). After making the 12 monthly payments, Wiegand contacted a bank employee who told him that the bank would not refinance. The parties do not dispute that the payment schedule set out in the sales contract signed by Wiegand does not provide for a lower APR after 12 monthly payments.

Wiegand brought a claim against Walser as part of class action litigation, alleging violations of Minn. Stat. § 325F.69, subd. 1 (2002), a provision of the Minnesota Consumer Fraud Act (CFA), and Minn. Stat. § 168.71(a), (b) (2002), a provision of the Minnesota Motor Vehicle Retail Installment Sales Act. Walser moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim under Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(e), and the district court granted Walser's motion. This appeal, which only raises issues related to section 325F.69, subd. 1, followed.

ISSUE

Did the district court err when it dismissed Wiegand's claim because reliance on the alleged misrepresentation in an action under the ...


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