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Salvate v. Automotive Restyling Concepts, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

December 5, 2014

Brittany Salvate, Plaintiff,
v.
Automotive Restyling Concepts, Inc. d/b/a Automotive Concepts of Minnesota a/k/a AC Funding, and Becky Spinler, Defendants.

Todd M. Murray, Esq., Friedman Iverson, PLCC, Minneapolis, MN, on behalf of Plaintiff.

William H. Henney, Esq., Henney Law, Minnetonka, MN, on behalf of Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

ANN D. MONTGOMERY, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

On November 14, 2014, the undersigned United States District Judge heard oral argument on Defendants Automotive Restyling Concepts, Inc. d/b/a Automotive Concepts of Minnesota a/k/a AC Funding and Becky Spinler's (the "Defendants") Motion for Summary Judgment [Docket No. 14]. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion is granted.

II. BACKGROUND

In October of 2012, Brittany Salvate ("Salvate" or the "Plaintiff") decided to purchase a used Ford truck from Kelcor Auto in Lewiston, Minnesota. Spinler Aff. [Docket No. 17] ¶ 5. Her low credit score prevented Salvate from obtaining financing from Kelcor Auto. Automotive Restyling Concepts, Inc. ("ARC") is a financial services company that does find financing for customers with low credit scores. Id . ¶ 6. On October 23, 2012, Salvate worked with Becky Spinler ("Spinler"), an independent contractor salesperson with ARC, to purchase the truck and finance the purchase through United Auto Credit Corp. Id . ¶¶ 2, 4.

Salvate purchased the truck for $9, 992. Id . Ex. 2. In addition, Salvate purchased GAP protection for $595 and a Service Contract from Associates Underwriting Limited for $1, 513 (the "Service Contract").[1] Id . Salvate paid $2, 000 down and financed the balance over 42 months. Id . The Retail Installment Contract and Security Agreement (the "Retail Contract") includes the required Truth in Lending Disclosures and states the amount financed was $10, 938.98 and the finance charge was $5, 148.28. Id.

Salvate claims she did not want to buy the Service Contract. Murray Aff. [Docket No. 21] Ex. C 21:8-15. Salvate alleges that Spinler told her that purchasing the Service Contract was required in order to obtain financing for the truck. Id . 22:24-23:7. Spinler denies making any statement to that effect. Spinler Aff. ¶ 13. Regardless of what was said by Spinler, the documents Salvate signed identify the Service Contract as a discretionary purchase that is not required to receive financing. Id . Exs. 3, 4, 5. Salvate claims Spinler rushed her through the process and, as a result, she did not have the opportunity to read any of the documents before signing them. Murray Aff. Ex. C 94:42-95:11.

Salvate asserts Defendants violated the Truth in Lending Act ("TILA") and committed fraud. Specifically, Salvate alleges the Service Contract charge should have been included in the finance charge, rather than in the amount financed disclosure, because it was payable incident to the extension of credit.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Summary Judgment Standard

Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that summary judgment shall be rendered if there exists no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

The United States Supreme Court, in construing Federal Rule 56(c), stated in Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, ...


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