United States District Court, D. Idaho
WENDI L. MEER Plaintiff
DENNIS DILLON AUTO PARK & TRUCK CENTER, INC., et al., Defendants
B. LYNN WINMILL, Chief District Judge.
The Court has before it defendants' motion for summary judgment and plaintiff's petition seeking to disqualify the Court from hearing this case and transferring jurisdiction to the Ninth Circuit. The motions are fully briefed and at issue. For the reasons explained below, the Court will grant the motion for summary judgment and deny the petition for disqualification and transfer.
On September 1, 2009 Plaintiff Wendi Meer entered into a Closed End Motor Vehicle Lease Agreement and Disclosure with defendant Dennis Dillon Auto Park & Truck Center. Defendant Treasure Valley Leasing (TVL) financed and serviced the lease.
The lease required Meer to make monthly payments of $240.49 per month and keep the vehicle insured at all times. See Exhibit A (Dkt. No. 45-3). To make those payments, she authorized TVL to take automatic withdrawals from her checking account on the tenth of each month in the amount of $240.49. See Exhibit A (Dkt. No. 49-1).
On November 8, 2010, TVL received notice from Meer's insurer - State Farm - that her auto insurance on the leased vehicle would be terminated on November 17, 2010, for Meer's non-payment of the insurance premium. On November 15, 2010, two days before State Farm's termination date, TVL notified Meer that her car would be repossessed if she did not obtain insurance. Meer obtained insurance the next day, November 16, 2010. See Exhibit D (Dkt. No. 49-1). TVL claims that Meer never told them that she had obtained insurance, and Meer does not dispute that claim. On November 17, 2010, TVL repossessed the car but returned it later that same day when Meer provided proof of insurance.
In March of 2011, Meer contacted TVL to arrange for a late payment for April of 2011. TVL agreed and accepted Meer's payment over the phone by debit card on April 13, 2011. TVL claims that Meer requested that they stop the automatic withdrawals from her checking account; Meer denies she made any such request. The Court will assume Meer's version is correct. At any rate, TVL did stop the automatic withdrawals.
On May 11, 2011, when no automatic payment had been withdrawn from her account the previous day, Meer called TVL and asked that the automatic payments be reinstituted. The next day, May 12, 2011, she made her May payment over the phone with a debit card.
TVL did not reinstate the automatic payments and so no payment was withdrawn from Meer's account on June 10, 2011. On June 22, 2011, TVL contacted Meer to notify her that her account was past due and needed to be brought current. It is undisputed that Meer never made her monthly payment for June 2011. Instead, on June 24, 2011, Meer faxed a letter to TVL's Registered Agent stating that because TVL had breached the contract by failing to automatically withdraw her monthly payments, "this contested debt will not ever be paid by myself, heirs or assigns." See Exhibit I (Dkt. No. 50-1).
TVL repossessed the vehicle on July 13, 2011. Meer filed this lawsuit on January 20, 2012. She claims that (1) the defendants breached their agreement by failing to automatically withdraw payments from her bank account; (2) made unauthorized withdrawals from her bank account; (3) wrongfully repossessed her vehicle; and (4) improperly damaged her credit rating and reputation. These acts, she alleges, violate the Uniform Commercial Code and various Idaho statutes. The defendants have moved for summary judgment on all claims. Meer has filed a motion to disqualify the Court for bias, and seeks to transfer jurisdiction of this litigation to the Ninth Circuit. The Court will take up that motion/petition first.
Motion to Disqualify & Petition to Transfer
Meer alleges that this Court is biased against her and seeks "removal to the Circuit Court" on a number of grounds. She filed her motion under 28 ...