Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Court of Appeal:
What Matters, Opinion Says, Is That the User Was to Be a Consumer
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Court of Appeal for this district held yesterday that an action was properly maintained under the Consumer Legal Protection Act by a man and the company he owns based on misrepresentations concerning a truck purchased by the company.
Justice Elizabeth Grimes of Div. Eight wrote the opinion affirming a judgment in favor of Mike Kalta and his business, Greenfield Landscaping, Inc., against Fleets 101, Inc. A jury set damages at $10,435.88, and awarded punitive damages of $10,000.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth A. White had instructed the jury that it had been “conclusively established” that the vehicle “was purchased for personal use” by Kalta. The company, rather than Kalta, made the purchase in light of Kalta’s bad credit.
Fleets 101 argued on appeal that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue under the CLPA because they are not consumers. White wrote:
“Defendant cites no case, and we have found none, that holds the consumer must pay for the goods out of his own pocket rather than through a commercial entity to have standing under the CLPA. Defendant has not developed any cogent argument supported by authority to persuade us that the facts Mr. Kalta’s landscaping company paid for and took title in the truck establish as a matter of law that only the company has an interest in the truck to the exclusion of Mr. Kalta. Defendant’s admission that the truck was acquired for Mr. Kalta’s personal use, along with Mr. Kalta’s testimony at trial, is substantial evidence Mr. Kalta was a consumer with standing to assert a violation of the CLPA.”
The case is Kalta v. Fleets 101, Inc., B292185.
Attorneys on appeal were Steven A. Simons for Kalta and Jared Gross for Fleets 101.
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