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MARTIN v. GOLD KEY LEASE

August 7, 1997

GINO MARTIN, individually and as representative on behalf of a class of similarly situated persons, and DAN MORAN and ROCK-TRED CORPORATION, an Illinois corporation, individually and on behalf of a class of similarly situated persons, Plaintiffs,
v.
GOLD KEY LEASE, INC., a corporation, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BOBRICK

 Before the court is the motion of defendant Gold Key Lease, Inc. for summary judgment on the complaint of plaintiffs Gino Martin, Dan Moran, and Rock-Tred Corporation.

 I. BACKGROUND

 The plaintiffs in this case leased vehicles from dealerships in Orland Hills, and Skokie, Illinois. The defendant subsequently purchased the leases from those dealerships. Plaintiffs now bring a four-count complaint claiming that the lessor under these agreements is required to pay interest or other profits on a lessee's security deposit under the automobile leases. The complaint seeks recovery of interest and profits under Illinois' Uniform Commercial Code ("UCC"), 810 ILCS 5/9-207, and the Illinois Consumer Deposit Security Act ("CDSA"), 815 ILCS 165/1 et seq., and alleges violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Trade Practices Act ("DTPA"), 815 ILCS 505/1 et seq., and the federal Consumer Leasing Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1667(a). Defendant moves for summary judgment on these claims, arguing that the UCC section 9-207 does not apply to lease security deposits, and that plaintiffs do not have claims under CDSA, DTPA, or the Consumer Leasing Act.

 A. Facts

 There are no disputed facts in this case, and the parties have filed an agreed statement of facts pursuant to Local Rule 12(m). Accordingly, we draw our factual recitation from that submission. Plaintiffs leased their vehicles from auto dealers, not from the defendant. Plaintiff Martin cannot recall whether he paid a security deposit when he leased his vehicle, and does not have a canceled check evincing such a payment. The dealer paperwork, however, suggests that he did. In any event, if plaintiffs paid any security deposit, they paid it to the dealers. Plaintiff Martin's lease was for 24 months with a total obligation over that time of $ 17,067.60; his security deposit was $ 725. (Stipulated Rule 12(m) Statement, Ex. H). Plaintiff Rock-Tred had a 36-month lease with a total obligation of $ 18,183.24; its security deposit was $ 525. (Id., P 41; Ex. I).

 B. Parties' Position

 Plaintiffs' complaint is, essentially, that the defendant was required to invest the security deposits in an interest bearing account and then remit the interest earned to plaintiffs at the end of the lease. Plaintiffs trace this requirement to Illinois' UCC and the CSDA. Defendants argue that neither of these provisions applies to obligate them to earn and remit interest on security deposits.

 II. ANALYSIS

 Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c), summary judgment is appropriate when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and the admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court does not evaluate the weight of the evidence to determine the truth of a matter, but instead determines whether there is a genuine issue of triable fact as to the matter. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202 (1986). A summary judgment proceeding is not a vehicle for the resolution of factual disputes. Id. at 249-50, 106 S. Ct. at 2511. Neither may the court assume the role of advocate for one side or the other, scouring the record for evidence to support their positions. Johnson v. Gudmundsson, 35 F.3d 1104, 1116 n.9 (7th Cir. 1994); Tatalovich v. City of Superior, 904 F.2d 1135, 1139 (7th Cir. 1990) (citing Herman v. City of Chicago, 870 F.2d 400, 404 (7th Cir. 1989)).

 The party moving for summary judgment has the burden of demonstrating that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 2554, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265 (1986). If there is a doubt as to the existence of a material fact, that doubt must be resolved in favor of the nonmoving party and summary judgment should be denied. Doe v. R. R. Donnelley & Sons Co., 42 F.3d 439, 443 (7th Cir. 1994). Conversely, summary judgment must be entered against a party who fails to show that the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which it will bear the burden of proof at trial. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322, 106 S. Ct. at 2552. The nonmoving party must do more than demonstrate some "metaphysical doubt" as to the existence of a material fact, and a mere scintilla of evidence in support of the nonmoving party's position will be insufficient. Libertarian Party of Illinois v. Rednour, 108 F.3d 768, 772 (7th Cir. 1997) (citing Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S. Ct. 1348, 1356, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538 (1986); and Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 2513-14, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202 (1986)). With these concepts in mind, we address the parties' positions in this case.

 A. UCC Section 9-207

 Plaintiffs bring Count I of their complaint under Section 9-207(2)(c) of Illinois' UCC. The threshold issue the parties present is whether Illinois' UCC applies to security deposits on automobile leases. Section 9-102(1) of the UCC state that it "applies to any transaction (regardless of its form) which is intended to create a security interest in personal property or fixtures." 810 ILCS 5/9-102(1)(a). The UCC defines a security interest as "an interest in personal property or fixtures which secures payment or performance of an obligation." 810 ILCS 5/1-201(37). Plaintiffs argue that their automobile leases are "transactions" in which they deposited money to secure payment of the amounts due under their leases. (Plaintiffs' Memorandum in Opposition, at 4-5). They base their claims on the theory that their security deposits are ...


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