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Reid v. Harvey Motorcycle and Camper

November 30, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Joan B. Gottschall

Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez


For the reasons set forth below, defendant Harvey Motorcycle and Camper d/b/a Watson Motorsport, Ltd.'s ("Watson") motion to dismiss counts II, III, and IV of plaintiffs William Reid's ("Reid") and Renee Picl's ("Picl") first amended complaint granted with respect to counts II and III and denied with respect to count IV.


Picl and her fiancé, Reid, wanted to buy a used car to ease the burden of their daily commute. Picl, who was three months pregnant at the time, owned a Dodge Neon (the "Neon"), which was the couple's sole source of transportation, and Reid and Picl desired a second car so that Picl would not have to drive Reid to and from his place of employment each day. They decided to shop for a previously-owned vehicle at Watson, a used car dealership, in the hope of finding a reasonably priced automobile that would accommodate their needs. Arriving at Watson on September 18, 2004, Reid and Picl encountered salesman Erik Garcia ("Garcia"), and told him that, due to Picl's delicate condition, they were seeking a car that was "child-friendly." Garcia introduced Reid and Picl in turn to a finance manager named Gaylan Montjoy ("Montjoy"). Seeing that Reid and Picl hoped to obtain financing for the vehicle that they wished to purchase, Montjoy allegedly offered to run both Reid's and Picl's credit histories to learn who might be more eligible for dealer-based financing via Watson. After allegedly checking both Reid's and Picl's credit scores, Montjoy allegedly rejected Reid, claiming that ownership of the vehicle should be in Picl's name due to her higher credit rating.

After touring the lot, Reid and Picl chose a 2004 Mercury Sable (the "Sable") as appropriate to their needs, and then the parties allegedly negotiated a price for the vehicle. However, after negotiating the price, Garcia and Montjoy allegedly informed Reid and Picl that the bank that would not finance their purchase because of Picl's existing credit obligation on her Dodge Neon. Montjoy allegedly then told the couple that the only way to obtain financing was for Reid and Picl to purchase two vehicles from Watson, trading in the Dodge Neon. Reid and Picl consequently returned to the lot and selected a 2003 Chrysler Sebring (the "Sebring"). After discussing with Reid the price and the financing terms of the proposed deal, Picl signed the necessary papers and the couple drove home in the Sable and the Sebring, leaving the Neon behind at Watson.

Approximately three and a half weeks later, Garcia contacted Reid and allegedly informed them that Picl could obtain a better financing rate on the two cars. Reid proceeded to Watson, where he encountered Garcia and Montjoy, who allegedly repeated the proposal that Picl could obtain a more advantageous rate of financing for the two purchased vehicles. However, after allegedly waiting for some interval of time, Reid was introduced to a man he believed to be the finance manager, one Gabe Knapp ("Knapp").

Knapp allegedly informed Reid that the representations made by Garcia and Montjoy were not true and, in fact, the dealership had not been able to obtain financing for either the Sable or the Sebring. Moreover, Knapp allegedly informed Reid that if he and Picl desired to keep the cars, the interest rate on the financing of the vehicles would be doubled. Reid allegedly responded by offering to call off the whole deal, taking back the Neon and returning the Sable and the Sebring, but was allegedly informed by Knapp that the Neon was no longer in Watson's possession. Reid was allegedly then importuned by yet another Watson representative, Yeddy Israel ("Israel"), who claimed that Picl would have to return to the dealership to sign a new financing contract on the Sable and the Sebring.

The following day, Reid and Picl returned to Watson, allegedly hoping to return the Sebring and Sable, reclaim the Neon, and generally call off the whole deal. Instead, Picl ended up signing the new contracts, and were allegedly informed by Israel that the cars had been successfully financed.

Less than a week later, Reid was again contacted by Garcia, who allegedly claimed, yet again, that there was a "problem with the paperwork" on the purchase of the Sebring. Reid and Picl once again proceeded to Watson, and thereafter Picl allegedly once more signed a contract on the Sebring and was told that the car had been successfully financed on Picl's credit.

This pattern repeated itself on October 29, 2004, when Garcia again called Reid, allegedly claiming that there was yet another "minor problem" with the paperwork on the deal. Reid and Picl traveled once more to Watson, where Montjoy and Israel once again allegedly informed them that the financing of the deal had fallen through because of paperwork errors. Reid allegedly offered once more to return the Sebring and Sable in exchange for the Neon but was informed again that Watson no longer had possession of the Neon and therefore could not return it. Reid and Picl were then allegedly "cornered" in a small room and subjected to threats and pressure by Montjoy, who allegedly told them that the police would take Watson's side in a dispute due to connections between Watson and the Midlothian Police Department. Israel and Montjoy then assured Reid and Picl that Watson could arrange financing for them on either a 2-door Chevy Blazer pickup truck (the "Blazer"), or a 2-door Saturn with a manual transmission. Neither of these was acceptable to Reid and Picl, who allegedly desired a more "family friendly" car with an automatic transmission.

After allegedly listening for over an hour to Montjoy's and Israel's blandishments, Picl agreed to test drive the Blazer. In the meantime, Reid was allegedly subjected to continuing pressure from Montjoy to agree to Watson's proposed latest version of the deal. Reid subsequently took the Blazer for a test drive and, upon completion of Reid's test drive, Reid and Picl were informed that these were the only two vehicles on Watson's lot for which financing could be arranged. However, upon being informed of the price of the Blazer, Reid and Picl refused to proceed, allegedly because they could not afford that truck.

Events went downhill from there; Reid allegedly suggested alternate prices that were summarily rejected by Garcia and Montjoy. After some time, when the latest of these was communicated to Israel by Garcia and Montjoy, Israel allegedly responded with loud and public abuse and ordered Montjoy to call the police. When Reid and Picl then attempted to leave the dealership in the Sable (which was not part of the dispute) an employee of Watson allegedly barred their leaving by driving a vehicle in back of their parking stall, preventing them from exiting. The Midlothian police then arrived upon the scene. After a routine identity check, Reid was taken into custody on the grounds of an outstanding warrant for an alleged traffic violation. While in custody, Reid was allegedly informed by a police officer, who claimed to have spoken to Israel, that the Sebring would need to be returned to Watson within 24 hours or Picl would face arrest.

Consequently, Reid and Picl returned the Sebring that evening to Watson and, allegedly believing that she had no other choice given their need for two vehicles, Picl signed the contract for the Blazer. Reid alleges that because they cold not afford the higher payments on the Sable and Blazer, Reid and ...

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