United States District Court, D. Colorado
LEWIS T. BABCOCK, District Judge.
This case is before me on Plaintiff's Motion for Determination of a Question of Law Regarding Public Impact [Doc #24] and Motion to Certify a Question of Law to the Colorado Supreme Court [Doc # 39]. After consideration of the motions, all related pleadings, and the case file, I deny both motions.
In this case involving Plaintiff's attempted purchase of a car from Defendant Maximum Auto Search Corporation ("Maximum Auto"), Plaintiff asserts five claims for relief including a claim for violation of the Colorado Consumer Protection Action, C.R.S. § 6-1-101, et seq. (the "CCPA"). By the motion for determination of a question of law, Plaintiff seeks a determination that the public impact element of a CCPA claim is either not applicable to her particular CCPA claim or has been satisfied by legislative declaration. Plaintiff also seeks to certify the question of whether a showing of public impact is required for CCPA claims like hers to the Colorado Supreme Court. The following facts are undisputed for purposes of Plaintiff's motion unless otherwise noted.
Early in 2014, Plaintiff signed a number of documents including a Retail Installment Sales Contract ("RISC") and took possession of a car offered for sale by Maximum Auto. Maximum Auto advised Plaintiff that the RISC would be assigned to Lobel Financing which is not a party to this case.
Plaintiff alleges that Maximum Auto assured her that it had all the necessary financial documentation and guaranteed her that she was approved for financing. Defendants allege that Plaintiff provided inconsistent and incomplete financial documentation and was only approved for conditional financing by Lobel.
Plaintiff paid a down payment of $4, 200 towards the purchase of the car. Defendants allege that after Lobel refused to finance the vehicle, Maximum Auto gave Plaintiff the opportunity to pay the remainder of the purchase price but she failed to do so. Ultimately, Maximum Auto recovered possession of the car. Plaintiff alleges that Maximum Auto kept her $4, 200 down payment for the car, and Defendants allege that Plaintiff is responsible for daily use and mileage rates, and other expenses associated with her use of the car.
II. Standard of Review
A. Plaintiff's Motion for Determination of a Question of Law
A party may seek summary judgment on part of a claim. See Fed. R. Civ P. 56(a) ("A party may move for summary judgment, identifying each claim or defense - or the part of each claim or defense - on which summary judgment is sought.). "Statutory interpretation is a matter of law appropriate for resolution on summary judgment." Thomas v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 631 F.3d 1153, 1160 (10th Cir. 2011). Summary judgment shall be granted if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions, or affidavits show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The non-moving party has the burden of showing that there are issues of material fact to be determined. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
B. Plaintiff's Motion to Certify a Question of Law
Rule 21.1 of Colorado's Rules of Appellate Procedure permits the Colorado Supreme Court to answer a question of law certified to it by a United States District Court if the question "may be determinative of the cause then pending in the certifying court and as to which it appears to the certifying court there is no controlling precedent in the decisions of the [Colorado] Supreme Court." Colo.App. R. 21.1(a).
"Whether to certify a question of state law to the state supreme court is within the discretion of the federal court." Armijo v. Ex Cam Inc., 843 F.2d 406, 407 (10th Cir. 1988). However, "[c]ertification is not to be routinely invoked whenever a federal court is presented with an unsettled question of state law." Id. "Absent some recognized public policy or defined principle guiding the exercise of jurisdiction conferred, federal courts bear a duty to decide questions of state law when necessary to ...