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Limoliner, Inc. v. Dattco, Inc. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-141-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-12033   LIMOLINER, INC.  vs.  DATTCO, INC.       Suffolk.     May 2, 2016. – September 7, 2016.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.[1]     Consumer Protection Act, Businessman’s claim, Unfair or deceptive act.  Regulation.  Attorney General.       Certification of a question of law to the Supreme Judicial Court by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.     Robert E. Curtis, Jr., for the plaintiff. Christopher S. Williams for the defendant.     LENK, J.  The plaintiff, Limoliner, Inc. (Limoliner), owns and operates a fleet of luxury motor coaches.  In 2011, it hired the defendant, Dattco, Inc. (Dattco), to perform repair work on one those of vehicles, verbally requesting certain specific repairs.  The defendant recorded most of those requests in writing, but failed to write down the plaintiff’s request to repair one of the vehicle’s key electrical components.  The defendant then failed to make any repairs to that component.  Thereafter, the plaintiff commenced an action in the Superior Court, alleging, among other things, that, by not recording the plaintiff’s verbal request in writing, the defendant had violated G. L. c. 93A, § 2 (a), as interpreted by 940 Code Mass. Regs. § 5.05(2) (1993) (“unfair or deceptive act” for automobile repair shop not to record in writing specific repairs requested by customer).  The case was removed to the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts on the basis of diversity jurisdiction.  Following a jury-waived trial, a magistrate judge rejected the plaintiff’s claim under 940 Code Mass. Regs. § 5.05(2), concluding that the regulation applied only to consumer transactions, and not to transactions where the customer is another business.  The plaintiff appealed, and the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit certified to us the following question: “Does 940 [Code Mass. Regs.] § 5.05 apply to transactions in which the customer is a business entity?”   We conclude that this regulation does apply to transactions in which the customer is a business entity and, accordingly, answer “yes” to the certified question. Background. “We set forth below the relevant background and procedural history of the case contained in the [decision of] the First Circuit [certifying a question to this court], occasionally supplemented by undisputed information in the record.”  Insurance Co. of the State of Pa. v. Great N. Ins. Co., 473 Mass. 745, 746 […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - September 7, 2016 at 5:30 pm

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