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Lola Castro v. Ernie's Auto

December 24, 2012

LOLA CASTRO, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLANT,
v.
ERNIE'S AUTO, DEFENDANT AND APPELLEE.



APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Thirteenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Yellowstone, Cause No. DV-11-1689 Honorable G. Todd Baugh, Presiding Judge

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Patricia Cotter

Submitted on Briefs: November 29, 2012

Decided: December 24, 2012

Filed:

Clerk

Justice Patricia O. Cotter delivered the Opinion of the Court.

¶1 Pursuant to Section I, Paragraph 3(c), Montana Supreme Court 1996 Internal Operating Rules, as amended in 2006, the following decision shall not be cited as precedent. It shall be filed as a public document with the Clerk of the Supreme Court and its case title, Supreme Court cause number and disposition shall be included in this Court's quarterly list of noncitable cases published in the Pacific Reporter and Montana Reports.

¶2 In March 2011, Lola Castro purchased a used car for $1,500 from Ernie's Auto in Billings, Montana. She did not test drive the car before purchasing it. She signed multiple purchase documents indicating the car was being "Sold As Is," without any expressed or implied warranty. After Castro departed from Ernie's lot, the vehicle broke down approximately 2.5 miles away. Castro ultimately returned the vehicle and demanded her money back. Ernie's refused. Castro sued and the Justice Court of Yellowstone County entered a directed verdict in favor of Ernie's. The Thirteenth Judicial District Court affirmed this ruling on appeal. Castro appeals. We affirm.

ISSUES

¶3 A restatement of the issues is:

¶4 Did the Justice Court err by granting Ernie's Auto's motion for a directed verdict?

¶5 Did the Justice Court err by not addressing Castro's claim that Ernie's Auto had an obligation to reimburse the purchase price?

¶6 Did the District Court err in affirming the decision of the Justice Court?

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

¶7 On or around March 4, 2011, Lola Castro, a Lodge Grass resident, called Ernie's Auto in Billings to inquire about a used 1995 Cadillac DeVille advertised for sale in a local newspaper. The price was listed at $1,995 but Ernie's agreed to sell it to Castro for $1,500. On Friday, March 4, Castro and her husband drove to Billings to purchase the car. Upon arrival at Ernie's lot at around 5:30 p.m., Castro signed multiple purchase documents each of which indicated in bold print that the car was being sold "AS IS" without any expressed or implied guarantees or warranties. Neither Castro nor her husband test drove the car before purchase.

ΒΆ8 At around 6:00 p.m., Castro and her husband left Ernie's. Castro's husband drove the Cadillac and Castro drove the family's other car. Approximately 2.5 miles from Ernie's, the Cadillac began steaming and losing fluids from the radiator. They pulled into a Town Pump service station and left the vehicle there without seeking service. Castro testified that her husband called Ernie's at that time and multiple times over the following few days but there is no record of those discussions. Castro left the Cadillac parked at the Town Pump until the following Wednesday. On that day, she and her husband returned to the Town Pump, purchased and installed a battery in the Cadillac, and drove it ...


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