Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Castillo v. United Federal Credit Union

Supreme Court of Nevada

February 1, 2018

LUCIA CASTILLO, AN INDIVIDUAL, Appellant,
v.
UNITED FEDERAL CREDIT UNION, A FEDERAL CREDIT UNION, Respondent.

         Appeal from a district court order granting a motion-to dismiss in an action under the Uniform Commercial Code. Second Judicial District Court, Washoe County; Elliott A. Sattler, Judge.

          Robert W. Murphy, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Michael Lehners, Reno; Nathan R. Zeltzer, Reno, for Appellant.

          Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC and James A. Kohl and Robert Hernquist, Las Vegas, for Respondent.

          BEFORE DOUGLAS, C.J., GIBBONS and PICKERING, JJ.

          OPINION

          DOUGLAS, C.J.

         The issue in this appeal concerns whether the justice court or the district court had original jurisdiction over this matter, and thus, we are asked whether the district court erred in granting respondent's motion to dismiss based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction. In particular, we consider (1) whether aggregation of putative class member claims is permitted to determine jurisdiction, (2) whether a claim for statutory damages can be combined with a claim for the elimination of the deficiency amount asserted to determine jurisdiction, and (3) whether an assertion of injunctive relief establishes jurisdiction. First, we conclude that in Nevada, aggregation of putative class member claims is not permitted to determine jurisdiction. Second, we conclude that a claim for statutory damages can be combined with a claim for the elimination of the deficiency amount demanded by respondent to determine jurisdiction. Finally, we conclude that because appellant sought appropriate injunctive relief, the district court possessed original jurisdiction. We therefore reverse the district court's order granting respondent's motion to dismiss based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On March 11, 2014, appellant Lucia Castillo and a co-buyer entered into a vehicle and security agreement with respondent United Federal Credit Union.[1] After respondent repossessed and sold the vehicle, respondent notified appellant that she owed a deficiency balance in the amount of $6, 841.55.

         On March 3, 2015, appellant and the co-buyer, as individuals, filed a complaint against respondent, alleging that respondent's notice of sale violated the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). In the complaint, appellant further alleged that her case met the prerequisites for a class action under NRCP 23(a) and that the class was maintainable under NRCP 23(b). Although appellant sought an order for class action certification pursuant to the complaint, appellant never subsequently requested that the court certify the class due to the anticipation of discovery.

         Appellant amended her complaint by reducing the number of causes of action. In her amended complaint, appellant asserted that the district court had jurisdiction because "each [c]lass [m]ember is entitled to the elimination of the deficiency balance and the statutory damages [pursuant to NRS 104.9625(3)(b)], " and thus, "the amount in controversy exceeds $10, 000.00." Accordingly, appellant sought statutory damages under the UCC for each putative class member. Appellant also sought injunctive relief to eliminate appellant's deficiency balance and "to remove any adverse credit information which may have been wrongfully reported on the consumer reports of the class members."

         Respondent filed a motion to dismiss appellant's amended complaint, contending that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because appellant and the co-buyer failed to demonstrate that they were individually entitled to damages in excess of $10, 000. At the hearing for respondent's motion to dismiss, the parties additionally argued about whether appellant's request for injunctive relief divested the justice court of jurisdiction. Although the district court never reached a determination on this additional issue, the court ultimately granted respondent's motion by finding that (1) appellant could not aggregate the putative class member claims because the court did not order that the class action could be maintained, and (2) NRS 104.9625(4) precluded appellant from combining the deficiency amount she sought to eliminate with her statutory damages. This appeal followed.

         DISCUSSION

         Appellant argues that the district court erred in dismissing the action based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction because (1) the damages of each individual class member should have been aggregated to determine the amount in controversy, (2) appellant's claim for statutory damages should have been combined with the deficiency amount she owed respondent to determine jurisdiction, and (3) the court had original jurisdiction due to the injunctive relief appellant requested. Although we disagree with appellant's first contention, we agree with her two latter contentions.

         Standard ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.