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Moore v. Automotive Finance Corp.

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

July 24, 2019

RAY MOORE, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
AUTOMOTIVE FINANCE CORP., Defendant-Appellee.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ANDREW L. BRASHER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes to the Court on appeal from the Bankruptcy Court's order dismissing Ray Moore's (“Plaintiff”) Amended Complaint against Automotive Finance Corporation (“Defendant”) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Having reviewed the record, the parties' briefs, and applicable law, this Court affirms.

         Background

         The following facts are taken from Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint. See Doc. 2-12.

         Plaintiff was in the car business and declared bankruptcy. Plaintiff owed Defendant a sum of money, and that debt was discharged in the bankruptcy in 2016.

         About two years after the bankruptcy, Plaintiff and a business partner organized a new company to purchase automobiles at dealer or wholesale prices and to resell those cars to consumers for a profit.

         Plaintiff's new company attempted to gain access to physical and virtual automobile auction sites through an entity known as AuctionAccess. AuctionAccess is the entity through which an automotive dealer must obtain credentials to purchase wholesale automobiles at hundreds of auctions across North America (including Canada and Mexico). It is the number one dealer credentialing system for the wholesale auction industry in North America. The AuctionAccess card is a dealer's gateway into the wholesale auction physical and online lanes and a tool for AuctionAccess' auction partners to verify photo IDs, proper dealer licenses and other credentialing documents necessary to conduct business in the wholesale industry. AuctionAccess controls access, through its credentialing system, to Adesa and Manheim, which are the largest and most significant automobile wholesale and/or remarketing companies in North America.

         AuctionAccess denied Plaintiff, his partner, and his new company access through the credentialing system. A representative of AuctionAccess informed them that Defendant had blocked them from obtaining buyer credentials. Specifically, “AuctionAccess denied or rejected [Plaintiff's] applications or requests based upon a directive or instruction from Defendant.” (Doc. 2-12 ¶ 29). The representative arranged for Plaintiff and Defendant to discuss the reasons for the block.

         Plaintiff and Defendant had the following conversation. Defendant advised Plaintiff that he owed a substantial amount of money. Plaintiff argued that the debt was discharged in the bankruptcy. Defendant advised that it was under no obligation to allow Plaintiff to obtain buyer credentials from AuctionAccess. Defendant suggested that it would remove its block for an amount of money. Plaintiff suggested one thousand dollars. Defendant said “make it two thousand and we have a deal.” (Doc. 2-12 ¶ 40). Defendant later confirmed by email that it would “accept $2, 000.00 in consideration for informing Auction Insurance Agency that the outstanding matter with [Defendant] has been resolved.” (Doc. 2-12 ¶ 43).

         Plaintiff sued Defendant for violating the bankruptcy discharge in 11 U.S.C. § 524(a). The Bankruptcy Court initially dismissed the Complaint without prejudice. After Plaintiff amended the Complaint, the Bankruptcy Court dismissed the Amended Complaint with prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

         This appeal followed.

         Jurisdiction

         The Court has jurisdiction over this appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 158.

         Standard ...


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