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LimoLiner, Inc. v. Dattco, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

March 22, 2019

LIMOLINER, INC., Plaintiff, Appellant,
v.
DATTCO, INC., Defendant, Appellee.

          APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS HON. JENNIFER C. BOAL, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

          Robert E. Curtis, Jr., Jonathon D. Friedmann, and Rudolph Friedmann LLP on brief for appellant.

          Christopher S. Williams and Williams & Associates on brief for appellee.

          Before Lynch, Selya, and Boudin, Circuit Judges.

          LYNCH, Circuit Judge.

         We hold that the plaintiff, LimoLiner, has not met its burden of showing that the defendant repair company's technical violations of the Massachusetts Attorney General's regulations that govern motor vehicle repairs, 940 Mass. Code Regs. § 5.05, caused LimoLiner the loss of any money or property. On that basis, we affirm the Magistrate Judge's holding that the repair company is not liable under Chapter 93A. LimoLiner, Inc. v. Dattco, Inc., No. CV 11-11877-JCB, 2017 WL 6947783, at *9 (D. Mass. Nov. 27, 2017). We reach no other issue.

         I.

         This lengthy litigation about repair work to a luxury motor coach has already yielded three appellate opinions. See LimoLiner, Inc. v. Dattco, Inc. (LimoLiner I), 809 F.3d 33 (1st Cir. 2015); LimoLiner, Inc. v. Dattco, Inc. (LimoLiner II), 57 N.E.3d 969 (Mass. 2016); LimoLiner, Inc. v. Dattco, Inc. (LimoLiner III), 839 F.3d 61 (1st Cir. 2016). Further details are in those opinions, so we keep the background discussion here brief. The facts are not in dispute.

         The plaintiff, LimoLiner, Inc., is a Massachusetts corporation that owns and operates a fleet of luxury motor coaches. LimoLiner, 2017 WL 6947783, at *2. The defendant, Dattco, Inc., is a Connecticut corporation that repairs motor vehicles, including buses and coaches. Id.

         In May 2011, LimoLiner met with Dattco to discuss repairs to one of LimoLiner's coaches. Id. at *3. LimoLiner said it wanted the coach repaired "as soon as possible," but did not set a date. Id. Dattco understood that the coach "had been out of service for quite some time." Id.

         LimoLiner orally requested that Dattco repair, among other things, the vehicle's "inverter," a device that converts the vehicle's power into a voltage that passengers can use, for instance, to charge their electronic devices. Id. Dattco agreed to make the necessary repairs, including to the inverter. Id. Dattco also provided an oral estimate for the cost of labor, but did not provide an estimate of the cost of parts. Id. at *5.

         Dattco, in response to the oral request, made and sent to LimoLiner a list of the requested repairs, but that list did not include specifically repairs to the inverter. Id. at *3. It was unclear whether the inverter would need repair or replacement, and the parties disputed who would be responsible, but the Magistrate Judge found that "the parties agreed that the inverter would be replaced or repaired by Dattco." Id.

         Dattco began working on the coach "around June 16, 2011." Id. Dattco timesheets show that its mechanics worked on the inverter on July 19, 2011. Id. The Magistrate Judge found that Dattco continued to work on the inverter in August 2011. Id. at *4.

         When a fire destroyed another LimoLiner coach in late June 2011, LimoLiner told Dattco that it needed the coach in Dattco's possession so it was urgent that the repairs be completed quickly. Id. When Dattco had not completed the repairs by August 2011, LimoLiner demanded to know how Dattco would ...


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