A federal judge has dismissed an odometer-fraud suit, ruling that a local body shop did not intend to commit fraud.
U.S. District Judge David Sam dismissed Jenson Motors' suit against CS&T Body and Paint of Salt Lake City because CS&T did not deliberately conceal the actual mileage on a car CS&T sold to the dealer.Ray G. Martineau, attorney for Jenson Motors, said Tuesday that he will appeal to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
CS&T bought a 1986 Volvo at an Arizona auction. But when it bought the car, the company failed to obtain a required mileage-disclosure statement. The title to the car said it had 143,875 miles on it. The odometer read 62,000.
A short time later, CS&T transferred the car to the company's insurance agent, Stephen Fenton, to satisfy a debt.
CS&T President Jesse Thompson said that when he transferred the car to Fenton, he told him the car had 143,875 miles on it. However, CS&T's mileage disclosure statement on the back of the title read 68,201. Thompson failed to indicate on the title, as required by law, that the odometer had turned and the odometer reading was not correct.
According to the ruling, when Fenton sold the car to Jenson Motors, Fenton told the dealership the car had 69,644 miles on it.
Jenson Motors did not get the title certificate on the car until more than a week later. When it did, company officials realized the car had more than 143,875 miles on it.
Jenson Motors sued both Fenton and CS&T. Fenton paid a settlement to Jenson Motors and was dropped from the suit.
Although CS&T violated the law in failing to properly fill out the paperwork on the car, the company did not intend to defraud Fenton, Sam ruled.
In order for Jenson Motors to win a suit against CS&T under federal odometer laws, Jenson Motors must prove that CS&T intended to cheat.