This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Holly Jean Ulstad,
Flood Brothers, Inc.,
Filed April 11, 2000
Crow Wing County District Court
File No. C699131
Eric L. Crandall, 275 South Third Street, Suite 101, Stillwater, MN 55082 (for appellant)
S. John Roach, 155 First Avenue East, P.O. Box 389, Shakopee, MN 55379 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Crippen, Judge, and Shumaker, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant Holly Ulstad challenges the district court's award of summary judgment to respondent Flood Brothers, Inc. She contends that respondent violated the law by failing to disclose that the car it sold to appellant's predecessor purchasers had been salvaged and rebuilt. We affirm.
On March 6, 1990, an Illinois car dealer sold a 1989 Buick Regal automobile to Julie Pabst. Pabst obtained insurance for the car from State Farm Insurance Company.
When the car was badly damaged in an accident, Pabst transferred title to State Farm. The insurer applied for and received an Illinois salvage certificate of title.
On April 25, 1995, respondent Flood Brothers, Inc. bought the car from State Farm through an automobile auction. State Farm assigned the salvage certificate of title to Flood Brothers.
Flood Brothers then applied for title in Minnesota, completing the title application form required by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. With its application, Flood Brothers also submitted the salvage certificate of title from Illinois. Minnesota issued a regular certificate of title, which did not indicate that the car had been salvaged.
After three successive sales of the car, appellant Holly Ulstad bought it. When she learned that the car had been salvaged and rebuilt, she sued Flood Brothers, alleging misrepresentation and violations of various consumer and title statutes. Ulstad moved for partial summary judgment. Flood Brothers made a counter-motion for summary judgment and supported its motion with an affidavit from Vicki Albu, the Assistant Manager of the Title and Registration Section of the Driver and Vehicle Services Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Ms. Albu stated in her affidavit that the division follows Minn. Stat. § 325F.6644 (1998) and does not issue salvage titles to vehicles six years old or older. She indicated that the division applies this rule even to out-of-state salvaged vehicles despite Minn. Stat. § 168A.151, subd. 1 (1998), which requires that the owner of such a vehicle apply for a Minnesota salvage title.
Ms. Albu stated that Flood Brothers applied for title for the salvaged Buick, and that, because the car was six years old, the division issued a regular title. She indicated that Flood Brothers did not request a regular title. Ulstad moved to strike Albu's affidavit. The court did not rule on the motion.
The district court granted summary judgment, holding that Flood Brothers violated no statute and engaged in no misrepresentation or fraud in obtaining title in Minnesota.
D E C I S I O N
On appeal from summary judgment, the reviewing court asks whether there are any genuine issues of material fact in dispute, and whether the court erred in its application of law. Offerdahl v. University of Minn. Hosps. & Clinics, 426 N.W.2d 425, 427 (Minn. 1988). We review the district court's interpretation of law de novo. Sorenson v. St. Paul Ramsey Med. Ctr., 457 N.W.2d 188, 190 (Minn. 1990). We also view the evidence in a light most favorable to the non-moving party and accept that party's factual allegations as true. Fabio v. Bellomo, 504 N.W.2d 758, 761 (Minn. 1993).
The Albu Affidavit
Ulstad contends that Vicki Albu's affidavit does not comply with Minn. R. Civ. P. 56.05, violates the code of ethics for executive branch employees, and constitutes the unauthorized practice of law.
Minn. R. Civ. P. 56.05 provides in part that
[s]upporting and opposing affidavits shall be made on personal knowledge, shall set forth such facts as would be admissible in evidence, and shall show affirmatively that the affiant is competent to testify to the matters stated therein.
Ms. Albu's affidavit demonstrates that her managerial position provides her with personal knowledge of the rules, practices and procedures that the state applies in titling motor vehicles. The affidavit demonstrates particular personal knowledge of the state's policies in issuing salvage titles. We believe that Ms. Albu would be permitted at trial to testify to all the facts stated in her affidavit and that all the facts would be admissible in evidence. Her affidavit does not violate rule 56.05. We find no merit in Ulstad's remaining contentions regarding Ms. Albu.
Ulstad offered no facts to dispute the assertion by Flood Brothers that it attached its Illinois salvage title certificate to the title application form required in Minnesota and never specifically requested a regular title.
Minn. Stat. § 325F.6641 (1998) requires the seller of a motor vehicle that has sustained a certain amount of damage to disclose that fact. Minn. Stat. § 325F.6642, subd. 3 (1998), requires that the term "prior salvage" be included on the Minnesota certificate of title for any vehicle with an out-of-state salvage title. However, Minn. Stat. § 325F.6644 (1998) provides: "Sections 325F.6641 and 325F.6642 do not apply to vehicles that are six years old or older * * * ."
Although Ulstad does not dispute the facts or the law, she contends that Flood Brothers should have done more to obtain a Minnesota title that would have revealed the prior salvage status of the car. But the law required nothing more. Flood Brothers disclosed the Illinois salvage title and followed the titling procedures required in Minnesota. The state, interpreting the applicable statutes, issued a regular title. Flood Brothers violated no law. There is no genuine issue of material fact for trial. The district court did not err in granting summary judgment for respondent.