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Woman gets judgment against dealer, repair shop

Where the purchaser of a motor vehicle showed that the seller and an affiliated repair shop failed to make disclosures required by the Truth in Lending Act and violated the Virginia Consumer Protection Act and Virginia usury law, she was awarded actual damages, statutory damages and attorney’s fees.


This matter comes before the court on Tamron James’s motion for default judgment as to both Delta Motors LLC and Austin’s Auto Service LLC. Delta is a motor vehicle dealer and Austin’s is an affiliated automotive repair shop.

James alleges that defendants have prevented her from obtaining title to a motor vehicle despite paying it off in full in March 2022. James seeks relief under the Truth in Lending Act, or TILA, Uniform Commercial Code, or UCC, warranty of title, the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, or VCPA, and Virginia usury law.

Jurisdiction and venue

The court has subject-matter jurisdiction because James brought this action pursuant to a federal statute. The court has supplemental jurisdiction over the related state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

The court has personal jurisdiction over both Delta and Austin’s, as they are both Virginia limited liability companies transacting business in Roanoke, Virginia. Venue is appropriate, as the events giving rise to the complaint took place in the Western District of Virginia.


James alleges that Delta’s retail installment sales contract, or RISC, violated TILA’s disclosure requirements by incorrectly stating the down payment, the amount financed, the finance charge, the total of payments, the total sale price and the annual percentage rate. James alleges that Austin’s contract for sale violated TILA by failing to make any of the mandatory disclosures in the required terminology. Deeming James’s allegations as admitted, James has established Delta’s and Austin’s liability on Claim One.


James alleges that she had a “contract for sale” of the van, which brings the transaction within the protection provided by § 2-312 of the UCC. James further alleges that she has been unable to obtain title to the van even after paying it off in full because the documents provided by the defendants to James were inadequate to transfer title. Based on these allegations, James has established her breach of warranty of title claim. This breach permitted James to revoke her acceptance of the vehicle under Va. Code § 8.2-608.


James alleges that Delta and Austin’s violated the VCPA by “selling the van while then having in possession no title in the name of either Delta or Austin’s.” According to the allegations before the court, the defendants omitted the material fact that they did not own the vehicle at the time they advertised it and sold it to James.

Here, James has plead sufficient time, place and identity. James also reasonably relied upon the understanding created by this omission: that the entities with which she met owned the vehicle they offered and sold to her. Therefore, James has met the pleading requirements under Rule 9(b) and established her VCPA claim for relief.


James claims that Delta violated usury laws by charging interest far beyond the agreed-upon amount. As documented by the RISC, James and Delta agreed upon a finance charge of $608.52 and an APR of 18% over the life of the loan. When the RISC is corrected to reflect the reality of the transaction — including the missing $200 as part of the down payment — the finance charge rises to $808.52, reflecting an APR of 29.69%, far above the 18% rate to which James agreed.

James claims Austin’s also violated Virginia’s usury laws by charging interest above the 12% rate permitted by law. James has therefore established her usury claims against both Delta and Austin’s.


James is entitled to actual damages under TILA, the UCC, VCPA and Virginia usury law. While recovery under each claim is discussed in detail below, the court caps James’s actual damages at the total she paid for the car, $5,268.98. James may also recover $13,492.96 in statutory damages under TILA, VCPA and Virginia usury laws.

Attorney fees are also warranted under TILA, the VCPA and Virginia usury laws. Counsel for James discounted his rate by 20% for an attorney fee award of $9,336.00. Because James has carried her “burden of showing that the claimed rate and number of hours are reasonable,” the calculated fee “is presumed to be the reasonable fee.”

Plaintiff’s motion for entry of default judgment granted.

James v. Delta Motors LLC, Case No. 7:22-cv-441, May 8, 2023. WDVA at Roanoke (Urbanski). VLW 023-3-243. 18 pp.

VLW 023-3-243

Virginia Lawyers Weekly