from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Ouachita, Louisiana Trial Court No. 2015-1606 Honorable
Bernard S. Leehy, Judge
ANTHONY J. BRUSCATO Counsel for Appellant.
& GREEN, LLC Mark F. Vilar Aaron L. Green Counsel for
BROWN, WILLIAMS, and MOORE, JJ.
Calvin Walker, a psychiatrist, appeals from a judgment
dismissing his claim for deceptive and unfair trade practices
under the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer
Protection Law ("LUTPA") against defendant, Hixson
Autoplex of Monroe, L.L.C. ("Hixson"). Dr. Walker
purchased a 2015 Mustang GT Anniversary Edition from Hixson.
Plaintiff alleges that at the time of the sale, defendant led
plaintiff to believe that the Mustang he purchased was the
more valuable collector's Limited Edition. Defendant
filed a reconventional demand for attorney fees and costs,
alleging that plaintiff was in bad faith in bringing his
LUTPA claim. The trial court denied both Dr. Walker's
claim and Hixson's reconventional demand. Plaintiff has
appealed, and defendant filed an answer to the appeal
reasserting its claim for attorney fees and costs. For the
following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
original Mustang was first manufactured in 1964. To honor the
car's 50th anniversary, Ford Motor Company
("Ford") manufactured two special editions of the
Mustang in 2014, the "Limited Edition" and an
recognition of the original Mustang's manufacture in
1964, only 1, 964 Limited Edition Mustangs were manufactured
in 2014 and were intended to be a collector's car. Each
Mustang included a special trim package and had a plaque on
the passenger's side dash with the particular number
assigned to the vehicle out of the 1, 964 produced. The
Limited Edition came in either "Wimbledon White" or
"Kona Blue" and had either an automatic or manual
transmission. In anticipation of the release of the Limited
Edition Mustang, Ford promoted the car, which included
newspaper articles written about the Limited Edition. The
Anniversary Edition Mustang also came with the same special
trim package, but Ford manufactured the Anniversary Edition
in much larger numbers.
a dealership would get one of the 1, 964 Limited Edition
Mustangs was based on a lottery, with not every Ford
dealership receiving a Limited Edition to sell. In April
2014, Dr. Walker visited Hixson to inquire about purchasing a
Mustang. Dr. Walker spoke with Anthony Onebene, Jr., a Hixson
sales representative. At that time, neither the Limited
Edition nor the Anniversary Edition was available to purchase
at any dealership, and Onebene took Dr. Walker's card and
told him that he would contact him if Hixson received a car.
Walker testified that he first heard of the Limited Edition
Mustang when promotional newspaper articles were published in
the Monroe News Star. Dr. Walker was not aware of
the Anniversary Edition. He testified, "[M]y intent was
to buy the Limited Edition because I didn't know there
was such a thing as a package (Anniversary) Mustang. I
couldn't possibly have inquired truthfully about the
package Mustang since I didn't know it existed
Walker claims that he showed the articles about the Limited
Edition Mustang to Onebene at the April 2014 meeting.
Defendant's attorney showed Dr. Walker his deposition
testimony, wherein, when asked whether he showed the articles
to Onebene, Dr. Walker responded, "I'm not
sure." Dr. Walker then explained that because he had
mentioned showing the articles to Onebene in a letter he
wrote to the attorney general, mailed approximately two
months after the Hixson sale, that must have been true,
because his memory of the events giving rise to the case was
clearer at that time than at the time of his deposition
testimony. Onebene testified that Dr. Walker did not show him
the article about the Limited Edition and only said that he
wanted a GT Mustang.
speaking with Onebene at Hixson, Dr. Walker continued to
contact other dealerships. In April 2014, Dr. Walker had a
telephone conversation with Walter Downey, the sales manager
at Rountree Ford ("Rountree"), in Shreveport.
Downey communicated that Rountree had received notification
from Ford that it would get one of the Limited Edition
Mustangs. Dr. Walker asked Rountree to hold the Limited
Edition Mustang ("Rountree Mustang") for him, and
he paid a $10, 000 nonrefundable advance deposit to the
dealership and agreed to pay $15, 000 above the
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price ("MSRP")
when the vehicle was available for purchase.
months later, on October 15, 2014, Onebene contacted Dr.
Walker. Onebene testified that he told Dr. Walker, "I
have a GT with the 50th anniversary package." Dr. Walker
testified that Onebene said, "I have a car you might be
interested in, " which Dr. Walker understood to mean
that Hixson had a Limited Edition Mustang.
day, because Dr. Walker was seeing patients, he sent his wife
and daughter to Hixson to view the Mustang Onebene had said
Dr. Walker would be interested in. The wife and daughter both
testified that Dr. Walker's wife asked what number the
car was. Onebene testified that he did not recall being asked
that question by either of Dr. Walker's relatives. While
at Hixson, the women learned that a tornado hit the
daughter's house, and both mother and daughter quickly
that same day, Dr. Walker went to the dealership, inspected
and rode in the vehicle, reviewed the window sticker
("Monroney sticker"), which included the MSRP
(suggested price and certain official specifications of the
car). Dr. Walker negotiated the purchase price
at $3, 000 above MSRP, with the total price of the vehicle
being $51, 698.19. What Dr. ...