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Credit Acceptance Corp. v. Prevo

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

June 26, 2019

CREDIT ACCEPTANCE CORPORATION Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
SHARUNDA PREVO Defendant-Appellant

          Appealed from the Twenty-Sixth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Webster, Louisiana Trial Court No. 75, 093 Honorable R. Lane Pittard, Judge

          SHARUNDA PREVO In Proper Person

          WARREN WALLACE WINGERTER, JR. Counsel for Appellee By: Edward F. Bukaty, III

          Before MOORE, McCALLUM, and THOMPSON, JJ.

          MOORE, J.

         ShaRunda Prevo, in proper person, appeals a summary judgment that ordered her to pay the balance due on a car loan after default, repossession and sheriff's sale. We affirm.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Ms. Prevo bought a 2012 Ford Focus from Orr Nissan in August 2014. She financed the $18, 640 purchase price by retail installment contract calling for 60 monthly payments of $536.14, at 23.99% interest and a 25% attorney fees in case of default. She made exactly one payment and, in June 2015, the holder of the note, Credit Acceptance Corp. ("CAC"), repossessed the Focus and had it sold at sheriff's sale. The deficiency after the sale was $11, 552.66. CAC filed this suit in January 2016 to recover the deficiency, costs, interest and attorney fees.

         Ms. Prevo filed a pro se answer urging various deficiencies in the petition, such as lack of proof that CAC had purchased the debt. She also applied for pauper status, which was granted. Later, in March 2016, she filed an "affidavit of truth" asserting, inter alia, that she had "reserved" all her rights under the Uniform Commercial Code, and that the petition lacked a "Mini-Miranda Warning" and "verifiable proof" of the plaintiff's loss.

         CAC filed this motion for summary judgment in June 2018. In support, it filed the affidavit of its legal assistant, Kimberly Cavazos, attesting to all the facts alleged and stating the balance due was $11, 552.66, plus interest, costs and attorney fees. Attached to the affidavit was a copy of the customer payment history, notice of plan to sell property and notice of disposition of repossessed vehicle. A memo in support contended that all Ms. Prevo's alleged deficiencies were "frivolous at best" and bore the hallmarks of Sovereign Citizen Theory, making them "frivolous as a matter of law," Mack v. Sweet, 2017 WL 6756667 (N.D. Tex. 12/4/17).

         Moments before the hearing on motion for summary judgment, on July 17, Ms. Prevo filed an "affidavit of fact" which bore the heading of the "Moorish National Republic" and identified herself as "Ashanti Imani Bey, authorized representative / Natural Person, In Propria Persona: Ex Relatione ShaRunda Lynette Prevo." This document (apparently copied from a website) quoted various constitutional passages, some pertaining to criminal law, but did not mention one fact about the case.[1]

         ACTION IN THE DISTRICT COURT

         At the hearing, Ms. Prevo's conduct was bizarre. She identified herself as Ashanti Imani Bey, "an authorized representative" and "in reference to" Ms. Prevo. The court advised her that if she was not a lawyer, she could not represent anyone in court; she responded that her "ex-relationship" or "prior name" was Prevo. CAC's counsel conceded that Ms. Ashanti and Ms. Prevo were one and the same, and the person being sued on the note.

         The court then asked CAC's counsel to present his case for summary judgment, but Ms. Prevo kept interrupting, demanding to "see the jurisdiction of this court," insisting she was there only "under threat, duress and coercion," and it was only a "special appearance." The court warned her that if she interrupted again, she would be removed. Almost immediately, she interrupted again; the court held her in contempt and ordered her to jail for 24 hours.

         CAC's counsel then presented its case, after which the court granted judgment as prayed for, actually reflecting an extra credit, for a principal of $11, 012.93, with legal interest from date of judicial demand, 25% attorney fees and all costs. The court fixed August 8 for form and content, and ordered Ms. Prevo released from jail at 4:00 pm the day of the hearing.

         On August 3, Ms. Prevo fax-filed another sheaf of documents, "Affidavit of Fact / Answer," "Answer / For the record, to be read into the record," and another "Affidavit of Truth." These maintained her status as a citizen of the Moorish National Republic. She attached a copy of the proposed judgment, which she refused to sign, and instead wrote on the bottom, "I dispute this debt and all claims to contract in accordance with 15 USC 1692G. I do not consent to these proceedings. The Clearfield Doctrine. Inducement of Fraud."

         CAC filed a Rule 9.5 certificate attesting that it had received no opposition to the proposed judgment. The court filed the signed judgment on August 20. On October 8, after receiving notice of judgment, Ms. Prevo filed a motion for findings of fact and conclusions of law, and a motion for a return date for a devolutive appeal.[2] The court rendered a written opinion and granted Ms. Prevo's appeal on October 26.

         Meanwhile, Ms. Prevo filed a request for 10-days' notice of setting and notice of judgment, with a motion to traverse Ms. Cavazos's affidavit. The court granted a hearing on these motions, but that hearing, on November 13, was very short: the court peremptorily advised Ms. Prevo that the motion to traverse was untimely, as judgment was already rendered.

         Nevertheless, Ms. Prevo filed several more motions in the district court, which were all denied as repetitive or untimely.

         Ms. Prevo has filed a pro se brief advancing 22 assignments of error and six "issues presented for review."

         DISCUSSION

         In the interest of justice, this court will read pro se filings indulgently and try to discern the thrust of the appellant's position and the relief she seeks. Magee v. Williams, 50, 726 (La.App. 2 Cir. 6/22/16), 197 So.3d 265. However, even with the latitude extended to a pro se litigant in the form of liberally construed pleadings, the appellant is required to meet her burden of proof. Id.; Greenwood Comty. Ctr. v. Calep, 48, 737 (La.App. 2 Cir. 1/15/14), 132 So.3d 470. Ms. Prevo's assignments are mostly assertions of fact and conclusions, without citations to the record or legal authority. However, we have grouped them by topic and addressed the issues she was attempting to assert.

         Subject-matter ...


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