United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING AND ORDER
A. Bolden, United States District Judge.
December 3, 2018, the Court ordered Eileen and Nusrat Rizvi
(“Plaintiffs”) and BMW Financial Services NA, LLC
(“BMW FS” or “Defendant”) to show
cause as to why this case is not moot. Order to Show Cause,
dated Dec. 3, 2018 (“Show Cause Order”), ECF No.
reasons explained below, the Court finds that this case is
not moot, and ORDERS the parties to file a
joint Rule 26(f) report by August 2, 2019.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
17, 2018, Plaintiffs sued BMW FS, alleging that BMW FS had
refused to refund multiple inadvertent overpayments on their
auto lease in violation of the Consumer Leasing Act, 15
U.S.C. § 1667 et seq., and the Truth in Lending
Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq. Complaint, dated
July 17, 2018 (“Compl.”), ECF No. 1, ¶¶
1-27. Specifically, Plaintiffs allege that BMW FS's
policy of retaining overpayments was not clearly and
conspicuously disclosed in the lease or any accompanying
lease documents, which they allege is required by 15 U.S.C.
§ 1667, 12 C.F.R. § 213 et seq.
(“Regulation M”), and 12 C.F.R. § 226 et
seq. (“Regulation Z”). See Compl.
¶¶ 18-23, 24-27.
also allege state-law claims under the Connecticut Unfair
Trade Practices Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. 42-110b, and for unjust
enrichment. Id. ¶¶ 28-33.
August 15, 2018, BMW FS answered and asserted several
affirmative defenses, including mootness. Answer, dated Aug.
15, 2018, ECF No. 7.
argued that the case was or would shortly become moot,
“inasmuch as (1) as any payments the plaintiffs have
made that exceeded the amounts due at the time the plaintiffs
made them have been applied to monthly payments that have
become due since, and at present, the plaintiffs' account
does not have a ‘credit' balance; and (2) the lease
will end on August 31, 2018 . . . at which time the
plaintiffs will be obliged to return the leased car to BMW FS
or purchase it pursuant to the terms of the agreement. As
such, not only do the plaintiffs not have a
‘credit' balance, but depending on the outcome of
the end-of-lease inspection and accounting, they might
actually be liable for additional amounts for damage to the
vehicle, extra mileage, unpaid property taxes, and the like,
pursuant to the terms of the lease.” Id. at
December 3, 2018, the Court ordered the parties to show cause
as to why this case is not moot, explaining that mootness is
a threshold issue that must be resolved before the Court
could proceed to adjudicate the merits of the Complaint. Show
Cause Order at 2. The Court noted that: (1) Plaintiffs had
admitted, in their Complaint, that the lease was scheduled to
end in August 2018, id. (citing Compl. ¶ 7);
(2) that three months had passed since the lease had ended,
id.; and (3) that discovery had not yet begun,
id. Accordingly, the Court ordered the parties to
show cause by December 21, 2018 why this case is not moot,
and warned that failure to file a response might result in
dismissal for lack of jurisdiction.
December 28, 2018, Plaintiffs moved to disqualify the Court
in this case. See Motion to Disqualify Judge Victor
A. Bolden, dated Dec. 28, 2018 (“Disqual. Mot.”),
ECF No. 11. Plaintiffs argued, inter alia, that the
Court could not render an unbiased or impartial decision in
this case because it ruled against Plaintiffs in a prior,
unrelated case. See id.; Affidavit of Nusrat Rizvi
in Support of Disqual. Mot., dated Dec. 28, 2018, ECF No.
January 10, 2019, the Court, construing Plaintiffs'
motion as a motion for recusal, denied the motion, finding
that “Plaintiffs' disagreement with or even
disappointment in an earlier ruling . . . does not provide a
sufficient basis for recusal.” Ruling and Order on
Motion for Recusal, dated Jan. 10, 2019 (“Ruling &
Order”), ECF No. 12, at 8 (collecting cases). The Court
held that it would not refuse to hear this case, but would
instead “consider the Plaintiffs' claims in this
case anew, in service of its solemn obligations under Article
III of the United States Constitution.” Id. at
9. (citation omitted).
January 25, 2019, BMW FS responded to the Court's Order
to Show Cause, explaining that it had not timely responded,
but was submitting a late response in light of the
Court's statement in the January 10, 2019 Ruling and
Order that it would “consider the Plaintiffs'
claims in this case anew[.]” Defendant's Response
to December 3, 2018 Order to Show Cause, dated Jan. 25, 2019
(“Def.'s Resp.”), ECF No. 13.
response, BMW FS indicates that Plaintiffs' lease matured
on August 29, 2018. Id. at 1. After that date, BMW
FS alleges that “Plaintiffs made a payment or payments
that resulted in a surplus of $64.75, before accounting for
an unpaid disposition fee.” Id. On November
15, 2018, BMW FS alleges that Mr. Rizvi called BMW FS and
requested a waiver of the disposition fee, which BMW FS
granted. Id. BMW FS alleges it then mailed
Plaintiffs a check for $64.75, refunding the surplus balance
on the account. Id. To substantiate these
assertions, BMW FS has submitted to the Court: (1) a November
16, 2018 letter BMW FS's attorney allegedly mailed to
Plaintiffs; and (2) a bank record displaying a copy of a
check in the amount of $64.75 issued on November 20, 2018 by
BMW FS to Mr. Rizvi. See Exs. A & B to
Def.'s Resp. The bank record also indicates that the
check was cashed on November 27, 2018. See Ex. B.
argues that because Plaintiffs' account is now closed and
Plaintiffs are not owed any money-and because Plaintiffs had
not timely responded to the Court's Order to Show Cause
to demonstrate otherwise-the case is moot and ...