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Beck v. Hy-Tech Performance, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

January 8, 2015

MARTIN BECK and SHERRY BECK, husband and wife, Plaintiffs/Appellants,
v.
HY-TECH PERFORMANCE, INC., an Arizona corporation, dba LOPER'S SERVICE CENTER, Defendant/Appellee

Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County. No. CV2012-007249. The Honorable Katherine M. Cooper, Judge.

Page 434

For Plaintiffs/Appellants: Curtis D. Ensign, Curtis Ensign, PLLC, Phoenix.

For Defendant/Appellee: Wesley S. Loy, Kevin R. Myer, Terrence P. Woods, Broening Oberg Woods & Wilson, PC, Phoenix.

Presiding Judge Patricia K. Norris delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Judge Lawrence F. Winthrop and Judge John C. Gemmill joined.

OPINION

Page 435

[236 Ariz. 356] Patricia K. Norris, Judge:

[¶1] The dispositive issue in this appeal is whether Arizona's garage lien statute, Arizona Revised Statutes (" A.R.S." ) section 33-1022(A) (2014), creates a lien in favor of a garage proprietor when the owner of a motor vehicle agrees to the amount of some, but not all, of the charges for repairs.[1] We hold that it does.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND[2]

[¶2] In February 2012, Plaintiff/Appellant Martin Beck dropped off a 1985 Jaguar he and his wife, Sherry, owned at a garage, Defendant/Appellee Hy-Tech Performance, Inc., with instructions to fix an idling problem so it would pass emissions testing. As explained in more detail below, during the next several weeks Hy-Tech performed multiple repairs to try and fix the problem. Beck agreed to most, but not all, of these repairs.

[¶3] On March 6, 2012, Beck went to Hy-Tech to retrieve the Jaguar. A Hy-Tech employee presented Beck with a bill for $2,418.33. Beck refused to pay, stating he had not authorized the work performed. Because Beck refused to pay for the repair work, Hy-Tech kept the Jaguar. Hy-Tech's proprietor, Michael Kelly, offered to " work with [Beck]" on the bill, but Beck " wanted nothing to do with it."

[¶4] The Becks sued Hy-Tech for conversion and also sought an order of replevin. The superior court issued a provisional order of replevin the next day, and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office executed the order and took possession of the Jaguar on behalf of the Becks. Hy-Tech did not answer the complaint until after the Becks had recovered possession of the Jaguar. The parties stipulated to exonerate the Becks' replevin bond before trial, and Hy-Tech never made any claims to the Jaguar beyond its claim for payment of the repair charges.

[¶5] The Becks then filed an amended certificate of compulsory arbitration stating that, because they had recovered the Jaguar, they were now only seeking money damages, and thus the case was subject to compulsory arbitration. See Ariz. R. Civ. P. 72(b), (e)(4). Before arbitration, Hy-Tech counterclaimed seeking damages for breach of contract. The arbitrator found in favor of Hy-Tech on its counterclaim and against the Becks on their claims against Hy-Tech. The Becks appealed the arbitrator's ruling to the superior court.

[¶6] After a bench trial, the superior court found in favor of Hy-Tech on the Becks' conversion claim and on its counterclaim for breach of contract and awarded it $1,907.71 in damages plus attorneys' fees and costs. The superior court " further f[ound] that [the Becks had] voluntarily relinquished the replevin claim in ...


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