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You can search the entire site. or go to the recent opinions, or the chronological or subject indices. Weimer v. Continental Car & Truck, LLC (8/13/2010) sp-6498

Weimer v. Continental Car & Truck, LLC (8/13/2010) sp-6498, 237 P3d 610

     Notice:   This opinion is subject to correction  before
     publication  in  the  Pacific  Reporter.   Readers  are
     requested to bring errors to the attention of the Clerk
     of  the  Appellate  Courts, 303  K  Street,  Anchorage,
     Alaska 99501, phone (907) 264-0608, fax (907) 264-0878,
     e-mail corrections@appellate.courts.state.ak.us.


            THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ALASKA

DAVID ALAN WEIMER, individually )
and on behalf of all others similarly ) Supreme Court No. S-13158
situated, )
)
Appellant,)
) Superior Court No. 3AN-07- 9855 CI
v. )
) O P I N I O N
)
CONTINENTAL CAR & TRUCK, LLC,) No. 6498 - August 13, 2010
d/b/a CONTINENTAL NISSAN OF)
ANCHORAGE, )
Appellee.)
)
          Appeal  from the Superior Court of the  State
          of    Alaska,   Third   Judicial    District,
          Anchorage, Mark Rindner, Judge.

          Appearances:   Chris  Bataille,   Walther   &
          Flanigan,  Anchorage, Trena L. Heikes,  Eagle
          River,  for  Appellant.   Howard S.  Trickey,
          Gary  C.  Sleeper,  Matthew  Singer,  Jermain
          Dunnagan   &  Owens,  P.C.,  Anchorage,   for
          Appellee.

          Before:   Carpeneti, Chief  Justice,  Winfree
          and  Christen, Justices.  [Eastaugh and Fabe,
          Justices, not participating.]

          WINFREE, Justice.

I.   INTRODUCTION
          A  consumer  brought  a putative class  action  lawsuit
against  an  automobile dealership more than two years  after  he
purchased  a vehicle, alleging the dealership charged a  document
preparation fee not included in the vehicles advertised price  in
violation   of  Alaskas  Unfair  Trade  Practices  and   Consumer
Protection  Act  (UTPA).  The dealership  moved  to  dismiss  the
complaint,  arguing that the two-year UTPA statute of limitations
barred  the  consumers  claim.   The  consumer  argued  that  the
limitations  period did not begin to run until he  discovered  it
might  be  illegal  to  charge  a document  preparation  fee  not
included  in  the vehicles advertised price.  The superior  court
dismissed   the   complaint   before  any   class   certification
proceedings,  entered  final  judgment,  and  awarded  costs  and
attorneys  fees  to the dealership.  Because the  superior  court
correctly interpreted the UTPA statute of limitations and did not
otherwise  err,  we affirm the superior courts  decision  in  its
entirety.
II.  FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS
     A.   Facts
          On  May 20, 2005, David Alan Weimer purchased a vehicle
from  Continental Nissan of Anchorage. According to Weimer, after
he  agreed  to  buy  the  vehicle and without  prior  disclosure,
Continental  added a $200 document preparation fee in  the  final
sale paperwork.  At the time Weimer believed the fee was legal.
          Approximately  two years later Weimer  learned  from  a
friend  that  it might be illegal for car dealerships  to  charge
document  preparation  fees.  Weimer  then  showed  his  purchase
agreement  to  an Anchorage law firm.  In April or  May  2007  an
attorney  from  the  firm told Weimer the dealership  might  have
unlawfully charged the document preparation fee.
     B.   Proceedings
          In September 2007 Weimer filed a class action complaint
alleging  that Continental routinely breached AS 45.50.471(b)(43)
of  the  UTPA by charging fees and costs neither required by  the
state  nor  included in the vehicles advertised  price.1   Weimer
further  alleged  this  conduct  was  deceptive,  fraudulent  and
misleading  in  violation  of AS 45.50.471[(b)](11)&(12)  of  the
UTPA.2   Weimer named himself the representative for  a  putative
plaintiff class of all persons who, since July 1, 2002, purchased
from [Continental] a motor vehicle whose advertised price did not
include  dealer  fees or costs . . . but who  were  charged  such
dealer fees or costs.
          Continental moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing the
UTPAs  two-year  statute  of limitations barred  Weimers  claims.
After Weimer filed an opposition to the motion accompanied by his
affidavit, the superior court treated Continentals motion as  one
for  summary judgment.3  The court ruled that the UTPAs  two-year
statute of limitations barred Weimers claims, but in its decision
the  court  discussed only the AS 45.50.471(b)(43)  document  fee
claim and not the AS 45.50.471(b)(11)-(12) fraud claims.
          Weimer  requested  reconsideration for  three  reasons.
First,  he argued that for the UTPA statute of limitations period
to  begin  running the plaintiff must discover that  the  act  in
question  was  illegal.  Second, he argued that the court  should
not have dismissed his UTPA fraud claim because, based on City of
Fairbanks  v. Amoco Chemical Company,4 the statute of limitations
for fraud claims does not start to run until the plaintiff learns
          of the facts constituting the fraud.  Third, he argued that
before   dismissal  the  court  should  have  allow[ed]  him   an
opportunity  to  amend  the complaint  to  add  a  representative
plaintiff whose claim was not subject to dismissal based  on  the
statute  of  limitations.   Weimer did  not  include  a  proposed
amended complaint with his motion for reconsideration.  The court
denied  Weimers  reconsideration motion,  finding  his  arguments
duplicative  of  those previously considered  by  the  court  and
noting  no  class  has  ever  been  certified  and  [i]f  another
plaintiff  has a valid claim and wishes to bring a  class  action
th[e]n a new action can be filed.
          The court then granted Continentals motion for entry of
final  judgment and awarded Continental costs and attorneys fees.
Weimer appeals.
III. STANDARD OF REVIEW
          We   review  a  grant  of  summary  judgment  de  novo,
affirming the summary judgment when there is no genuine issue  of
material fact and the prevailing party is entitled to judgment as
a  matter  of  law.5  When reviewing a decision granting  summary
judgment,  we view the facts in the light most favorable  to  the
party against whom summary judgment was entered.6
          The    applicable    statute   of   limitations,    the
interpretation of that statute, and whether that statute  bars  a
claim are questions of law.7  We review such questions of law  de
novo, adopt[ing] the rule of law that is most persuasive in light
of  precedent, reason, and policy.8  The date on which a  statute
of  limitations begins to run is a question of fact we review for
clear error.9
          We  review a superior courts decision denying leave  to
amend a pleading for abuse of discretion.10  We also use the abuse
of  discretion  standard to review an award of attorneys  fees.11
Abuse  exists  if the courts decision  is arbitrary,  capricious,
manifestly unreasonable, or the result of an improper motive.  12
Whether  the court applied the proper legal analysis to calculate
attorneys fees is a question of law we review de novo.13
IV.  DISCUSSION
     A.   The UTPAs Two-Year Statute Of Limitations Barred All Of
          Weimers UTPA Claims.
          
          Paramount  to resolving this case is the interpretation
of the UTPA statute of limitations:  A person may not commence an
action  under this section more than two years after  the  person
discovers  or  reasonably should have discovered  that  the  loss
resulted  from  an  act  or  practice  declared  unlawful  by  AS
45.50.471.14
          This  presents an issue of first impression  when  does
the  statute of limitations begin to run on a UTPA claim?  Weimer
argues  the  two-year limitations period begins to run  when  the
plaintiff   discovers   the  defendants   acts   were   unlawful.
Continental argues a plaintiffs subjective knowledge of the  acts
illegality is immaterial, and the statute begins to run when  the
plaintiff discovers a loss that resulted from the proscribed act.
          When deciding questions of statutory interpretation, we
examine  the  statutes language, its purpose, and its legislative
          history.15  We have made clear that  [t]he goal of statutory
construction  is to give effect to the legislatures intent,  with
due  regard  for  the meaning the statutory language  conveys  to
others. 16
          Although the legislative history here is silent  as  to
the  legislatures intent,17 the statutory language and  structure
are  dispositive.  The limitations period begins to  run  when  a
plaintiff  discovers, or reasonably should have discovered,  that
the  defendants  conduct  caused a loss   not  when  a  plaintiff
discovers,  or  reasonably  should  have  discovered,  that   the
defendants conduct was illegal.
          The  operative statutory language is after  the  person
discovers  or  reasonably should have discovered  that  the  loss
resulted  from  an  act  or  practice  declared  unlawful  by  AS
45.50.471.18   The sentences grammatical structure indicates  the
phrase  declared  unlawful  by AS 45.50.471  is  not  a  separate
element  the  plaintiff must discover or reasonably  should  have
discovered  before  the limitations period  begins  to  run,  but
rather  serves to distinguish what type of act or practice,  when
discovered, triggers the limitations period.  The phrase declared
unlawful  by AS 45.50.471 modifies the nouns act or practice;  it
is  an  adjectival  phrase,  not a  direct  object  of  the  verb
discovers  or  of the verb phrase should have discovered.19   The
grammatical  structure dictates that the consumer  must  discover
the  causal link between the loss and the (unlawful) act for  the
limitations period to begin.
          The  last  antecedent  rule supports  this  grammatical
interpretation   of  the  UTPA  statute  of  limitations.    This
statutory construction aid instructs:  Referential and qualifying
words  and  phrases, where no contrary intention  appears,  refer
solely to the last antecedent.20  The statutory construction  aid
continues  by  defining last antecedent to mean  the  last  word,
phrase,  or  clause  that  can  be  made  an  antecedent  without
impairing  the  meaning of the sentence.21  The  last  antecedent
before the adjectival phrase declared unlawful by AS 45.50.471 is
the  phrase  act or practice.22  Extending the adjectival  phrase
beyond  that  antecedent is illogical  the UTPA does not  declare
the loss unlawful, nor therefore does the phrase extend to person
discovers.  Instead the adjectival phrase defines the type of act
or practice that violates the statute.
          In both his superior court briefing and his briefing to
us,  Weimer  posited  that City of Fairbanks  v.  Amoco  Chemical
Company   supports  his  position  that  the  UTPAs  statute   of
limitations  does  not begin to run until a  plaintiff  discovers
that  an  act  is  illegal under the UTPA.   But  Amoco  Chemical
Company actually undermines Weimers position.
          In  Amoco  Chemical  Company, the  defendant  raised  a
statute of limitations defense when sued by the municipality  for
common  law  fraud  and  a UTPA violation.23   We  held  that  AS
09.10.120(a),  a  special  six-year statute  of  limitations  for
public  entities,  applies to a municipalitys  common  law  fraud
claim.24   We also noted that the statute contained the following
discovery rule language specifically for common law fraud  claims
brought  by public entities:  the limitation commences  from  the
          time  of discovery by the aggrieved party of the  facts
constituting the fraud.25  Due to this discovery rule language, we
held  that  the statute did not begin to run in common law  fraud
claims  brought  by a public entity until the public  entity  had
actual  notice  of the defendants scienter.26  We then  addressed
whether  the  newer two-year UTPA statute of limitations  or  the
older  six-year public entity statute of limitations  applied  to
the  municipalitys UTPA claim.27  Without discussing whether  the
two-year UTPA statute included the same discovery rule,  we  held
that the longer limitations period in AS 09.10.120(a) applied  to
the municipalitys UTPA claim.28
          Amoco  Chemical Company is distinguishable from Weimers
situation:   (1)  Weimer is not a public entity  entitled  to  AS
09.10.120(a)s statute of limitations;29 and (2) the absence of AS
09.10.120(a)s  express discovery rule for  fraud  claims  in  the
UTPAs  statute of limitations is telling  if the legislature  had
intended  the UTPAs statute of limitations to encompass the  same
discovery  rule as AS 09.10.120(a), it would have used  the  same
language.
          We  therefore  agree with Continental  that  the  UTPAs
statute of limitations begins to run when a consumer discovers or
reasonably should have discovered the prohibited conduct caused a
loss.   When  the  consumer discovers or reasonably  should  have
discovered the conduct was prohibited is immaterial to  the  UTPA
limitations  period.   We therefore affirm  the  superior  courts
grant  of  summary  judgment because when  Weimer  purchased  the
vehicle  he  became aware of the alleged unlawful  practice  (the
document fee), the loss (his payment of the fee), and the  causal
relationship between the two.
     B.   It Was Not Error To Enter Final Judgment.
          1.   Personal claims
          Weimer  argues  the superior court erred by  dismissing
his  fraud claims on the basis of the UTPA statute of limitations
and by denying his claim for injunctive relief.
          Weimers argument about the dismissal of his UTPA  fraud
claims has no merit.  Weimers claims, including his fraud claims,
were based on the UTPA.  Thus Weimers claims, including his fraud
claims, were subject to the UTPAs statute of limitations.  It  is
true  that  in  its summary judgment decision the superior  court
noted  only Weimers AS 45.50.471(b)(43) document fee claim.   But
after Weimer filed a motion for reconsideration arguing that  the
statute  of  limitations for fraud claims does not begin  to  run
until  the plaintiff learns of the facts constituting the  fraud,
the  superior court denied the motion, stating that the  argument
raised had already been considered.
          On appeal, Weimer first argues that a different statute
of limitations applies to claims based on fraud.  But Weimer does
not  point  to  any  other  potentially  applicable  statute   of
limitations  or  make  any  argument why  the  UTPAs  statute  of
limitations does not apply to his UTPA fraud claims.  Weimer then
reiterates his argument that the statute of limitations for fraud
claims  does not begin to run until the plaintiff learns  of  the
facts constituting the fraud, citing Amoco Chemical Company.  But
as explained above that case is not applicable here.
          As to Weimers claim for injunctive relief, Weimer lacks
standing  to maintain such a claim because he does not assert  an
intent  to buy another vehicle from Continental.  Although Alaska
courts  broadly  interpret  the  concept  of  standing  to  favor
increased accessibility to judicial forums, a party must  have  a
sufficient  personal stake in the outcome of the controversy   to
have  standing to sue.30  Without an express intent  to  purchase
another vehicle, Weimer has not demonstrated a personal stake  in
injunctive  relief.   There was therefore no  error  in  entering
final judgment on Weimers personal claims.
          2.   Class claims
               
          Weimer  also  argues that even if his  personal  claims
lacked  merit,  he  represented the class  claims  and  therefore
dismissal  of  the class action was error.  Alternatively  Weimer
argues  he  should have been given an opportunity  to  amend  the
complaint  to add or substitute a named plaintiff with  a  viable
UTPA claim.
          A  court may rule on dispositive motions before  ruling
on  class  certification.31  Generally if a court  dismisses  the
plaintiffs   claims   on  a  dispositive  motion   before   class
certification,  the class claim is dismissed as well  because  no
viable  dispute between the parties exists.32  Here the  superior
court   dismissed   the  class  claims  before   deciding   class
certification because Weimer failed to bring an action within the
limitations  period  and thus he had no  viable  claims.   It  is
possible  that  other potential class members have viable  claims
against  Continental, but nothing justifies an exception  to  the
general  rule of dismissal in Weimers case.33  The type of  class
claims asserted here are easily adjudicated by another plaintiff.
          Weimer  also argues the superior court erred by denying
his request to allow him an opportunity to amend the complaint to
include  a  plaintiff  whose claim was not  barred  by  the  UTPA
statute  of  limitations,  relying in part  on  Neese  v.  Lithia
Chrysler  Jeep of Anchorage, Inc.34  In Neese, several plaintiffs
filed a class action alleging UTPA violations against a group  of
auto  dealerships.35  Before certifying the class,  the  superior
court  dismissed  the claims against two of the  dealerships  for
lack  of  standing by any plaintiff.36  It then entered  a  final
judgment  in favor of the two dismissed dealerships under  Alaska
Rule  of Civil Procedure 54(b).37  Soon thereafter the plaintiffs
filed  a  motion to amend their complaint along with  a  proposed
amended  complaint that added class representatives  with  viable
claims  against  the two dismissed dealerships.38   The  superior
court  failed  to  explicitly rule on the motion  to  amend,  but
affirmed  its  entry of final judgment in favor of the  dismissed
dealerships.39
          On  appeal, we concluded the superior court should have
afforded  the  plaintiffs an opportunity to remedy  the  lack  of
standing against the dismissed dealerships before final judgment.40
We  based  our conclusion on the plaintiffs clear intent  to  add
class   representatives  with  standing  against  the   dismissed
dealerships  and the defendants failure to show hardship  or  any
other  valid reason for final judgment.41  We noted the  superior
          court had failed to properly balance the general policy against
piecemeal  appeals  against  the  defendants  reasons  for  final
judgment.42  We therefore held it was an abuse of discretion  for
the court to find that there was no just reason for delay and  to
enter final judgment.43

          Neese  is  distinguishable from Weimers  case.   First,
here  the sole plaintiff, Weimer, failed to assert a viable claim
against  the sole defendant, Continental.44  Second,  because  no
named  plaintiff  or defendant remained after the  court  entered
final  judgment,  Weimers  case does  not  raise  concerns  about
piecemeal appeals.45  Given these fundamental differences,  Neese
does not guide our decision here.
          Alaska  Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) instructs  courts
to grant leave to amend pleadings when justice so requires.46  We
have  interpreted that Rule to set out a balancing test, weighing
the  prejudice  to  the nonmovant against  the  hardship  to  the
movant.47  A court may deny a motion when an amendment is  unduly
delayed, offered in bad faith, or futile.48  Here Weimer had ample
time to find and substitute potential plaintiffs but failed to do
so.  And Weimer suffered no personal hardship from the denial  of
his  request for an opportunity to amend because he had no viable
claims.   We therefore affirm both the superior courts denial  of
Weimers  request for opportunity to amend and the entry of  final
judgment.
     C.   It  Was  Not  Error  To  Award  Continental  Costs  And
          Attorneys Fees.
          The  superior  court  awarded  Continental  $2,000   in
attorneys  fees  under  Alaska Rule of  Civil  Procedure  82  and
approximately $500 in costs under Alaska Rule of Civil  Procedure
79.   Weimer contests both awards, citing Monzingo v. Alaska  Air
Group,  Inc.49 to support his claim that the imposition of  costs
and  attorneys fees is available only when the unsuccessful class
representatives  individual  substantive  claims  are  litigated.
Weimer  contends that awarding costs and attorneys  fees  against
him  was  error  because  a  statute of  limitations  defense  is
procedural, not substantive.  Weimer misconstrues Monzingo.
          The  narrow  issue  in  Monzingo was  whether  a  named
plaintiff  can  be  held  liable for  attorneys  fees  and  costs
incurred  that  have  no  bearing on  the  merits  of  the  named
plaintiffs  lawsuit.50   Specifically,  Monzingo  addressed   the
imposition  of  attorneys fees on the class  representative  when
those fees include extensive class certification preparation that
falls  outside  the  substantive merits of the  named  plaintiffs
case.51  Monzingo held the policies behind Rule 82 did not support
awarding  such  fees,  emphasizing the distinction  between  fees
incurred  in  litigating the merits of the named  plaintiffs  own
claim  and  those  incurred  in  litigating  class  certification
issues.52   The  distinction  lies in  the  plaintiffs  financial
incentive  to  serve as class representative  a plaintiff  has  a
financial  incentive  to pursue his or  her  own  claim,  but  is
unlikely  to risk a greater adverse attorneys fees award  arising
from  class  certification issues involved in  litigating  others
claims.53  Thus when Monzingo referred to the substantive  merits
          of the plaintiffs claim, that term was used to distinguish class
certification issues, which were unrelated to the validity of the
plaintiffs own claim.
          The  superior courts award of costs and attorneys  fees
against   Weimer   was  not  an  abuse  of   discretion.    Class
certification  was  never litigated because  the  superior  court
entered summary judgment on statute of limitations grounds.   The
issues  litigated did not concern class certification  (in  which
Weimer  presumably lacked a financial interest) but focused  only
on  the  viability  of Weimers own claims  (in  which  he  had  a
financial  interest).  Neither the language  of  nor  the  policy
behind  Monzingo supports Weimers argument.  Accordingly, because
Weimer  failed  to  demonstrate the  superior  court  abused  its
discretion   and nothing in the record supports such a conclusion
we  affirm the superior courts award of costs and attorneys  fees
to Continental.
V.   CONCLUSION
     We AFFIRM the superior courts decision in its entirety.
_______________________________
     1     AS  45.50.471(b)(43) states:  The terms unfair methods
of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices include,
but  are  not limited to, the following acts: . . . violating  AS
45.25.400  45.25.590 (motor vehicle dealer practices).

          AS 45.25.400 states in pertinent part:

          (b)  A motor vehicle dealer may use the  term
          manufacturers suggested retail  price,  MSRP,
          or  list  price in an advertisement  for  the
          sale  of  a  motor vehicle,  subject  to  the
          restriction  on  price  comparisons   in   AS
          45.25.450 and the following:
          
          (1)  the advertised price must reference  the
          final price listed by the manufacturer on the
          monroney  sticker, including accessories  and
          options physically attached to the vehicle at
          the  time of delivery to the dealer, plus any
          transportation   charges,   and   minus   all
          manufacturer discounts and savings;
          
          (2)  the manufacturers suggested retail price
          or  the  list price does not include  charges
          added  by the dealer or options added to  the
          vehicle by the dealer; and
          
          (3)  whenever  using  the term  manufacturers
          suggested retail price, MSRP, or list  price,
          the  dealer  may not represent that  a  buyer
          would  save money by paying a price  that  is
          lower than the manufacturers suggested retail
          price, MSRP, or list price.
          
     2    AS 45.50.471(b)(11) and (12) state:

          (b)  The  terms unfair methods of competition
          and  unfair  or deceptive acts  or  practices
          include,   but  are  not  limited   to,   the
          following acts:
          
          . . . .

          (11) engaging in any other conduct creating a
          likelihood     of     confusion     or     of
          misunderstanding and which misleads, deceives
          or   damages  a  buyer  or  a  competitor  in
          connection with the sale or advertisement  of
          goods or services;
          
          (12)  using  or  employing deception,  fraud,
          false      pretense,      false      promise,
          misrepresentation,  or knowingly  concealing,
          suppressing, or omitting a material fact with
          intent that others rely upon the concealment,
          suppression,  or omission in connection  with
          the   sale  or  advertisement  of  goods   or
          services whether or not a person has in  fact
          been misled, deceived or damaged.
          
     3    See Alaska R. Civ. P. 12(b) (providing that a motion to
dismiss  for  failure to state a claim upon which relief  can  be
granted shall be treated as one for summary judgment when matters
outside  the  pleading are presented to and not excluded  by  the
court).

     4    952 P.2d 1173, 1179-80 (Alaska 1998).

     5     See  Alaska R. Civ. P. 56(c); Preblich v.  Zorea,  996
P.2d 730, 733 (Alaska 2000).

     6     Brannon  v. Contl Cas. Co., 137 P.3d 280, 284  (Alaska
2006)  (citing Morgan v. Fortis Benefits Ins. Co., 107 P.3d  267,
269 (Alaska 2005)).

     7     Smallwood v. Cent. Peninsula Gen. Hosp., 151 P.3d 319,
322-23 (Alaska 2006) (citing Sengupta v. Wickwire, 124 P.3d  748,
752  (Alaska 2005)); Alakayak v. B.C. Packers, Ltd., 48 P.3d 432,
448  (Alaska  2002)  (citing  Gossman  v.  Greatland  Directional
Drilling, Inc., 973 P.2d 93, 95 (Alaska 1999)); Brannon, 137 P.3d
at  284 (citing Alderman v. Iditarod Props., Inc. (Alderman  II),
104 P.3d 136, 140 (Alaska 2004)).

     8     Amoco Chem. Co., 952 P.2d at 1176 (citing D.D. v. Ins.
Co. of N.A., 905 P.2d 1365, 1367 n.3 (Alaska 1995)).

     9    Catholic Bishop of N. Alaska v. Does 1-6, 141 P.3d 719,
725  (Alaska 2006) (citing Johns Heating Serv. v. Lamb,  46  P.3d
1024, 1031 (Alaska 2002)); Smallwood, 151 P.3d at 323.

     10    Cf. Alderman v. Iditarod Props., Inc. (Alderman I), 32
P.3d  373,  380 (Alaska 2001) (citing Betz v. Chena  Hot  Springs
Group, 742 P.2d 1346, 1348 (Alaska 1987)) (reviewing decision  to
permit amendment of the pleadings for an abuse of discretion).

     11     Monzingo v. Alaska Air Group, Inc., 112 P.3d 655, 659
(Alaska  2005) (citing McNett v. Alyeska Pipeline Serv. Co.,  856
P.2d 1165, 1167 (Alaska 1993)).

     12     Id.  (quoting Hughes v. Foster Wheeler Co., 932  P.2d
784, 793 (Alaska 1997)).

     13    Glamann v. Kirk, 29 P.3d 255, 259 (Alaska 2001) (citing
Philbin v. Matanuska-Susitna Borough, 991 P.2d 1263, 1266 (Alaska
1999)).

     14    AS 45.50.531(f).

     15    Amoco Chem. Co., 952 P.2d at 1178 (citing Muller v. BP
Exploration (Alaska) Inc., 923 P.2d 783, 787 (Alaska 1996)).

     16    Id.  (quoting Tesoro Alaska Petroleum Co. v. Kenai Pipe
Line Co., 746 P.2d 896, 905 (Alaska 1987)).

     17     The  legislative  history  mentions  the  statute  of
limitations  only  cursorily.  See Senate Bill  (S.B.)  352,  6th
Leg.,  2d  Sess., (June 6, 1970) (noting addition  of  reasonably
should have discovered clause to AS 45.50.531(f)).  Although  not
conclusive,  the  lack of comment implies  the  UTPA  statute  of
limitations  merely  adopts Alaskas common  law  discovery  rule,
tolling  the  limitations  period  until  the  plaintiff  is,  or
reasonably  should  be, aware of the elements  of  the  cause  of
action.  See, e.g., Amoco Chem. Co., 952 P.2d at 1178 n.8 (citing
Cameron v. State, 822 P.2d 1362, 1366 (Alaska 1991)) (stating the
common  law  discovery rule delays accrual of a cause of  action,
and  therefore the running of the pertinent limitations  statute,
until  the plaintiff is aware of or is deemed to be aware of  all
elements of the cause of action).

     18    AS 45.50.531(f).

     19     See  Websters Third New International Dictionary  26,
1555  (2002)  (defining  adjectival as  of  or  belonging  to  an
adjective; functioning as an adjective; adjective (~ phrase)  and
object   as   a  noun  or  noun  equivalent  denoting   in   verb
constructions that on or toward which the action  of  a  verb  is
directed  either  actually  or as conceived  .  .  .  and  either
immediately . . . or less immediately.).

     20    2A Norman J. Singer, Statutes & Statutory Construction,
47.33 (6th ed. 2000); see also Twenty-Eight (28) Members of  Oil,
Chem.  & Atomic Workers Union, Local # 1-1978 v. Employment  Sec.
Div. of Alaska Dept of Labor, 659 P.2d 583, 588 n.4 (Alaska 1983)
(recognizing the last antecedent rule to state[] that a  limiting
clause  in  a statute is generally to be restrained to  the  last
antecedent).

     21     Singer,  note  20,  above (internal  quotation  marks
omitted).

     22    AS 45.50.531(f).

     23    Amoco Chem. Co., 952 P.2d at 1175-76.

     24    Id. at 1177-80.

     25     Id.  at  1177  (quoting  AS  09.10.120(a))  (emphasis
omitted).

     26    Id. at 1179.

     27    Id. at 1180-81.

     28    Id.

     29     AS 09.10.120(a) applies to [a]n action brought in the
name   of  or  for  the  benefit  of  the  state,  any  political
subdivision, or public corporation.

     30     Mat-Su Valley Med. Ctr., LLC v. Advanced Pain Ctrs. of
Alaska,  Inc.,  218  P.3d  698, 704 n.24 (Alaska  2009)  (quoting
Keller  v.  French, 205 P.3d 299, 304 (Alaska  2009)  and  citing
Moore v. State, 553 P.2d 8, 23 (Alaska 1976)).

     31     See Neese v. Lithia Chrysler Jeep of Anchorage, Inc.,
210  P.3d 1213, 1221-22 (Alaska 2009) (addressing standing before
class  certification);  Gold Bondholders  Protective  Council  v.
Atchison,  Topeka & Santa Fe Ry. Co., 649 P.2d 947,  951  (Alaska
1982) (addressing motion to dismiss before class certification).

     32     See  Gold  Bondholders, 649  P.2d  at  951  (granting
defendants   motion   to   dismiss   before   considering   class
certification); see also Bertrand ex rel. Bertrand v. Maram,  495
F.3d  452, 455 (7th Cir. 2007) ([I]f the would-be representatives
claim  becomes moot before certification, then the case  must  be
dismissed . . . unless someone else intervenes to carry on as the
representative.) (internal citation omitted).

     33    See Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103, 110-11 n.11 (1975)
(explaining that when a class claim is capable of repetition, yet
evading  review the termination of a class representatives  claim
does  not  moot the claims of the unnamed members of the  class).
The  UTPAs statute of limitations  two years  provides sufficient
time  for a plaintiff who alleges an injury like Weimers to  file
suit.   There also is no indication Continentals summary judgment
efforts were meant to inappropriately frustrate the class action.
See  Bertrand, 495 F.3d at 456 (recognizing another exception  to
dismissal when the defendants behavior prevents effectual  relief
to a larger class of victims).

     34    210 P.3d at 1223-25.

     35    Id. at 1215-16.

     36    Id. at 1216-17.

     37    Id. at 1217.

     38    Id. at 1222.

     39    Id.

     40    Id. at 1222-25.

     41    Id. at 1225.

     42    Id. at 1224.

     43    Id. at 1225.

     44    Alaska R. Civ. P. 54(b) states in pertinent part:

          When  more  than  one  claim  for  relief  is
          presented  in  an  action,  .  .  .  or  when
          multiple parties are involved, the court  may
          direct  the entry of a final judgment  as  to
          one  or more but fewer than all of the claims
          or parties only upon an express determination
          that  there is no just reason for  delay  and
          upon  an  express direction for the entry  of
          judgment.
          
     45    See Neese, 210 P.3d at 1223 (citing Cole v. State Farm
Ins.  Co., 128 P.3d 171, 173 n.2 (Alaska 2006)) (emphasizing that
partial  final judgments deserve careful appellate review because
of the laws fundamental aversion to piecemeal appeals).

     46    Alaska R. Civ. P. 15(a).

     47    Betz, 742 P.2d at 1348 (quoting Shooshanian v. Wagner,
672 P.2d 455, 458 (Alaska 1983)).

     48     Alderman I, 32 P.3d at 395 (citing Betz, 742 P.2d  at
1348).

     49    112 P.3d 655, 665, 668 (Alaska 2005).

     50    Id. at 665.

     51    Id. at 665-66.

     52    See id. at 667-68.

     53    See id. at 667.

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