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Griaznov v. J-K Technologies, LLC

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 11, 2018

KONSTANTIN GRIAZNOV, Plaintiff/Counterclaim Defendant,
v.
J-K TECHNOLOGIES, LLC, Defendant/Counterclaim Plaintiff.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ELLEN LIPTON HOLLANDER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This case is rooted in a contract to bring a 2012 McLaren MP4-12C (the “Vehicle”)[1] into compliance with government regulations regarding safety and emissions. The parties dispute, inter alia, whether money is due and owing under the contract.

         Plaintiff Konstantin Griaznov is the owner of the Vehicle, valued in excess of $278, 000. See ECF 1 (“Complaint”); ECF 34 (“Amended Complaint”), ¶¶ 1, 7. In July 2013, Griaznov imported the Vehicle into the United States, without knowledge that the Vehicle was ineligible for importation. Id. ¶¶ 13, 14. Pursuant to a “Compliance and Conversion Agreement” between plaintiff and defendant, J.K. Technologies, LLC (“J.K.”), [2] J.K. agreed, inter alia, to provide compliance and automotive services for the purpose of satisfying required safety standards promulgated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) and mandatory emissions standards promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”). ECF 55-1 (the “Agreement”). Plaintiff paid a deposit of about $20, 500 to J.K. in October 2013 for the “conversion” of the Vehicle. ECF 45-1 at 9; ECF 45-2, ¶¶ 22, 51; ECF 55-1.[3]

         Plaintiff asserts that on numerus occasions, he sought to cancel the Agreement, as permitted under its terms, and asked J.K. to export the Vehicle. ECF 4, ¶¶ 28, 30. But, J.K. refused to export the Vehicle. Id. ¶ 30. After J.K. completed much of the work, Griaznov terminated the Agreement and refused to pay J.K. for services rendered. Therefore, J.K. has retained possession of the Vehicle.

         Accordingly, Griaznov filed suit against J.K. He asserts claims of replevin, trespass to chattels, trover and conversion, breach of contract, and violation of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act (“CPA”), Md. Code (2013 Repl. Vol., 2017 Supp.), §§ 13-101 et seq. of the Commercial Law Article (“C.L.”), which bars “unfair or deceptive trade practices.” C.L. § 13-301; see ECF 34. Additionally, claiming that J.K. wrongfully possesses the Vehicle, Griaznov asks the Court to declare that J.K. cannot retain the Vehicle under C.L. § 16-202(c)(1) (the Maryland “Garageman's Lien Statute”). According to plaintiff, C.L. § 16-202(c)(1) is preempted by the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, as amended by the Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act of 1988, 49 U.S.C. §§ 30101 et seq. (collectively, the “Safety Act”). Further, Griaznov seeks to enjoin J.K. from “using, altering, damaging, destroying, or selling the Vehicle, ” and he seeks an injunction requiring J.K. to “restore the Vehicle to its original condition . . . .” ECF 34 at 7-8.

         J.K. has filed a Counterclaim (ECF 7), alleging breach of contract, and seeking compensatory damages for research, labor, parts, and storage costs incurred by J.K. in connection with the conversion. Id. at 11-12, ¶¶ 13-24. According to J.K., on August 12, 2016, it completed the conversion of the Vehicle to meet DOT standards, and on August 30, 2016, it completed the conversion to meet EPA standards. Id. ¶¶ 20-21. It maintains that it is entitled to recover $177, 412.82 on its counterclaim (ECF 45-1 at 4), [4] as well as attorneys' fees, interest, and costs, pursuant to ¶ 18 of the Agreement. ECF 7 at 12; see also ECF 55-1, ¶ 18.

         J.K. has moved for summary judgment as to Griaznov's Amended Complaint and as to its Counterclaim (ECF 45), supported by a memorandum of law (ECF 45-1) (collectively, the “Motion”) and several exhibits. See ECF 45-2 through ECF 45-5. Griaznov opposes the Motion.[5] See ECF 54 (“Opposition”).[6] J.K. has replied. See ECF 55 (“Reply”).

         No hearing is necessary to resolve the Motion. See Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons that follow, I shall grant the Motion, in part.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Plaintiff is a citizen of Russia. ECF 34, ¶ 1. He resides in Florida. Id.

         J.K. is a Registered Importer (“RI”) with DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. ECF 45-2, ¶ 5. J.K. is also an Independent Commercial Importer (“ICI”), as recognized by the EPA. Id. ¶ 6. J.K. has two members: Lois Joyeusaz and Jonathan Weisheit. Id. ¶¶ 2, 4. In an Affidavit of Weisheit (ECF 45-2), submitted with the Motion, he avers that J.K. “is not now and has never been an automotive repair facility.” Id. ¶ 8. Rather, J.K. specializes in the conversion of foreign manufactured automobiles to comply with DOT and EPA standards, thereby allowing those vehicles to be imported into the United States. Id. ¶ 7.

         Weisheit is the Lead Project Engineer at J.K. (id. ¶ 4) and he “was responsible for the conversion of the Vehicle.” Id. ¶ 11. In that role, he personally worked on the Vehicle “to determine what modifications needed to be made to . . . make it eligible for importation into the United States.” Id.; see also Id. ¶ 4. His work “included, among other things, obtaining proper programming codes and working directly with DOT and EPA in order to modify the Vehicle's computer, emissions, and safety systems.” Id. ¶ 11.

         DOT maintains “a registry, ” also known as the “eligibility list for importation” (hereinafter, the “Eligibility List”), which contains the “make, model and year of a vehicle that is determined by DOT to be eligible for importation” into the United States. ECF 45-2, ¶ 21. If a vehicle is not on the Eligibility List, it may not be imported. Id. However, an RI can place a foreign manufactured vehicle on the Eligibility List by, inter alia, filing a “Petition for Import Eligibility, ” which DOT must then approve. Id. To file such a petition, the RI must “set forth specific alterations and/or modifications that, ” if made, “will bring the petition vehicle into compliance with DOT safety standards.” Id.

         According to Weisheit, in 2011 “Euro Tuning Hall, a fictitious entity, ” purchased the Vehicle from Gemballa Europe for 209, 000.00 Euros. See ECF 45-1 at 4; ECF 45-2, ¶ 12.[7] On an unspecified date, the Vehicle was shipped to the United States “without Griaznov ever ascertaining” if it complied with DOT and EPA standards. ECF 45-2, ¶ 12. Because Euro Tuning Hall “was not in existence and did not have a VAT number or a Tax ID number, ” ownership of the Vehicle was “changed from Euro Tuning Hall to Konstantin Griaznov to enter the United States.” Id.

         In “early July 2013, ” Griaznov's agent, Eugene Karr, contacted J.K. ECF 45-2, ¶ 13. According to Weisheit, Karr stated that Griaznov “had purchased the Vehicle in Germany and that the Vehicle was stuck in U.S. Customs in Miami and would need to be shipped back to Germany unless he could find an RI or ICI that would agree to perform the necessary conversion work.” Id. Karr also indicated that he and Griaznov had “already spoken to . . . DOT, EPA, the manufacturer of the Vehicle (McLaren), and Gemballa, ” and Karr and Griaznov were aware that the “Vehicle was not approved by DOT” and was “not on the import eligibility list.” Id.

         Karr stated that “McLaren was going to assist in the petition process.” ECF 45-2, ¶ 13. According to Weisheit, “[t]his was important because if . . . McLaren could provide Mr. Karr with a manufacturer's letter with a listing of the parts required to convert the Vehicle for EPA and DOT, the petition process would only take a few months, J.K.'s . . . work would be reduced in scope, and the EPA testing would be waived.” Id.

         On July 9, 2013, J.K. provided Griaznov with a financial estimate for the conversion. ECF 45-2, ¶ 15; see also ECF 45-3 (J.K.'s undated quote to Griaznov) (hereinafter, the “Quote”). The Quote states, in relevant part, ECF 45-3 at 1-2 (bold in original; italics added):

Estimate: $12, 000.00-$18, 000.00 plus any safety systems parts that are not in compliance with USDOT Standards, provided the vehicle has a functioning emissions system . . . [and no] additional emissions systems parts and testing will be necessary. In addition USEPA requires a 1% Fee based on the declared value of the vehicle. U.S. Customs charges 2.5% duty, and U.S. Customs and USDOT have bonds that cost approximately 1% that must be paid upon entry into the USA.
. . . . [T]his estimate is only valid for two months. The estimate is designed to give you an idea of the cost of conversion depending on how the car is equipped and its condition upon arrival in our facility. If the car is not equipped correctly or is in poor condition, there could be additional charges. There could also be additional charges if the car is not on the NHTSA eligibility list. Their website is www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/import and contains valuable information regarding import procedures and links to other Agencies.
* * *
After the car arrives at our facility, we will do all of the necessary modifications to bring it into conformity with DOT and EPA regulations. This generally takes an average of 90-120 days. If the car is not equipped correctly . . ., is in poor condition, AND/OR is not on the DOT eligibility list . . ., there could be additional charges and additional time for your car to be released from DOT and EPA. These times range from several months to over a year if there is a fight with a manufacturer.
* * *
If the car is not emissions equipped, we replace all non-conforming parts with U.S. parts and there will be substantial extra charges and additional time.
* * *
We require a deposit of the base price plus agency fees with execution of the contract and the balance will be due upon receipt of parts for the vehicle or as billed to us by each supplier. This final payment must be in the form of a wire, ACH, or cashier's check . . . .

         Also on July 9, 2013, J.K. informed Karr that certain documents were “required to obtain a Box 13 letter” from DOT. ECF 45-2, ¶ 14. According to Weisheit, a “Box 13 letter gives special permission for a vehicle that is not on the DOT eligibility list to enter the United States.” Id. On July 11, 2013, J.K. requested a Box 13 letter for the Vehicle. Id.

         J.K. and Griaznov executed the Agreement on or about July 12, 2013. ECF 45-2, ¶ 16; see ECF 55-1. In the Agreement (ECF 55-1), Griaznov is designated as the “Importer” and J.K. is the RI. See ECF 55-1 at 2. According to plaintiff, the Agreement provided “an estimated base cost of $18, 000.00 for the conversion” plus a flat fee of $2, 500 for the petition for eligibility. ECF 34, ¶ 10. Yet, plaintiff also asserts he had to pay a deposit of $18, 000. Id. ¶ 11.[8]The Agreement states, in part, ECF 55-1 at 2-6 (bold in original; italics added):

         RECITALS

         A. Importer wishes to import the following vehicle:

2011 McLaren MP4-12C
VIN: SBM11AAB7CW000416 “The Vehicle”
* * *
D. The Importer is required to furnish to the Department of Transportation (DOT) a signed and executed agreement between Importer and Registered Importer (RI). This contract must commit the RI to conduct the conformance modifications required under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act, and regulations adopted under it, and other safety related acts and regulations.
* * *
F. The Importer understands that USEPA, U.S. Customs, and USDOT require a U.S. Customs bond and a DOT bond for the vehicle to clear U.S. Customs and conditionally enter into the RI/ICI facility. . . .
G. The Importer wishes to contract with J.K. for conversion and compliance work on the vehicle specified above.
* * *
2 ..... If there are any outstanding fees unpaid for U.S. Customs or any other Agency at the time of importation that J.K. has to pay on the importer's behalf, interest will accrue at one point eight percent (1.8%) per month until the amount is reimbursed. In addition, storage of twenty five dollars ($25.00) per day will be charged until all unpaid balances are satisfied.
3. J.K.'s work shall be deemed to be complete on the date DOT and USEPA hold periods have expired, provided the Agencies have not issued any request to delay the period. Importer understands that J.K. cannot make any guarantees regarding the time it takes to receive parts from a manufacturer, convert a vehicle, or obtain appropriate clearances from DOT and/or EPA.Further, the importer understands that the Agencies can, at any time, request further research, testing or other information, which could delay the importation process. J.K. is in no way responsible for Agency response times, performance, or requests for additional information, which may cause delays. This is especially true for vehicles that are not already on the eligibility list. For vehicles requiring a petition for a determination by the DOT that the vehicle is eligible for import, JK [sic] cannot guarantee the time frame for approval of a petition or guarantee the DOT will approve the petition and grant an eligibility determination. If DOT rejects the petition, or the Importer decides it is too expensive to continue, and has the RI rescind the petition, the vehicle must be exported or destroyed.
4 ..... Importer hereby waives any and all rights to possession of the vehicle until DOT and USEPA's hold periods have expired. Importer further understands that until this time period has elapsed, J.K. will only release the vehicle into the custody of U.S. Customs.
5. J.K. reserves the right to submit an invoice for its services to Importer every thirty (30) days during the term of this Agreement. Invoices may be farther apart if parts are not received by J.K. and cannot be billed during this time frame. Should Importer fail to pay J.K. within ten (10) days after the date of J.K.'s invoice, J.K. reserves the right to charge storage fees for the vehicle of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per day until any outstanding invoices are paid.
* * *
7. J.K. estimates that the cost for conversion of Importer's vehicle is $18, 000.00 PLUS any emissions system parts, safety system parts, labor, research and development, and any testing necessary to bring the vehicle into conformity with USEPA and DOT specification . . . . This estimate is our best guess without seeing the vehicle and may be updated . . . .
8. If the vehicle arrives at J.K. in poor condition, declared incorrectly, is not on the DOT eligibility list, or DOT Show or Display eligibility list, or does not have a functioning emissions system based on the Importer's representations, there may be extra charges. . . . The Importer understands that all estimates are based specifically on the representations of the owner. JK [sic] has not seen the vehicle or had the ability to inspect the vehicle prior to providing a quote. JK [sic] recommends checking with the manufacturer directly before making any assumptions regarding required components.
9. Should this vehicle be subject to any Factory recalls for a period of ten (10) years, as required by the DOT or USEPA, the owner shall provide proof that the work required has been completed in a manner acceptable by the DOT and USEPA or shall authorize J.K. to perform the required work or authorize J.K. to have such work performed by another company. The preceding work [is] to be completed at the owner's expense. . . .
10. Final payment must be made in cash, wire transfer, or cashier's check.
11. Importer understands that if the vehicle is not picked up within ten (10) days of notice, storage fees will apply at twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per day from day of completion. Importer understands that after thirty (30) days the vehicle will be forwarded to National Lien and Recovery for liquidation in order to pay the mechanics lien on the vehicle for work completed.
* * *
14. If the vehicle imported by Importer is not on the DOT Eligibility List, as published on the DOT's website and in the Federal Register, the Importer agrees to pay J.K. to place the vehicle on the Eligibility [List] as well as a daily storage fee of twenty five dollars ($25.00) per day, until the vehicle is placed on the Eligibility List.
15. Either party shall have the right to terminate this Agreement for any reason upon thirty (30) days of notice to the other party. If Importer terminates this Agreement prior to J.K.'s completion of its work, Importer agrees to pay J.K. a storage fee of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per day until the vehicle is removed from J.K.'s custody and control, together with all other costs and expenses incurred by J.K.
* * *
17. Importer consents to jurisdiction and venue in the state and federal courts sitting in the State of Maryland.
18. If J.K. employs attorneys to enforce any rights arising out of or relating to this Agreement, and J.K. prevails in any action brought by its attorneys, Importer shall pay J.K.'s reasonable attorneys' fees, costs and other expenses.
* * *
19. This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Maryland.9
20. Limitation of Damages. In the event of a dispute, Importer consents to limit the damages it may obtain from JK [sic] through any cause of action including J.K.'s negligence, breach of contract, breach of warranty, or violation of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act to no more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2, 500) inclusive of attorney's fees and costs.

         J.K. posted bond with U.S. Customs on July 25, 2013, and took possession of the Vehicle. ECF 45-2, ¶ 17. On July 26, 2013, J.K. provided Karr with a “Condition Report, ” detailing the “relevant operating systems on the Vehicle and checking the engine compartment and trunk.” Id. ¶ 19.

         Weisheit, Griaznov, and Karr met “for several hours” on August 7, 2013. Id. ¶ 20. During that meeting, they discussed “research” necessary to convert the Vehicle. Id. Additionally, Griaznov and Karr indicated that they “were working on getting” support from McLaren and Gemballa to help facilitate the conversion. Id.

         On August 8, 2013, J.K. began to prepare a DOT Petition for Import Eligibility (the “Petition”) for the Vehicle. Id. ¶ 21. According to Weisheit, the Petition contained a detailed plan for conversion, addressing “every Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, ” including “part numbers and drawings.” Id. Between July 28, 2013, and August 8, 2013, J.K. “devoted hundreds of hours completing the Petition, including the investigation of each [safety standard] applicable to the Vehicle . . ., research and development for [the] Vehicle's on-board diagnostic system and other tasks, communicating with the shipping company, Griaznov's agents, customs brokers and DOT personnel, locating diagnostic tools, as well as coordination of the logistics, contracts and other submissions. J.K. even took apart several existing automobiles to investigate their computers and hardware.” ECF 45-2, ¶ 21. Additionally, “J.K. downloaded and printed parts lists, [and] parts diagrams . . . .” Id. ¶ 22.

         Weisheit avers that he emailed and spoke with Karr on a regular basis, giving Karr “a detailed status update at least once or twice a week.” Id. He claims that Karr “was very active in the Petition process.” Id. According to Weisheit, by the end of September 2013, Griaznov had not paid an initial deposit to J.K. Id. J.K “told Mr. Karr that it would not be filing the Petition until the deposit was paid.” Id. On October 9, 2013, Griaznov paid J.K. a deposit of $20, 500.00. Id. ¶¶ 22, 51.

         J.K. filed the Petition with DOT on October 25, 2013. Id. ¶ 23. And, on November 12, 2013, J.K. provided a “copy of the complete Petition” to Karr, which included “a complete description of the anticipated conversion work including all parts numbers and complete drawings.” Id.

         On December 3, 2013, J.K. received a letter from DOT, requesting revisions to the Petition. Id. ¶ 24. Therefore, J.K. revised the Petition and resubmitted it to DOT on December 10, 2013, to include additional parts and drawings. Id. The Petition was again revised on January 30, 2014, to correct an error made by DOT as to the year the Vehicle was manufactured. Id. ¶ 25.

         On February 27, 2014, J.K. sent Karr a copy of “the accepted Petition along with pictures, receipts, part numbers, and diagrams detailing the complete conversion of the Vehicle.” ECF 45-2, ¶ 26. And, on March 3, 2014, a copy of the accepted Petition was published on the Federal Register Docket, under number NHTSA-2014-0004. Id. The following day, March 4, 2014, J.K. emailed Karr, informing him that the Petition was available on the Federal Register Docket. ECF 45-2, ¶ 26. On that same day, J.K. provided Karr with “a link to the complete Petition including part numbers and drawings.” Id.

         Kenneth Weinstein, a McLaren employee, “submitted comments” on the Petition on March 27, 2014, “in an attempt to block approval” by DOT. Id. ¶ 27. On April 15, 2014, McLaren filed comments with DOT, taking “the position that the conversion [of the Vehicle] would not be possible.” Id. Between May 21, 2014, and July 29, 2014, “J.K.'s staff spent over 150 hours preparing a response to McLaren's comments.” Id. ¶ 28. Weisheit asserts, id.: “Because Griaznov and his agents were not able to get the assistance of Gemballa and McLaren as they promised (and McLaren was, in fact, opposing the Petition), J.K. was forced to spend considerable time and resources to obtain information to be able to respond to McLaren's comments.” J.K. responded to McLaren's comments on July 29, 2014. Id.

         Then, on August 10, 2014, Karr informed J.K. that Neil Bender “was now the legal representative for Griaznov.” Id. ¶ 29. However, Karr remained a representative for Griaznov after that date. See Id. ¶ 31.

         Bender emailed J.K. on August 18, 2014, and “purportedly cancelled the [Agreement] and demanded that J.K. export the Vehicle.” Id. ¶ 29. According to Weisheit, in order to “comply with this demand, J.K. began re-assembling the Vehicle in preparation for exporting it.” Id. Additionally, J.K. explained to Bender and Karr that “J.K. has spent considerable hours in research and development on the [Vehicle and] that J.K. must to be [sic] paid for this time, as well as for the time it would take to re-assemble the Vehicle for exporting.” ECF 45-2, ¶ 29. Weisheit avers that “Mr. Bender and Mr. Karr acknowledged this and instead requested that J.K. continue with the Petition comment process and conversion of the Vehicle.” Id.

         On November 19, 2014, DOT published J.K.'s response to McLaren's comments. ECF 45-2, ¶ 30. Then, in January 2015, Karr again “reversed course” and told J.K. that Griaznov wanted to “export the Vehicle.” Id. ¶ 31. At that juncture, Karr acknowledged “Griaznov's contractual obligation to pay for all of the research and development conducted to date, as well as the agency fees and storage.” Id. However, “[a]fter further consideration, ” Griaznov “again requested that J.K. continue with the Petition and conversion processes.” Id.

         On March 26, 2015, DOT concluded that the Vehicle was “readily able to be modified” so as to satisfy DOT standards. Id. ¶ 32. And, on April 3, 2015, the Vehicle was added to the Eligibility List. Id. Karr notified J.K. that he “wanted to obtain the parts on his own to complete the conversion of the Vehicle.” Id. ¶ 34. Weisheit avers that “from the beginning, J.K. was relying on Plaintiff and Mr. Karr's representations that they would be able to procure the parts from the manufacturers, ” i.e., McLaren and/or Gemballa. Id. Despite Karr's “assurances that he had connections with McLaren and Gemballa, Mr. Karr was unable to get the parts for the Vehicle. Indeed, McLaren refused to sell the necessary parts to anyone, including J.K.” Id. As a result, “J.K. was forced to spend significant time and resources tracking down and obtaining the parts necessary for the conversion of the Vehicle.” Id. ¶ 35. J.K. employees Reinaldo Benjumea and Joyeusaz flew to California “to source, inspect, and purchase several parts required for the conversion.” Id. ¶ 36. In all, J.K. “spent over 100 hours in its efforts to obtain the parts necessary for the conversion of the Vehicle.” Id. ¶ 35.

         Ultimately, J.K. purchased multiple parts. ECF 45-2, ¶¶ 35-37. Further, J.K. rewired “the entire vehicle with compliant systems.” Id. ¶ 37.

         On May 15, 2015, “J.K. sent Mr. Karr a list of the parts sourced by J.K. to complete the conversion. The list included the prices of those parts.” Id. ¶ 38. Thereafter, on an unspecified date, Karr “demand[ed] the Vehicle be exported out of the United States without paying J.K. for the services J.K. provided.” Id. ¶ 39. Weisheit avers, id. ¶ 40: “Because the Vehicle was in this country on J.K.'s bond, and was the only security that J.K. had to ensure payment, J.K. was not willing to export the Vehicle out of the United States without first receiving all amounts due under the Contract.” Additionally, Weisheit avers that, “[p]rior to the Vehicle being converted to meet United States standards, it was considered contraband and could not be sold, offered for sale, or even driven” in the United States. Id.

         J.K. sent an invoice to Griaznov on June 30, 2015. ECF 45-5 at 4-5 (Invoice # 1965, dated June 30, 2015). The invoice listed parts in the amount of $29, 919.87, labor in the amount of $8, 100.00, and storage fees in the amount of $3, 050.00, for a total sum of $41, 069.87. See id.; see also ECF 45-2, ¶ 41. According to Weisheit, Griaznov “refused to pay this invoice so the vehicle remained in J.K.'s facility.” ECF 45-2, ¶ 41. However, because J.K. was “obligated by the EPA and DOT rules and regulations, the bond, and the terms of the [Agreement], J.K. completed the conversion of the Vehicle, ” despite Griaznov's failure to pay. Id. ¶ 42.

         After J.K. completed the conversion of the Vehicle, it “was required . . . to have the manufacturer of the Vehicle (McLaren) remedy any recalls.” Id. ¶ 43; see ECF 55-1, ¶ 9. Accordingly, on June 14, 2016, J.K. sent the Vehicle to a McLaren facility, where “multiple factory recalls” were performed. ECF 45-2, ¶ 43. According to Weisheit, McLaren also “serviced and inspected” the Vehicle. Id.

         On June 20, 2016, J.K. provided DOT with the “final report detailing and documenting the conversion” of the Vehicle. ECF 45-2, ¶ 44. And, DOT released the bond on the Vehicle on August 12, 2016. Id. ¶ 45. On August 15, 2016, J.K. paid the EPA fees for the Vehicle, in the amount of $2, 785.97. Id. ¶ 46. And, on August 30, 2016, J.K. “made the final submission for inspection to the EPA.” Id. ¶ 47. Subsequently, the bonds that J.K. had posted with the EPA and U.S. Customs were released. Id. Therefore, the Vehicle is “able to be released into the commerce of the United States . . . .” Id. ¶ 48. According to J.K., the conversion has increased the value of the vehicle. Id.

         J.K. filed the Motion on October 3, 2017. See ECF 45. According to Weisheit, as of September 30, 2017, $177, 412.82 remained due and owing to J.K. from Griaznov. ECF 45-2, ¶ 52. That amount includes, id.:

• Regulatory customs bond, title, and inspection fees in the amount of $17, 989.44.
• Costs and expenses related to the Petition comment and approval process in the amount of $1, 945.00.
• Research and development costs in the amount of $55, 703.25.
• Travel expenses related to the procurement of conversion parts in the ...

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