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WEINER v. BANK OF KING OF PRUSSIA

May 1, 1973

Joseph Weiner, Individually and On Behalf of All Members of a Class of Borrowers Similarly Situated
v.
Bank of King of Prussia, Bank & Trust Co. of Old York Road, The Bryn Mawr Trust Co., Bucks County Bank & Trust Co., Central Penn National Bank, Cheltenham National Bank, The Citizens Bank, Continental Bank, Downingtown National Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Pennsylvania Bank, Frankford Trust Co., Girard Bank, Industrial Valley Bank & Trust Co., Lincoln Bank, Marian Bank, Philadelphia National Bank, Provident National Bank, Southeast National Bank of Penna., and Union National Bank & Trust Co.


Newcomer, District Judge


The opinion of the court was delivered by: NEWCOMER

NEWCOMER, DISTRICT JUDGE:

 Presently before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint in the above captioned action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b) on the ground that the plaintiff lacks standing to maintain his action. The Motion has been submitted by all defendants except Central Penn National Bank.

 The plaintiff has brought this action against twenty (20) named banks, including seven (7) national banks and thirteen (13) state banks, and against a class of defendants said to consist of all other national banks within the Court's jurisdiction. The plaintiff alleges that he is a customer and borrower of only one (1) bank, i.e. Central Penn National Bank. However, he claims to sue on behalf of a class of "customers and/or borrowers of national banks in this District."

 Nowhere in his Amended Complaint (hereinafter referred to as "Complaint"), does the plaintiff allege how he borrowed from the defendant, Central Penn National Bank; nor does he allege at what rate of interest he borrowed these funds; nor does he allege that his loans come within those statutory categories for which interest rates are fixed by law. All that the plaintiff asserts is that at some point in time he borrowed some money from a Philadelphia bank. Furthermore, the plaintiff has erroneously assumed that two of the statutes upon which he relies, the National Bank Act, 12 U.S.C. § 85 (Count I) and the state laws regulating interest (Count II), are uniformly applicable to all twenty defendant banks. The averments in Counts I and II are wrong on their face since thirteen of the named defendants are state chartered banks, not subject in any way to the duties imposed by the National Bank Act. The National Bank Act, 12 U.S.C. § 21 et seq., regulates national banks and only national banks, which can be identified by the word "national" in their name. 12 U.S.C. § 22. Furthermore, seven of the banks are national banks not subject to state laws regulating interest. Farmers' and Mechanics' National Bank v. Dearing, 91 U.S. 29, 23 L. Ed. 196 (1875); Schuyler National Bank v. Gadsden, 191 U.S. 451, 48 L. Ed. 258, 24 S. Ct. 129 (1903); Haseltine v. Central National Bank of Springfield, 183 U.S. 132, 46 L. Ed. 118, 22 S. Ct. 50 (1901).

 Nonetheless, the plaintiff alleges that all the defendants have violated the following federal and state laws regulating the calculation and disclosure of interest rates on loans to individuals:

 (a) The National Bank Act, 12 U.S.C. § 21 et seq., which defines the maximum interest rate that can be charged on loans by National banks (Count I);

 (b) The laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania which regulate the interest rates that can be charged by state banks (Count II);

 (c) Unspecified "common law" (Count III); and

 (d) The Truth-in-Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq., which requires creditors to disclose information concerning finance charges in consumer credit transactions (Count IV). The plaintiff seeks fines and penalties imposed for violations of these statutes, together with injunctive relief against continuing violations.

 * * *

 Plaintiff's References to Conspiracy and 28 U.S.C. Section 1337 Do Not Establish Standing to Sue

 There is no allegation in plaintiff's Amended Complaint of any violation of the antitrust laws. In footnote No. 6 of his brief, the plaintiff makes the unprecedented assertion that reference to 28 U.S.C. § 1337 together with the non-specific allegation of conspiracy constitutes a sufficient pleading of antitrust violations. This argument is totally without merit.

 The plaintiff makes but a fleeting and conclusory allusion to "conspiracy" in a section of his Amended Complaint entitled Class Action Allegations (Amended ...


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