Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Nicole D. Berry v. Suzuki of Plymouth Meeting

July 7, 2011

NICOLE D. BERRY,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
SUZUKI OF PLYMOUTH MEETING, NICK MORALES, SANTANDER CONSUMER USA, INC. AND
EAST COAST RECOVERY, DEFENDANTS. TANYA CHANDLER,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
SUZUKI OF PLYMOUTH MEETING, NICK MORALES, SANTANDER CONSUMER USA, INC. AND
RECOVERY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: DuBOIS, J.

MEMORANDUM

I. INTRODUCTION

In these related cases, plaintiffs allege a series of state-law causes of action arising out of their purchases of vehicles from a local car dealership. Presently before the Court are five motions: two motions by plaintiffs to remand these actions to the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, where they were originally filed; two motions by defendant Santander Consumer USA, Inc. ("Santander") to dismiss the claims against it; and a motion by Santander to consolidate the cases. For the reasons that follow, the Court grants plaintiffs' motions to remand. In light of that disposition, the Court does not address the motions to dismiss or the motion to consolidate.

II. BACKGROUND*fn1

Plaintiffs visited defendant car dealer Suzuki of Plymouth Meeting ("SOPM") in August 2008. (Berry First Am. Compl. ¶ 29; Chandler First Am. Compl. ¶ 29.) They each entered into a Retail Installment Sales Contract ("RISC") for the purchase of a vehicle. (Berry First Am. Compl. ¶ 32; Chandler First Am. Compl. ¶ 32.) Plaintiffs allege that during the sales process, SOPM and its agents, including defendant Nick Morales, made various misrepresentations and concealed several pertinent facts about the cars, such as their former use as rental vehicles. (Berry First Am. Compl. ¶¶ 30-31; Chandler First Am. Compl. ¶¶ 30-31.)

The RISCs between plaintiffs and SOPM were subsequently assigned to Santander. (Berry First Am. Compl. ¶ 110; Chandler First Am. Compl. ¶ 119.) The RISCs include the following language:

NOTICE: ANY HOLDER OF THIS CONSUMER CREDIT CONTRACT IS SUBJECT TO ALL CLAIMS AND DEFENSES WHICH THE DEBTOR COULD ASSERT AGAINST THE SELLER OF GOODS OR SERVICES OBTAINED PURSUANT HERETO OR WITH THE PROCEEDS HEREOF. RECOVERY HEREUNDER BY THE DEBTOR SHALL NOT EXCEED AMOUNTS PAID BY THE DEBTOR HEREUNDER. (Def. Santander's Mot. to Dismiss Berry, Ex. 1; Def. Santander's Mot. to Dismiss Chandler, Ex. 1.). When plaintiffs failed to make the required payments under the RISCs, Santander repossessed the cars. (Berry First Am. Compl. ¶¶ 45-46; Chandler First Am. Compl. ¶¶ 45-46.)

Plaintiffs filed these actions in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, alleging various claims sounding in state law based on Morales and SOPM's allegedly fraudulent activities.*fn2 Plaintiffs asserted that Santander was liable for those activities as the assignee of the RISCs. (Berry Compl. ¶ 71; Chandler Compl. ¶ 119.) The Complaints also each alleged a single count arising under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq., against the companies hired to repossess the vehicles. (Berry Compl. ¶¶ 125-27; Chandler Compl. ¶¶ 174-76.)

On the basis of the FDCPA claims, Santander removed these cases to this Court and filed motions to dismiss the claims against it and a motion to consolidate the cases. Plaintiffs subsequently filed First Amended Complaints that deleted all federal claims, and then moved to remand both cases. Santander opposed the remand motions and filed a new round of motions to dismiss. All motions are fully briefed and ripe for review.

III. DISCUSSION

In their motions to remand, plaintiffs contend that the Court no longer has jurisdiction over these cases because there are no longer any federal claims pending. Santander responds that

(1) an amendment of a complaint removing federal claims cannot extinguish the Court's jurisdiction; (2) although the claims against it sound in state law, they necessarily raise issues of federal law sufficient to confer federal question jurisdiction on the Court; and (3) even if the Court has only supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining claims, it should exercise that jurisdiction because plaintiffs' withdrawal of the federal claims constitutes blatant forum shopping.

Santander is correct that the Court still has the authority to adjudicate both cases. However, the Court declines to exercise its jurisdiction because only state-law claims remain. Thus, plaintiffs' motions to remand are granted. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.