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Trupp v. Ally Financial, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

May 31, 2018

JOSH TRUPP Plaintiff,


          C. DARNELL JONES, II J.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Josh Trupp commenced the above-captioned action alleging Defendant violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (47 U.S.C. § 227, et. seq.). Defendant subsequently filed a Counterclaim for state law breach of contract. (ECF No. 3, p. 10.) Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss Defendant's Counterclaim. (ECF No. 7.) Pursuant to 12(b)(1), Plaintiff moves for dismissal of Defendant's Counterclaim for want of Subject Matter Jurisdiction. (ECF No. 7.) For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Motion is denied.

         II. Background

         Plaintiff is a natural person who resides in Reading, Pennsylvania. (ECF. No. 1, ¶ 4.) On or about May 9, 2014, Plaintiff entered into a Retail Installment Sale Contract (hereinafter “the Contract”) with a car dealer whereby Plaintiff agreed to purchase a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu (hereinafter “the Vehicle”). (ECF. No. 3, p. 10.) Under the terms of the Contract, Plaintiff agreed to finance the purchase of the Vehicle by making monthly installment payments. Id. The car dealer subsequently assigned its interest in the Contract to Defendant. Id. Plaintiff granted Defendant a security interest in the Vehicle. Id. After entering into the Contract, Plaintiff failed to make timely payments to Defendant, the holder of the Contract's interest. (ECF. No. 3, p. 11.) Plaintiff was required to make these payments to the Defendant. Id.

         Beginning in or around 2015, or early 2016, Defendant began placing repeated telephone calls to Plaintiff on his cell phone. (ECF. No. 1, ¶ 11.) When contacting Plaintiff on his cell phone, Defendant used an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS). (ECF. No. 1, ¶ 12.) Shortly after the calls began, Plaintiff spoke with Defendant and requested that the calls stop immediately. (ECF. No. 1, ¶ 15.) Despite Plaintiff's explicit request, Defendant persisted in calling Plaintiff on his cell phone. (ECF. No. 1, ¶ 16.)

         Defendant brings its Breach of Contract Counterclaim for Plaintiff's failure to make said payments. (ECF. No. 3, p. 10.)

         Standards of Review

         A. Rule 12(b)(1)

         Rule 12(b)(1) permits parties to assert, by motion, the defense of lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). A challenge to subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) may take two forms: a facial challenge or a factual challenge. If a facial challenge concerns an alleged pleading deficiency, then the trial court is restricted to a review of the allegations of the complaint and any documents referenced therein. CNA v. United States, 535 F.3d 132, 139 (3d Cir. 2008); Gould Elec. Inc. v. United States, 220 F.3d 169, 177 (3d Cir. 2000). When considering a facial challenge, “the trial court must consider the allegations of the complaint as true.” Mortensen v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 549 F.2d 884, 891 (3d Cir. 1977).

         A factual challenge “concerns the actual failure of a plaintiff's claims to comport factually with the jurisdictional prerequisites.” CNA, 535 F.3d at 139 (internal quotation, citation, and alterations omitted). If the challenge before the trial court is a factual challenge, the court does not accord any presumption of truth to the allegations in the plaintiff's complaint, and the plaintiff bears the burden of proving subject matter jurisdiction. Id. With a factual challenge, the court may weigh evidence outside the pleadings and make factual findings related to the issue of jurisdiction. Id.; U.S. ex rel. Atkinson v. Pa. Shipbuilding Co., 473 F.3d 506, 514 (3d Cir. 2007). “[T]he existence of disputed material facts will not preclude the trial court from evaluating for itself the merits of the jurisdictional claims.” Mortensen, 549 F.2d at 891. Before this Court is Plaintiff's facial challenge of Defendant's Breach of Contract Counterclaim.

         B. 28 U.S.C. §1367

         “Under §1367 (a), all state law claims…are subject to [a] jurisdictional inquiry: if they are so related to claims in the action within [the court's] original jurisdiction…that they form part of the same case or controversy under [Article III of the United States Constitution], then they are within the court's supplemental jurisdiction.Alpern v. Cavarocchi, Civ. 98-3105, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5929, *28 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 29, 1999). The key threshold question is whether the state and federal claims derive “from a common nucleus of operative fact.” Id. at *29. As to the “common nucleus, ” it has been held that “mere tangential overlap of facts is insufficient, but total congruity between the operative facts…is unnecessary.” Id. District courts may decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a claim if: (1) the claim raises a novel or complex issue of state law; (2) the claim substantially predominates over the claim or claims over which the district court has original jurisdiction; (3) the district court has dismissed all claims over which it has original jurisdiction; or, (4) in exceptional circumstances, there are other compelling reasons for declining jurisdiction. Id. at *26.

         III. ...

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