Cubler et al. v. Trumark Financial Credit Union - Dec. 20, 2013 - Superior Court
remedies under UCC, 13 Pa. C.S. 9625, are subject to the general 6-year statute
of limitations under 42 Pa. C.S. 5527(b) and not the 2-year SOL under 42 Pa.
C.S. 5524)5), which governs "actions upon a statute for a civil penalty or
forfeiture." The remedies under
sec. 9625 are compensatory and not penal.
court held that the reasoning of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in
the analogous case of Pantuso Motors, Inc. v. Corestates
Bank, N.A., 798 A.2d 1277, 1281
(Pa. 2002); should guide its analysis, and lead to a
determination that a plain reading of the unambiguous language of section 9625
reveals that it is a remedial statute intended to compensate aggrieved
debtors/obligors for their losses.
court held that it must provide “substantial
weight” to the fact that, in drafting section 9625, the General Assembly
specifically chose to use the word “[r]emedies” in the heading of the statute. See
Pantuso Motors, 798 A.2d at 1282; see
also 1 Pa.C.S.A. § 1924. Furthermore, the relevant
provisions involved in this case, 13 Pa.C.S.A. § 9625(c)(2) and (e)(5), both
specifically provide for “recover[y]” of “statutory damages.” Id.
Importantly, the language of section 9625 does not
contain any reference to penalties of any sort.
Accordingly, it would be anomalous for this Court to declare that a statute
that the General Assembly has specifically designated as being remedial,
and which expressly provides for recovery of
is, in fact, a civil penalty or forfeiture. See
Pantuso Motors, 798 A.2d at 1283.
also 1 Pa.C.S.A. § 1921(b) (rule of statutory
construction providing that where, as here, “the words of a statute are clear
and free from all ambiguity, the letter of it is not to be disregarded under
the pretext of pursuing its spirit.”). Moreover, a determination that the
statutory damages provided for in section 9625 are intended to be compensatory
and not penal in nature is supported by section 1305 of the UCC. Section 1305
provides that “neither consequential or special damages nor
penal damages may be had except as specifically provided in
this title or by other rule of law.” 13 Pa.C.S.A. § 1305(a) (emphasis added).
Furthermore, section 9625 provides a damages formula that is expressly linked
to the aggrieved party’s injury,
not to the degree of the offending party’s culpability, which is a feature
inherent in penalties. See, e.g.,
13 Pa.C.S.A. § 9625(b) (providing that “a person is liable for damages in the
amount of any loss caused by a failure to comply with this division”); id.
§ 9625(c)(2) (providing that an aggrieved debtor/obligor is entitled
to an award “not less than the credit service charge plus 10% of the principal
amount of the obligation or the time price differential plus 10% of the cash
price.”). Finally, like the
circumstances presented in Pantuso Motors,
even if the imposition of statutory damages. Finally, like the circumstances presented
in Pantuso Motors,
even if the imposition of statutory damages under section 9625 may have the
effect of encouraging compliance with the provisions of Article 9, the General
Assembly intended such damages to serve primarily to compensate aggrieved
claimants, not as a penalty against offending
parties. See Pantuso Motors,
798 A.2d at 1283-84.