consumer - state UDAP claims - federal court - removal
Byrd v. Car and SUV Outlet, et al. - ED Pa. - December 29, 2008
Plaintiff sued defendant, from which he bought a used car, for various alleged state-law causes of actions, including one under the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, which claim alleged several distinct violations, including assertions that Defendants violated the UTPCPLby breaching two federal statutes, the Truth in Lending Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Defendants sought to remove the case to federal court.
The court refused the motion to remove, holding that it did not have jurisdiction, since plaintiff had sought relief only under state law, not federal law, which were "merely two theories on which Plaintiff plans to proceed to establish a state law UTPCPL violation."
The court also held that it could still have jurisdiction if “the vindication of [Plaintiff’s] right[s] under state law necessarily turned on some construction of federal law” but held that “the mere presence of a federal issue in a state cause of action does not automatically confer federal-question jurisdiction. The federal issue must be “an essential one in the forefront of the case and not collateral, peripheral, or remote”
The federal issues in this case were held to be "not essential to establishing Plaintiff’s right to relief....The TILA and ECOA violations are merely two theories, in addition to the various theories based on state law, that Plaintiff has asserted to establish his right to relief under the UTPCPL. This is insufficient, however, to establish federal jurisdiction."