Republic Ford files to remove case over unfair business method allegations to federal court

By Charmaine Little | Dec 8, 2018

SPRINGFIELD – A Ford dealership filed to remove a class action case from the Greene County Circuit Court to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri in the Southern Division on Nov. 23.

Republic Ford filed to remove the case from the Circuit Court to the federal court, stating that removal is appropriate because it is a putative class action that checks all of the jurisdictional requirements of the Class Action Fairness Act. The CAFA says federal courts have jurisdiction over cases where there is minimal diversity, the class has less than 100 members, and the amount is more than $5 million in the aggregate. Since each of these pieces is true, the defendant argued the federal court has jurisdiction over the case.

Jacqueline Wilson was the one to sue Republic Ford on Oct. 18 with allegations that it participates in unfair business methods as it allegedly makes customers buy gap insurance and/or motor vehicle extended service contracts before selling any of its vehicles. Wilson said this policy has cost her and other consumers money and filed the lawsuit seeking actual damages, punitive damages and injunctive relief.

The defendant argued diversity clause is satisfied because even though Wilson is a Missouri resident, she said there are hundreds of thousands of class members who don’t live in the state. It said the 100-minimum class size is easily satisfied and Wilson added that the dollar amount in question is more than $5 million. 

“Republic’s sales data indicates that its vehicle sales in which the consumer purchased MVSC and/or Gap for 2018 alone exceeds the $5 million jurisdictional threshold,” according to the notice.

The defendant stated the notice is also timely as Republic was served on Oct. 24 and the company submitted the notice on Nov. 23. Republic also wanted a trial by jury of each of the claims against it.

Republic is represented by Timothy J. Wolf of Brown & James in St. Louis.

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