Redd v. Suntrup Hyundai, Inc. d/b/a Suntrup Hyundai, Slip Copy, 2009 WL 1161622, 09CV411, (E.D. Mo. 04/29/09)
The plaintiff, Randall Redd, sure loves getting behind the wheel in his new Hyundai. And who can blame ol’ Redd? There is nothing like taking the Hyundai out on the stunning Missouri plains. For Redd there’s not a care in the world for when he’s behind the wheel of his baby. But when he’s not taming her on the open road, he is in a feisty court battle with her ex-owner Suntrup Hyundai, Inc.
Redd and his attorneys are accusing the “ex” of engaging in the unauthorized practice of law for charging a fee in return for the preparation and processing of documents such as purchase agreements, invoices, retail installment contracts, title work, financing documents, and other instruments of legal significance.
Redd filed suit in state court seeking to represent an unnamed class of fellow Suntrup victims in January, 2009 but it wasn’t long before the “ex” had the matter removed to federal court, alleging that federal district court had jurisdiction pursuant to none other than the Class Action Fairness ACT of 2005.
Of course, this didn’t go over to well with the Hyundai’s new owner, our buddy Redd. He filed a motion to remand the case to state court pursuant to the provisions of CAFA which provide the court with discretion to decline to exercise jurisdiction in certain instances. Redd further requested that the decision on the motion to remand be stayed for 45 days for the plaintiff to conduct limited discovery if the court found that additional information was required to determine whether it should exercise jurisdiction.
This was quite a bold strategy on Redd’s part, but not a surprising one considering he’s a member of the most feared Hyundai gang in Eastern Missouri. His motion and request initially conceded that CAFA jurisdiction existed but that the court should exercise it’s discretion and remand to state court, but if it doesn’t do so then it should give Redd 45 days of limited to discovery so he can show the world that CAFA jurisdiction doesn’t exist.
But this strategy wasn’t just a bold move by Redd to help him pick up chick’s in his bright yellow Hyundai. It was also an attempt to get some much needed discovery in order to show the court that his case fell within the home state exception to federal jurisdiction and thus the court must remand the case. Redd’s strongest argument for his home state exception claim was the fact that greater than two-thirds of the members of his class were probably citizens of Missouri, the state in which that action was originally filed and which the defendant was also from.
After much aimless wandering on the highways of Missouri, tainted by the nightmarish thoughts of his Hyundai being water-boarded for answers about it’s former owner in federal court, Redd got word that the court had made it’s ruling. The court had held that Suntrup Hyundai, Inc. had met it’s burden in showing that federal jurisdiction existed and decided not to remand the case to state court. However, like a reflection off the miniature disco-ball hanging on Redd’s rear-view mirror, the court left a glimmer of hope for Redd and his fellow gang members. Although the court had held that he had not met his burden to provide the court with sufficient information to rule on the home state exception, Redd was granted his request for limited discovery to determine whether at least two-thirds of the class resided in Missouri. Thus, Redd had fought on to live another day in federal court with hopes of one day returning to his sweet home Missouri state court.
UPDATE: Redd has since led a massive effort to locate all those fellow Hyundai lovers who were also victims of a car dealer whom they all assumed had a law degree when they purchased their precious Genesis Coupe.
By: Scott Falgoust