United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MICHAEL A. FARINA, PLAINTIFF,
SIRPILLA RV CENTERS, et al., DEFENDANTS.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF TRANSFER
SARA LIOI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court for consideration of the following
motions: (1) the motion of plaintiff to remand (Doc. No. 14
[“Mot. Remand”]), and (2) the motion of certain
defendants to transfer venue to the Northern District of
Indiana. (Doc. No. 13 [“Mot. Tr.”].) Both motions
are fully briefed and ripe for resolution. (Doc. No. 19
(Response to Motion to Remand [“Opp'n Mot.
Remand”]);Doc. No. 22 (Reply to Motion to Remand
[“Reply Mot. Remand”]); Doc. No. 15 (Response to
Motion to Transfer [“Opp'n Mot. Tr.”]); Doc.
No. 16 (Reply to Motion to Transfer [“Reply Mot.
Tr.”]).) For the reasons stated herein, the motion to
remand is denied and the motion to transfer is granted.
October 25, 2018, plaintiff Michael Farina
(“Farina”) filed suit in state court. In his
complaint, Farina alleged that, on August 10, 2018, he
purchased a motor home from defendant Sirpilla RV Centers,
LLC, d/b/a Camping World RV Sales of Akron (“Camping
World”). (Doc. No. 1-1 (Complaint
[“Compl.”]) ¶¶ 2, 9, 12.) The vehicle
was a 2019 Seneca motor home manufactured by defendant Jayco,
Inc. (“Jayco”), with a purchase price of $207,
327.87. (Id. ¶¶ 5, 9, 15.) Of this amount,
$12, 280 represented a payment for an extended warranty
issued by Good Sam. (Id. ¶ 9; see id.
¶ 14.) Farina made a down payment in the amount of $50,
000 and took possession of the vehicle on August 11, 2018.
(Id. ¶¶ 17, 21.)
after purchase, Farina observed that the “check
engine” light would illuminate upon starting the
vehicle. (Id. ¶ 22.) He also noticed
“numerous other material problems and defects with the
[m]otor [h]ome.” (Id. ¶ 24.) Farina
contacted Camping World and was advised by an employee that
the “check engine” light warning was serious.
(Id. ¶ 23.) On August 16, 2018, at the
direction of Camping World, Farina returned the motor home
for service. Camping World's service department advised
Farina that they were unable to repair the motor home's
engine. (Id. ¶ 25.) Camping World remains in
possession of the motor home, which has been out of service
by reason of repair for more than 30 days. (Id.
¶¶ 26, 27.)
complaint raises seven claims against defendants, as follows:
the First Cause of Action alleges breach of warranties; the
Second Cause of Action is a claim for violation of Ohio's
lemon law, Ohio Rev. Code § 1345.75; the Third Cause of
Action raises a claim under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act
(“MMWA”), 15 U.S.C. § 2310(d); the Fourth
Cause of Action is a claim under the Ohio Consumer Sales
Practices Act, Ohio Rev. Code § 1345.09; the Fifth Cause
of Action sounds in fraud; the Sixth Cause of Action alleges
the breach of an extended warranty; and the Seventh Cause of
Action seeks declaratory relief. Farina's prayer for
relief also includes a request for “rescission of the
transaction” and a recovery of related damages,
compensatory damages in the amount of the purchase price of
the vehicle plus the cost of the extended warranty,
cancellation of the loan, punitive damages for fraud, as well
as an award of interest, costs, and attorney's fees.
(Id. at 13-14.)
November 27, 2018, defendants Jayco, Camping World, and Bank
of America removed the action to federal court, citing the
fact that Farina had asserted a claim under the MMWA. (Doc.
No. 1 (Notice of Removal [“Not.”]) at 1.) In
support of removal, defendants contended that the complaint
seeks more than the $50, 000 amount in controversy, exclusive
of interest and costs, required under the MMWA.
(Id.) The following day (November 28, 2018),
defendants filed their motion to transfer venue. Farina's
motion to remand followed on December 11, 2018. Because the
motion to remand raises the threshold question of the
Court's jurisdiction over this matter, the Court will
address it first.
Motion to Remand
parties agree that the only source of federal jurisdiction in
this case is Farina's claim under the MMWA. Although it
is a federal statute, the Court's jurisdiction under the
MMWA is limited by a $50, 000 amount in controversy
requirement. Schultz v. Gen. R.V. Ctr., 512 F.3d
754, 757 (6th Cir. 2008). Claims brought under the MMWA are
not cognizable in federal court “if the amount in
controversy is less than the sum or value of $50, 000
(exclusive of interests and costs) computed on the basis of
all claims to be determined in this suit[.]” 15 U.S.C.
§ 2310(d)(3)(B). When determining the amount in
controversy, for purposes of jurisdiction under the MWA, the
Sixth Circuit applies the “legal certainty” test.
Schultz, 512 F.3d at 756 (collecting cases).
“Under the legal certainty test, federal subject matter
jurisdiction exists ‘if there is a probability that the
value of the matter in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional
amount.'” Id. (quoting Kovacs v.
Chesley, 406 F.3d 393, 397 (6th Cir. 2005)).
argues that federal subject matter jurisdiction is lacking
because the total amount in controversy is less than $50,
000. In support of his argument, Farina relies primarily on
Golden v. Gorno Bros., Inc., 410 F.3d 879
(6th Cir. 2005), wherein the Sixth Circuit first announced
the formula for determining whether the amount in controversy
has been satisfied. There, the court held:
[t]he finance charges of a contract should not be added when
determining if the amount in controversy has been satisfied.
Pursuant to that analysis, the amount in controversy . . .
would be calculated by determining the difference between the
cost of a replacement vehicle . . . and the present value of
the [vehicle]. The resulting figure . . . would be further
reduced by the value that [the purchaser] obtained from the
Id. at 885 (footnote omitted).
argue that the formula in Golden is inapplicable to
the present case because Farina has sought the remedy of
rescission and not revocation and, accordingly, the formula
adopted by the Sixth Circuit for parties seeking rescission
should guide the analysis. As in the present case, in
Harnden v. Jayco, Inc., 496 F.3d 579, 582 (6th Cir.
2007), the plaintiff brought suit against Jayco, alleging
that the Jayco motor home he purchased was defective. Noting
that the plaintiff alleged a breach of contract and requested
the cancellation of his contract, the court in
Harnden determined that the remedy sought was
“more akin” to rescission than revocation.
Id. Because the plaintiff sought the remedy of
rescission, the Sixth Circuit held that the amount in
controversy was determined by “the amount of [the]
contract, without offset.” Id.; see Harris
v. Gulf Stream Coach, Inc., 547 F.Supp.2d 765, 770 (E.D.
Mich. 2008) (finding that Harnden controls the
calculation of the amount in controversy under the MMWA
because the plaintiff asserted a claim that the defendants
breached an express warranty that was part of the
parties' contract and requested the cancelation of the
Court finds it unnecessary at this juncture to determine
whether Farina is seeking revocation or rescission because,
under either formula, subject matter jurisdiction is
satisfied. Under the Harnden formula, the amount in
controversy easily exceeds the jurisdictional amount as the
parties agree that the purchase price of the motor ...