PETER R. BENSON v. BUDGET RENT A CAR SYSTEM, INC. and JNR ADJUSTMENT COMPANY, INC.
CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT
Plaintiff, by his undersigned counsel, brings the following Complaint against defendants upon knowledge as to his personal circumstances and, as to all other matters, upon information and belief based, among other things, upon the investigation made by and through his counsel:
1. This is an action pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et. seq., Pennsylvania Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act, 73 Pa.C.S. § 2270.2 et. seq., Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, 73 Pa.C.S. § 201-1 et. seq., and common law.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
2. This Court has jurisdiction under 15 U.S.C. 1692(k)(d) and 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and supplemental jurisdiction exists for the state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
3. Venue in this District is proper in that the defendants transact business here and the conduct complained of occurred here.
4. Plaintiff, Benson, is a resident of Pennsylvania and a "consumer" as defined by the FDCPA, 15 U.S.C. § 1692(a)(3) and applicable state law.
5. Defendant, Budget Rent A Car System, Inc. ("Budget") is a wholly owned subsidiary of Avis Budget Group Inc. which is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of Delaware. Budget has its headquarters and principal place of business at 6 Sylvan Way, Parisppany, New Jersey 07054. Budget represents itself to be the owner and franchiser of one of the world's best known car rental brands with more than 1,900 car rental locations in the United States and worldwide.
6. Defendant, JNR Adjustment Company Inc. ("JNR") is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of Minnesota with its principal place of business in Minneapolis, Minnesota. JNR is a national collection firm that specializes, inter alia, in collecting vehicle damage claims. JNR is a "debt collector" as defined in the FDCPA and under applicable state law.
7. On October 26, 2007, plaintiff rented a 2007 Chrysler PT Touring from Budget at its Philadelphia International Airport location. Plaintiff initialed the car rental agreement ("Agreement") to indicate that he was rejecting Budget's Loss Damage Waiver coverage ("LDW"). A copy of the Agreement is attached as Exhibit "A".
8. While he was driving the Budget car, plaintiff collided with a deer which resulted in damage to the car and the car was returned to Budget with damage to the front end of the vehicle the next day.
9. On the face of the Agreement, next to plaintiff's signature, the agreement states, in pertinent part:
If the renter declines LDW, renter may be liable for up to the retail fair market value (less salvage) of the car, regardless of fault, unless ordinary negligence is excluded by law. Repair's are at Budget's cost. Read LDW terms on the rental document jacket terms and conditions, including exclusions from LDW.
10. Buried inside the "rental document jacket" are contradictory terms concerning the renter's responsibility for damage to the car in the event the LDW coverage is not purchased:
8. Damage/Loss to the Car. If you do not accept LDW, or if the car is lost or damaged as direct or indirect result of violation of paragraph 14, you are responsible; and you will pay us for all loss of or damage to the car regardless of cause, or who, or what caused it. If the car is damaged, you will pay our estimated repair cost, or if, in our sole discretion, we determine to sell the car in its damaged condition, you will pay the difference between the car's retail full market value before it was damaged, and the sale proceeds...As part of our loss, you'll also pay for loss of use of the car, without regard to our fleet utilization, plus an administrative fee, plus towing and storage charges, if any ("incidental loss").
11. After the accident, plaintiff promptly filed a claim with his insurance company to reimburse Budget for the damage to the Budget rental car.
II. JURISDICTION AND VENUE
12. This is a civil enforcement action for breach of fiduciary duty brought pursuant
to ERISA § 502(a), 29 U.S.C. 1132(a). This Court has original, exclusive subject matter jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and ERISA § 502(e)(1), 29 U.S.C. § 1132(e)(1).
13. ERISA provides for nationwide service of process. ERISA § 502(e)(2), 29 U.S.C. § 1132(e)(2). All of Defendants are residents of the United States, and the Court therefore has personal jurisdiction over them. This Court also has personal jurisdiction over Defendants pursuant to Rule 4(k)(1)(A) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure because Defendants are each subject to the jurisdiction of a court of general jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
14. This Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendants because each of them, directly or indirectly and/or through their subsidiaries, related entities, or agents, is doing business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
15. Venue is proper in this judicial district pursuant to ERISA § 502(e)(2), 29 U.S.C.
§ 1132(e)(2), because the Plan was administered in this district, some of the fiduciary breaches for which relief is sought occurred in this district, and one or more of Defendants may be found in this district. Venue is also proper in this district pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391, because Wal-Mart systematically and continuously does business in this district and because a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claims occurred within this judicial district.
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