United States District Court, D. New Jersey
ROSE M. WOTURSKI, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
FEDERAL WARRANTY SERVICE CORPORATION, Defendant.
G. ADLER LAW OFFICE OF LEWIS ADLER On behalf of Plaintiff
R. VALES DENTONS U.S. LLP On behalf of Defendant
HILLMAN, District Judge
matter arises under New Jersey's Truth-in-Consumer
Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (TCCWNA), N.J.S.A. §
56:12-14 to -18, a remedial consumer statute which allows an
aggrieved party to collect either statutory damages or actual
damages. Before the Court is Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss and Plaintiff's Cross-Motion to Remand this
matter to state court. The Court finding Plaintiff lacks
Article III standing, Defendant's motion will be denied
and Plaintiff's motion will be granted. Accordingly, this
case will be remanded to New Jersey Superior Court.
Court takes the following facts from Plaintiff's May 18,
2017 Complaint. On August 19, 2014, Plaintiff purchased an
appliance from Johnson's Appliances & Bedding.
Plaintiff also purchased an accompanying service contract.
The Complaint is in three counts. The first two counts allege
the service contract contains terms that violated the Service
Contract Act (SCA), N.J.S.A. § 56:12-87 to -97. Although
there is apparently no private right of action under the SCA,
the TCCWNA prohibits a consumer contract that violates
“any clearly established legal right of a consumer or
responsibility of a seller” under state or federal
The third count seeks a declaratory judgment that the service
contract is contrary to New Jersey law.
filed this action in New Jersey Superior Court on May 18,
2017 both individually and on behalf of all other New Jersey
purchasers of the contract containing the same terms alleged
to violate the TCCWNA. This case was removed to federal court
on June 14, 2017. On June 15, 2017, Defendant filed the
pending Motion to Dismiss. On July 3, 2017, Plaintiff filed
her opposition, along with a Cross-Motion to Remand.
argues Plaintiff lacks Article III standing to sue in federal
court. Plaintiff alleges violations of the
TCCWNA. “The purpose of the TCCWNA . . . is to prevent
deceptive practices in consumer contracts by prohibiting the
use of illegal terms or warranties in consumer
contracts.” Kent Motor Cars, Inc. v. Reynolds &
Reynolds, Co., 25 A.3d 1027, 1044 (N.J. 2011).
Plaintiff's claims are based on alleged misstatements of
Plaintiff's rights and Defendant's responsibilities.
Significantly, Plaintiff does not plead any kind of injury
resulting from such misstatements. For the reasons that
follow, the Court consequently finds Plaintiff does not have
Article III standing.
Constitution confines the power of federal courts as
extending only to “Cases” and
“Controversies.” Art. III, § 2. “No
principle is more fundamental to the judiciary's proper
role in our system of government than the constitutional
limitation of federal-court jurisdiction to actual cases or
controversies.” Raines v. Byrd, 521 U.S. 811,
818 (1997) (quoting Simon v. E. Ky. Welfare Rights
Org., 426 U.S. 26, 37 (1976)).
There are three well-recognized elements of Article III
standing: First, an “injury in fact, ” or an
“invasion of a legally protected interest” that
is “concrete and particularized.” Second, a
“causal connection between the injury and the conduct
complained of[.]” And third, a likelihood “that
the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision.”
In re Horizon Healthcare Servs. Data Breach Litig.,
846 F.3d 625, 633 (3d Cir. 2017) (alteration in original)
(quoting Lujan v. Defs. of Wildlife, 504
U.S. 555, 560, 561 (1992)). “To establish injury in
fact, a plaintiff must show that he or she suffered ‘an
invasion of a legally protected interest' that is
‘concrete and particularized' and ‘actual or
imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical.'”
Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct. 1540 (2016).
dictates the outcome of this case. There, the Supreme Court
identified that “Congress' role in identifying and
elevating intangible harms does not mean that a plaintiff
automatically satisfies the injury-in-fact requirement
whenever a statute grants a person a statutory right and
purports to authorize that person to sue to vindicate that
right.” Id. at 1549. “[E]ven in the
context of a statutory violation, ” “Article III
standing requires a concrete injury.” Id.
“[B]are procedural violation[s], divorced from any
concrete harm” do not satisfy the injury-in-fact
requirement. Id. “Stated differently, not
every ‘bare' violation of a right granted by a
statute is inherently injurious. Rather, such a violation
must result in a ‘concrete' harm.” Rubin
v. J. Crew Grp., Inc., No. 16-2167, 2017 WL 1170854, at
*3 (D.N.J. Mar. 29, 2017).
standing based on a violation of a statutorily created right
turns on whether such a right is substantive or merely
procedural.” Id. The District of New Jersey in
Rubin found as follows in considering the case law
that had emerged in the District of New Jersey since
[W]hat each of these courts has held is that without an
underlying concrete harm, a plaintiff may not base his/her
complaint solely on allegations of wrongdoing predicated on
TCCWNA violations. To illustrate, if a consumer alleges that
the terms and conditions of an online retailer's website
violated the TCCWNA by excluding punitive damages in suits,
that consumer would not have standing to bring a TCCWNA claim
without also asserting an injury inflicted by the retailer
that could entitle him/her to punitive damages at the outset.
Absent that underlying harm, under Spokeo, the
consumer's alleged TCCWNA violation is merely procedural.
Plaintiff has not pleaded a concrete injury, and consequently
has not pleaded an injury-in-fact, the ...