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Green v. All Wheels Financial Inc.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

March 29, 2018

Richard Green, Jr., Plaintiff,
All Wheels Financial Inc., Defendant.

          Michael S. Dove and Dean M. Zimmerli, Gislason & Hunter LLP, Counsel for Defendant.


          Michael J. Davis, United States District Court.


         Plaintiff Richard Green brought this action against Defendant All Wheels Financial Inc., alleging that Defendant violated federal law by failing to obtain a lending license and for wrongful repossession of equipment. Defendant moves to dismiss the complaint on the basis of lack of subject matter jurisdiction or in the alternative for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.[1]

         In response to the motion to dismiss, Plaintiff asked the Court for an extension of 120 days to find counsel. Previously, Plaintiff was sent a letter on September 26, 2017 referring him to the District of Minnesota's Pro Se Project. (Doc. No. 7.) A text entry on the docket for this case notes that on November 3, 2017, the Pro Se Project sent a letter to Magistrate Judge Noel informing him that attorney Mark Schneedbeck had agreed to consult with Plaintiff. A later text entry in the docket notes that on December 19, 2017, the coordinator for the Pro Se Project, Tiffany Sanders, forwarded to chambers email correspondence with Plaintiff in which Plaintiff informed her that he did not want to work with attorney Schneedbeck, and asked that she find him another lawyer. Ms. Sanders informed Plaintiff that she would not grant this request.

         Despite the fact that Plaintiff had already been given an opportunity to consult with counsel, the Court nonetheless granted Plaintiff an additional thirty (30) days from the date of oral argument, February 13, 2018, to find counsel. Thirty days has since passed, and Plaintiff has not notified the Court of his efforts to retain counsel, and no attorney has filed a notice of appearance on Plaintiff's behalf. Accordingly, the Court will now address the merits of Defendant's motion to dismiss.


         In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he and his grandfather, Roy H. Green entered into a loan with Defendant on August 22, 2016 concerning the purchase of two items of trucking equipment; a 2013 Peterbilt model 579 Semi and a 2017 Hyundai HTCBE trailer. (Comp. at 4; Doc. 1-1 at 22, 23.) Plaintiff alleges there were no issues for the first six months, and that the loan payments were between $450 and 800. (Comp. at 4.) After the initial six months, however, Plaintiff alleges his payments were not being honored and Defendant repossessed both the truck and trailer. (Id.) Plaintiff seeks a clear title for the equipment and damages resulting from the repossession of the Semi and Trailer. Plaintiff claims this Court has jurisdiction, because Defendant, as a lender, was required to have a lending license under federal law. (Id.)

         The attachments to the Complaint show a different picture than that portrayed by Plaintiff's allegations. For example, it appears that Richard Green Trucking, Inc. (“RGTI”), not Plaintiff, purchased the Semi from non-party Allstate Sales & Leasing Company, and financed the purchase with Defendant in the amount of $104, 738.04 (“Semi Agreement”). (Doc. 1-1 at 29-34.) Pursuant to the Semi Agreement, RGTI agreed to make monthly installment payments in the amount of $1, 779.48. (Id. at 30.) At that time, Plaintiff's grandfather, Roy H. Green, also a non-party, executed a Guaranty whereby he personally guaranteed the entire indebtedness owed by RGTI to Allstate and its assigns. (Id. at 35.) The Certificate of Title shows that Defendant is the secured party. (Id. at 26.)

         RGTI also purchased the Trailer from Allstate and financed the purchase with Defendant (“Trailer Agreement”), which required monthly payments of $702.68. (Id. at 41-45, 39.) The Trailer Agreement was executed by RGTI and Roy H. Green and provided that in the event of default, Defendant was entitled to take possession of the Trailer. (Id. at 39, 42.) Plaintiff executed a personal guaranty for the Trailer. (Id. at 51.)


         Defendant moves to dismiss the Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction as Plaintiff lacks standing and because Plaintiff has not raised a question involving federal law.

         A. Subject matter jurisdiction

         A court “generally may not rule on the merits of a case without first determining that it has jurisdiction over the category of claim in the suit (subject-matter jurisdiction) and the parties (personal jurisdiction).” Sinochem Int'l Co. Ltd. v. Malaysia Int'l Shipping Corp., 549 U.S. 422, 430-31 (2007). “'Without jurisdiction the court cannot proceed at all in any cause'; it may not assume jurisdiction for the purpose of ...

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