Case against Granite City repossession company back in Madison County

Christina Stueve Hodges Aug. 20, 2012, 2:07am



A Missouri couple's case against a Granite City vehicle repossession company has returned to Madison County Circuit Court after the defense attempted to remove it to federal court.

U.S. District Judge David Herndon remanded the case to Madison County on Aug. 14, following an effort by defendant United Repossessors to remove it on July 25.

Plaintiffs Todd and Stacey Hindrichs filed suit against the Granite City company and three of its employees in June alleging wrongful repossession of their 2005 Jeep Cherokee that took place at their Jefferson County, Mo. home in February.

Defendants removed the case on the basis of diversity of jurisdiction.

In his remand order, Herndon stated that complete diversity of citizenship does not exist among parties, since defendant Philip Wahby is a citizen of Missouri.

"Complete diversity means that 'none of the parties on either side of the litigation may be a citizen of the state of which a party on the other side is a citizen'," Herndon wrote. "Accordingly, as plaintiffs and defendant Phillip Wahby are both citizens of Missouri, this action must be remanded to the Circuit Court of Madison County, as the Court is without jurisdiction to hear the disputed claims."

In its July 25 removal notice, United Repossessors argued that the allegations involve citizens of different states, which entitles it to removal.

The plaintiffs are residents of Missouri. Defendant URI is a Tennessee company with its principal place of business in Kansas.

Co-defendant TD Auto Finance is a Michigan company with its principal place of business in Michigan.

T.D. Bank, N.A., a national bank organized under the laws of the United States has its main office in Delaware.

The plaintiffs' complaint also alleges assault, battery, conversion, intentional infliction of emotional distress and trespass.

United Repossessors demands a trial by jury.

The Hindrichs accuse TD Finance and URI and its employees of violating the Uniform Commercial Code for wrongfully taking their car.

Michael E. Bub and D. Keith Henson of St. Louis represent United Repossessors.

Attorneys Eric Evans of Granite City and Jason A. Charpentier of St. Louis represent the Hindrichs.

Madison County Circuit Court Case No. 12-L-767

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