Fishkin Lucks prevailed on a motion to dismiss a putative class action brought against its client, Western Union, in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. The named plaintiff, who resides in France, filed the action in the Superior Court of New Jersey (Morris County), asserting claims on his own behalf and on behalf of a global class of all consumers who sent money transfers from Western Union locations outside the United States to the United States, or paid for money transfers with funds debited from a United States bank account. The plaintiff asserted common law misrepresentation and omission claims and a statutory cause of action brought under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, challenging the sufficiency of Western Union’s disclosures concerning the foreign exchange rate that it applied to money transfers. The Firm removed the action pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act and then moved to dismiss, arguing that for several reasons, the plaintiff had failed to state a viable claim.
In response to the Firm’s motion, plaintiff amended his complaint to narrow the putative class to Western Union customers who sent money transfers from France to the United States, or to other countries when using funds debited from a United States bank account. The Firm moved to dismiss the amended complaint on two independent grounds. First, we argued that given the inherently France-centric nature of the plaintiff’s claims, his lawsuit belongs, if anywhere, in France, and it should therefore be dismissed under the doctrine of forum non conveniens. Second, we demonstrated that as in the complaint, the claims in the amended complaint failed as a matter of law (under both New Jersey and French law), because the plaintiff had failed to identify any actionable misrepresentation or omission, or violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
In a detailed opinion, the Court (McNulty, J.) granted our motion to dismiss on the basis of forum non conveniens, agreeing that given the French-focused nature of plaintiff’s allegations, the claims belong, if anywhere, in France. Moreover, the Court noted that while it did not need to reach our arguments that the plaintiff had failed to state a claim, it is “far from obvious” that his claims would have survived a motion to dismiss.