CHARLESTON – A federal judge has denied a motion to stay discovery in a lawsuit against John Deere alleging West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act and Federal Truth in Lending Act violations.

Rural King urged the court to enter a protective order and stay discovery on Aug. 17, according to the Oct. 4 opinion and order.

The plaintiff, Clarence Tuell, opposed Rural King’s motion and filed an opposition.

Rural King argued that “the discovery sought by Plaintiff is not relevant to the opposition of the Motion to Dismiss, as Plaintiff has already responded in opposition.”

Rural King contends that “a stay of discovery will not materially delay the disposition of this matter” because “[t]here are no alleged ongoing obligations or other circumstances which necessitate immediate discovery.”

Tuell responded that dismissal is improper in cases where the motion to dismiss tests the allegations in the complaint.

He also responded that a blanket stay of discovery is inappropriate here because Deere Credit Services has not joined in Rural King’s motion, “[t]he case is at its initial stages,” and initial discovery requests are relatively less complex.

“The court finds that a stay of all discovery is inappropriate at this time,” U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. wrote. “Rural King’s co-defendant, Deere, has not joined Rural King in requesting a stay; in fact, Deere has filed a crossclaim against Rural King for indemnity and contribution.”

Copenhaver also said the action does not appear to be fairly complex, and initial discovery requests should not prove over-burdensome.

“At any rate, the court anticipates that Rural King’s motion to dismiss will be afforded the priority of a dispositive motion, and Rural King will have the opportunity to file a more limited motion for stay discovery at a later time if the need arises.”

Tuell filed his lawsuit against John Deere and Rural King in March in Kanawha Circuit Court. It was later removed to federal court.

Tuell claims he went to Rural King on Sept. 16, 2016, and applied for a credit card through Rural King that evening and, once approved, used his new line of credit to purchase a pistol.

Tuell claims before he left Rural King that evening, he looked at several 4x4 side-by-side utility vehicles and, the next morning, he returned to Rural King to get more information about purchasing one of the utility vehicles he had looked at the previous evening.

The plaintiff spoke with a saleswoman named Nancy who told him that he could apply for credit to finance a 4x4 Hisun Motors utility vehicle for personal use through John Deere Financial in the store and he filled out a credit application and Nancy called John Deere Financial to give them the information, according to the suit.

Tuell claims Nancy then told him he was approved for $10,000 credit for the financing and relayed to him that his payment would be fixed at less than $250 per month and that he would be able to pay off the vehicle in four years with approximately seven percent interest.

Based on the defendants’ representations, he decided to purchase the vehicle and, approximately two weeks later, he received a billing statement from John Deere Financial had put him into an open-end revolving credit account with a $10,000 limit with a minimum payment due of $945 and 15.40 percent, according to the suit.

Tuell claims he called John Deere Financial and was told the most the defendant could do for him was allow him to take the vehicle back and pay a $2,000 depreciation loss.

The plaintiff believed he could get the matter corrected and that John Deere would honor what he believed to be the original agreement, he continued to call John Deere Financial almost daily for approximately two weeks, but was consistently rerouted to other departments and disconnected, according to the suit.

Tuell claims he became frustrated and consulted an attorney when he could not resolve the issue with John Deere.

Tuell is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by Loree Stark.

The defendants are represented by J. Mark Adkins and Andrew C. Robey of Bowles Rice; and W. Bradley Sorrells of Robinson & McElwee.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 2:17-cv-02715

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Bowles Rice LLP Robinson & McElwee PLLC

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