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Maor v. Dollar Thrifty Auto. Grp., Inc.

United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division

July 18, 2017, Decided; July 18, 2017, Entered on Docket

Case No. 15-22959-CIV-MARTINEZ-GOODMAN

Opinion

 [*1322]  ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

THIS CAUSE came before the Court upon Defendants Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. d/b/a Dollar Rent A Car, Dollar Rent A Car, Inc., and DTG Operations, Inc.'s (collectively [**2]  "Dollar') Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Class Action Complaint for Breach of Contract, Breach of Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, and Violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act ("FDUTPA") [ECF No. 21]. Dollar, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), seeks dismissal of all Plaintiff Marshall Maor's claims.

Specifically, Dollar presents several arguments in the motion: (1) Maor has not alleged a breach of a contract claim, because the contract terms do not require the toll administrative fee to be related to Dollar's underlying toll administrative costs; (2) the voluntary payment doctrine bars Maor's breach of contract claim; (3) Florida law does not recognize a claim for breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing without a properly pleaded breach of contract claim; (4) Florida law does not recognize a claim for breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing if the claimed covenant would vary the express terms of a contract; and (5) the FDUTPA claim fails because the fees were fully disclosed, and thus, neither deceptive nor unfair. [See id.].

For the reasons explained below, this Court denies Dollar's Motion to Dismiss.

I. Background

This case arises [**3]  out of Dollar Rent-A-Car's rental contract provision that provides for charging certain customers toll costs and an administrative fee per use of an electronic toll booth. [ECF No. 1].1 In  [*1323]  2008, Dollar implemented Electronic Toll Collection ("ETC") for its rental cars, allowing customers to use cashless toll systems. [See id. ¶ 2]. Dollar's standard rental contract contains an express term requiring customers who decline a toll package to pay for any electronic tolls incurred, plus an administrative fee of $15 per occurrence.2 [See id. ¶¶ 2-3]. The specific provision states:

All toll fines (including the use of all cashless toll roads without the purchase of the toll By-pass option) are subject to an admin fee of $15 per violation/occurrence. You authorize us to release your billing/rental information to PlatePass, LLC and ATS Processing Services, LLC to process and bill to your credit card or billing account for the above-mentioned charges.

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303 F. Supp. 3d 1320 *; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 220667 **

MARSHALL MAOR, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff, vs. DOLLAR THRIFTY AUTOMOTIVE GROUP, INC. (d/b/a DOLLAR RENT A CAR), et al., Defendants.

Subsequent History: Summary judgment granted by, Motion denied by, As moot, Judgment entered by Maor v. Dollar Thrifty Auto. Grp, Inc., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168664 (S.D. Fla., Sept. 30, 2018)

CORE TERMS

toll, administrative fees, charges, costs, allegations, customers, deceptive, motion to dismiss, implied covenant of good faith, fair dealing, port, unfair, breach of contract claim, terms of the contract, voluntary payment, pass-through, claim for breach, collecting, consumer, rental, processing, breached, occurrence, terms, administrative costs, rental contract, express terms, cruise line, electronic, Rent

Civil Procedure, Pleading & Practice, Pleadings, Complaints, Responses, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Complaints, Requirements for Complaint, Business & Corporate Compliance, Breach, Breach of Contract Actions, Elements of Contract Claims, Contract Conditions & Provisions, Contracts Law, Contract Conditions & Provisions, Contracts Law, Defenses, Volunteers, Contract Interpretation, Good Faith & Fair Dealing, Antitrust & Trade Law, Consumer Protection, Deceptive & Unfair Trade Practices, State Regulation