California Judge Denies Northern Leasing’s Motion to Dismiss

A California federal judge denied a motion to dismiss a RICO lawsuit from Northern Leasing and affiliate businesses brought on by business owners who claim that they were falsely persuaded into leasing credit card machines under undisclosed and onerous terms.

While the judge did deny the dismissal, she did grant transfer based on forum-selection clauses in the leases. Of the 14 leases in the complaint, 13 specify New York as the chosen forum, while Illinois is the forum for the other.

The original complaint by the plaintiffs in the case claims that Northern Leasing and its affiliate businesses “deceptively“ sold leases for credit card swipe machines only to pile on larger charges than specified in the original agreements. The claim, entered in March, specifically states that the plaintiffs were charged “significantly higher prices than those specified on the first page of the lease” and that these prices far exceeded those of fair market value for the machines in question. The complaint says that the general price point for such equipment is in the vicinity of $500, but that the plaintiffs were charged upwards of $3,000.

Some of the companies in the complaint, including Northern Leasing, were brought up on similar charges by the Attorney General of New York in 2012, but the state’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of the accused companies. The two parties reached a multi-million dollar settlement in 2013.

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