There’s nothing inherently unique about the substantive issues in Burzlaff v. Thoroughbred Motorsports, Inc., No. 13-2520 (July 10, 2014), a decision released yesterday by the Seventh Circuit. The plaintiff, Ronald Burzlaff, purchased what he alleged was a defective “Stallion” motorized tricycle from Thoroughbred Motorsports and then brought claims against Thoroughbred under the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2301 et seq., and Wisconsin’s Lemon Law, Wis. Stat. § 218.0171. A jury found for him on both claims.
But the case contains a unique jurisdictional twist—one that the Seventh Circuit (in an opinion written by Judge Hamilton) described as “turn[ing] the usual pattern of supplemental jurisdiction on its head.” Slip Op. 5. Oddly enough, given the facts of the case, the district court did not have original jurisdiction for the federal claim under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, but did have original jurisdiction over the state-law claim under Wisconsin’s Lemon Law. It then exercised its supplemental jurisdiction—appropriately, the Seventh Circuit held—over the federal claim.