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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:P.B. Meekey and Michael Fulmer sued several strip clubs under Finance Code �339.001. They alleged that while the clubs charged $20 for a lap dance by one of the dancers, their credit cards were being charged $25 for each dance. This extra $5 was an illegal surcharge, the plaintiffs alleged. The clubs asserted that the dancers, who are independent contractors, charge the additional $5 to cover the cost of credit card transactions that go through the club. The trial court granted the clubs’ plea to the jurisdiction, ruling that the Finance Commission had exclusive primary jurisdiction over the suit. The plaintiffs thus sought review from the Finance Commission and the Consumer Credit Commissioner, both of whom declined to review the case. Both the commission and the commissioner stated that contrary to what the trial court had ruled, no administrative remedies are available through the Finance Commission. Proper jurisdiction would be in trial court, the commission advised. With these letters in hand, the plaintiffs asked the trial court for a new trial, but their request was denied. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. The clubs still contend on appeal that the commission has exclusive jurisdiction over the dispute. They argue that Finance Code ��11.304 and 14.101 give the commission authority to adopt rules necessary to supervise the consumer credit commissioner and to enforce subtitles B and C of Title 4. The court points out that while these sections do give the commission authority to regulate, they say nothing about exclusive jurisdiction over a dispute brought under �339.001, which is under Subtitle A of Title 4. Nor does the language in �11.304 clearly or plainly state that the legislature intended to replace a consumer’s common law remedies with the exclusive remedy of seeking relief from the commission. The court rejects the clubs’ argument that even if exclusive jurisdiction was not expressly established, the commission’s jurisdiction is established by the pervasive regulatory scheme in place her. The court does not believe that such a pervasive scheme exists here. While �339.001 prohibits assessment of a surcharge on credit card purchases, unlike the Tax Code, the Finance Code provides no remedy for the enforcement of �339.001. Consequently, neither the commission nor the commissioner have exclusive original jurisdiction over this case. Nor do these agencies have primary jurisdiction, which permits an administrative agency to initially decide an issue when: 1. an agency is typically staffed with experts trained in handling the complex problems in the agency’s purview; and 2. great benefit is derived from an agency’s uniformly interpreting its laws, rules, and regulations, where courts and juries may reach different results under similar fact situations. The court finds both requirements lacking, noting that the commission is no more qualified to make a determination on technical interpretations of the code that a trial court or a jury. OPINION:Charles W. Seymore, J.; Edelman, Seymore and Guzman, JJ.

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