District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer


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Suez Water—regulated by the N.Y. Pub. Serv. Comm’n (NYPSC)—supplied water to the Huh’s home. The Huhs claim that a $448.83 bill was incorrectly calculated. They did not dispute that the rates on which their bill was based were in accord with an operative tariff approved by the NYPSC. Before the NYPSC could resolve their “high bill” complaint, the Huhs abandoned it in favor of their putative class action under the Class Action Fairness Act, asserting contract breach and tort claims as well as deceptive business practices violating New York General Business Law §349. Considering the four factors in Ellis v. Tribune Television Co., 443 F.3d 71, the court granted Suez Water dismissal under the primary jurisdiction doctrine, without prejudice to the Huhs’ pursuit of claims after exhausting their remedies before the NYPSC. The NYPSC is the entity that commonly addresses whether a water meter functions properly within regulatory limits. To the extent the Huhs sought compensation based on an allegedly defective water meter, their complaint implicated NYPSC policy determinations. Further, their initial pursuit of the NYPSC remedy reinforced that the NYPSC is best equipped, in the first instance, to address the Huhs’ claims.