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Judge Dismisses FDCPA Case Over Lack of Standing

A District Court judge in Michigan has dismissed a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case that was filed by a plaintiff who alleged he was “bullied” by a defendant because the plaintiff did not suffer any actual injury in the case.

A copy of the ruling in Burns v. Midland Funding, LLC, can be accessed by clicking here.

The defendant filed suit against the plaintiff in a Michigan state court to recover an unpaid debt. The plaintiff claims he was never served with a summons, and a default judgment was entered against the plaintiff. The plaintiff filed a motion to have the judgment set aside because the service of the summons was fraudulent. A judge set aside the judgment when the defendant was “unable to oppose” the motion.

The defendant filed another suit against the plaintiff seeking to recover the same debt. This time, the plaintiff entered into a consent agreement with the defendant. But the plaintiff alleged the defendant did “not possess adequate documentation/proof of the debt before filing lawsuits against debtors,” and that he was “bullied into signing a consent judgment.”

Because the plaintiff did not dispute the amount that was owed and could not dispute that the second affidavit inaccurately stated the amount that was owed, there was no standing for the plaintiff to file suit, ruled Judge Avern Cohn of the District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division.

The plaintiff alleged the defendant “filed the affidavit without being in possession of requisite supporting documentation,” which, if true, Judge Cohn wrote, amounted to a “bare, procedural violation” and did not confer any harm onto the plaintiff.

“The record shows that even if Midland had followed the procedure in which Burns says Midland must file affidavits, the outcome here would have been the same,” Judge Cohn wrote. “If Midland had obtained more documentation and filed a properly supported affidavit, the parties would be in the same positions as they are now. This supports the Court’s conclusion that Burns has suffered no injury.”

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