Judge Grants MTD in FDCPA Case Because Plaintiff Wasn’t Specific Enough About Injury

A District Court judge in Georgia has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss and offered a great comparison a technical violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to pick-up basketball after a collection law firm was sued for allegedly violating the FDCPA by accidentally mailing documents in a separate collection suit 20 days later than it indicated.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Daniels v. Aldridge Pite Haan LLP can be accessed by clicking here.

The defendant filed a collection suit against the plaintiff. During the course of that case, the defendant sent the plaintiff’s attorney a “Notice to Introduce Documentary Evidence” but failed to include the particular documents it was planning to introduce. The defendant’s certificate of service said the documents were sent on March 5, 2019, but were actually not mailed until March 25.

The plaintiff filed suit against the defendant, arguing that the failure to include the documents and not sending them for 20 days amounted to engaging in false and deceptive means to collect on a debt. The plaintiff also accused the defendant of a lack of meaningful attorney involvement because of the error to include the documents.

In her complaint, however, the plaintiff included only “generic” references to the harm she suffered and did not provide details about the impact that was had on her original collection suit or the nature or amount of costs she suffered as a result of the delay in receiving he documents.

Citing the pick-up basketball mantra of “no harm, no foul,” Judge Tillman Self of the District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Macon Division, “easily” concluded the plaintiff did not state a “particularized injury-in-fact” to allow her suit to continue.

Noting that the plaintiff never brought the issue of the delay in receiving documents to the state court judge who was overseeing the original collection suit, Judge Self wrote, “If (and that’s a big if) she was truly harmed by a mailing date, then she was under an obligation to tell the Court exactly how that error hurt her. Same for the Notice she so hotly disputes. She has not given details regarding any harm or risk of harm that was caused by the error regarding optional enclosures to the Notice.”

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