Judge Grants MTD in FDCPA Case Over Lack of Standing

A District Court judge in Florida has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss after it was sued for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because it lumped the principal, interest, fees, and expenses it was owed into one amount when filing a proof of claim after the plaintiff filed for bankruptcy protection. The judge granted the defendant’s motion because the plaintiff lacked the necessary standing to sue, since she never claimed to have suffered any harm by the defendant’s actions.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Hill v. Resurgent Capital Services can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff defaulted on a retail credit card debt more than two decades ago, which ended up being sold to a debt buyer. The plaintiff filed for bankruptcy protection last year, and the debt buyer filed a proof of claim, saying she owed $1,150.04 in principal only. But the plaintiff believes that amount includes interest and fees as well as principal, so she filed suit against the defendant, claiming it violated Section 1692e(2)(A) of the FDCPA, which prohibits misrepresenting the amount owed.

But the plaintiff forgot to illustrate the harm that she suffered as a result of the defendant’s actions. In fact, noted Judge Federico Moreno of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division, not only did the plaintiff forget to allege a tangible injury, she did not even allege an abstract or intangible injury.

Along with failing to show a concrete injury, the plaintiff also failed to articulate a particularized injury, Judge Moreno noted. “Instead of claiming that she was at risk of having to contest the allegedly false proof of claim, she writes only that ‘unsophisticated consumers,’ if placed in her position, would have been forced to ‘use their limited resources to object to unsupported claims,’ ” Judge Moreno wrote. “Without alleging personal injury, her claim fails on its face.”

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