In one of the first cases to reference a series of rulings from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on the issue of plaintiffs’ standing to sue, a District Court judge in Illinois has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case because the “stress, anxiety, and worry” felt by the plaintiff after receiving a collection letter is not enough for her to have standing to pursue her lawsuit.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Giannini v. Financial Recovery Services can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff received a collection letter from the defendant, attempting to recover a credit card debt of $880.23. The letter offered the plaintiff a payment plan — make three payments of $25 each to give her time to get her finances in order, and then hopefully she would be able to repay the balance in full at that time. The plaintiff filed suit, alleging the letter caused her “stress, anxiety, and worry” because she could not afford the payment plan and the letter did not clearly state that another similar opportunity would be extended to her.
While it filed its motion to dismiss months before the Seventh Circuit issued a series of rulings on the issue of standing, Judge Sara Ellis of the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, nonetheless invoked those rulings when making her decision.
“…the Seventh Circuit’s recent FDCPA standing decisions foreclose Giannini’s attempt to rely solely on the receipt of alleged misinformation to establish concrete harm,” Judge Ellis wrote. “…without accompanying detrimental action, a plaintiff’s confusion, annoyance, and intimidation do not amount to concrete harm for standing purposes.”