Judge Grants MTD in FDCPA Case Over Dispute Notification in Letter

A District Court judge in Pennsylvania has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss after it was sued for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by not specifically mentioning in the validation notice that a dispute had to be filed in writing, because the plaintiff lacked standing to sue and failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Leszcynski v. D&A Services can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff received a collection letter from the defendant, which included the following statement: “[i]f you dispute the debt, or any part thereof, or request the name and address of the original creditor in writing within the thirty-day period, the law requires our firm to suspend our efforts to collect the debt until we mail the requested information to you.” 

The plaintiff filed suit, alleging the omission of the “in writing” requirement for the dispute to be official violated the FDCPA. The plaintiff alleged he suffered an “informational injury” because he was not fully apprised of his rights under Section 1692g of the FDCPA. even though he never attempted to dispute the debt using the phone, in writing, or via any other means. “Absent an allegation Leszczynski sought to exercise his FDCPA dispute rights, any ‘incorrect’ or ‘erroneous’ statement is not enough to confer standing,” wrote Judge Gerald Pappert of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Even if the plaintiff had standing to sue, his case would have failed because his interpretation of the operative sentence in the validation statement that was the reason for him filing the suit “is not a reasonable alternative interpretation and does not convert the sentence into a plausible FDCPA violation,” Judge Pappert wrote.

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