Judge Grants MTD Over Lack of Standing on QR Code Case

A District Court judge in Pennsylvania has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss a class-action lawsuit, ruling a plaintiff lacked standing to sue after claiming that a collector violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by including “Personal & Confidential” on the outside of an envelope containing a collection letter and because “data symbols similar to a QR code” were visible through the envelope’s glassine window.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Nyanhongo v. Credit Collection Services can be accessed by clicking here.

The defense argued that the plaintiff did not more than plead about a violation of the statute because she did not claim to suffer an invasion of privacy, financial harm, or any other injury.

The Third Circuit has established precedent that the visibility of a QR code was enough to establish a concrete injury — in cases such as DiNaples v. MRS BPO — but in order to establish a concrete injury, the plaintiff has to say what damage the visibility of the QR code caused.

Ultimately, the plaintiff did not provide enough facts specific to her claim to confer standing to continue the suit, ruled Judge Gerald Pappert of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiff said nothing in her complaint about what information the data symbols revealed and what injury that revelation caused, Judge Pappert noted.

The plaintiff did not establish standing because she did “not clearly allege facts explaining how the information on the envelope conveyed ‘private information,’ ‘implicate[d] core privacy concerns,’ or otherwise cause a concrete injury,” Judge Pappert wrote.

The complaint alleged nothing more than a bare procedural violation of the Section 1692f(8) of the FDCPA, Judge Pappert ruled.

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