Judge Grants MSJ For Defendant in FDCPA Case Over Misstated Debt Amount in Letter

After defaulting on a credit card debt, having a judgment issued against you, and then receiving four more collection letters seeking to collect on a debt, is there anyone who thinks that the next letter is going to induce an individual to repay the debt? But because the balance was lower in that next letter, the individual sued the collection law firm attempting to collect for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Fortunately, for the collector, a District Court judge granted its motion for summary judgment, ruling the plaintiff lacked standing because as she mentioned during her deposition testimony, she “had no intention of attempting to pay the debt because she did not have the means to do so.”

A copy of the ruling in the case of Kola v. Forster & Garbus can be accessed by clicking here.

Ultimately, Judge Cathy Seibel of the District Court for the Southern District of New York, ruled that the material harm claimed by the plaintiff — the accrual of post-judgment interest — was going to occur regardless of whether the balance in the final letter was accurate or not, and that the plaintiff was left “in no worse financial position with regard to the debt than she would have been if it had never been sent or had included an explanation of the different balances that eliminated Plaintiff’s confusion.”

The uncertainty and confusion felt by the plaintiff over the amount that was owed became nothing more than “hypothetical, speculative” concerns when she declared during her deposition that she had no intention of repaying the debt because she did not have the means to do so. But the plaintiff’s financial situation might change and she may become able to repay the debt in the future. Even so, “the mere risk of future harm” is insufficient to confer standing, Judge Seibel ruled.

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