Judge Grants MTD in FDCPA Case Alleging Hunstein Disclosure

A District Court judge in Kansas has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss a Hunstein case, ruling that the plaintiff lacked standing to sue because she did not suffer a concrete injury when the defendant used a third-party vendor to print and mail a collection letter.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Nyanjom v. NPAS Solutions can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff accused the defendant of violating Section 1692c(b) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by communicating information about her debt to a third party, which was hired by the defendant to print and mail collection letters. The letter allegedly disclosed her status as a debtor, the existence of the alleged debt, the identity of the creditor, the unpaid balance of the debt, and “other personal information.”

This type of case is referred to as a Hunstein case after Hunstein v. Preferred Collection & Management Services, in which the Eleventh Circuit ruled — and subsequently vacated its ruling in order to rehear the case en banc — that disclosing the existence of a debt to a letter vendor constituted a communication under the FDCPA.

In looking for precedents, Judge Julie A. Robinson of the District Court for the District of Kansas did not have to look far. Last October, Judge Holly L. Teeter of the same District Court ruled a plaintiff lacked standing to sue in another Hunstein case. When looking at the ruling from Judge Teeter, as well as the Supreme Court’s ruling in TransUnion v. Ramirez and the dissenting opinion in the second Hunstein ruling, Judge Robinson had all she needed to reach her decision.

“Indeed, several courts have likened the role of a letter vendor to a ‘modern-day stenographer or clerk,’ noting that the FDCPA has not prohibited certain communications to such ministerial entities as they have done with employers,” Judge Robinson wrote in granting the motion to dismiss.

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