There is no doubt that the legal process can be overwhelming and confusing for many consumers. But losing sleep and suffering emotional distress because you think the fight is over before it actually is does not endow that consumer standing to turn around and sue the collector, a District Court judge in Illinois has ruled, granting a defendant’s motion to dismiss.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Milisavljevic v. Midland Credit Management can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff was sued for an unpaid credit card debt. When the plaintiff failed to respond to the summons and complaint, the defendant filed a motion for default judgment. As a matter of course, it sent the motion, along with an unsigned and undated order, to the plaintiff. Reading the unsigned and undated order, the plaintiff thought he had already lost the suit and opted not to do anything to try and fight it. After the default judgment was entered against the plaintiff, he obtained legal representation, and turned around and filed a class-action lawsuit against the defendants for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Along with reciting the standard language of a standing requirement in his complaint, the plaintiff also said he suffered “severe emotional distress,” “lost sleep,” and had to hire “an attorney to seek to vacate the judgment” as a result of the defendant’s actions.
But none of the plaintiff’s arguments amount to having standing to sue, ruled Judge John F. Kness of the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. At the end of the day, the plaintiff did not allege that he was forced to pay money he did not owe, Judge Kness noted. “In fact, Plaintiff’s ongoing efforts to vacate the default judgment undermine his contention that his inaction was ‘detrimental,’ ” Judge Kness wrote in granting the motion to dismiss.