A defendant in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case may have won the battle in having its motion for summary judgment granted for lack of standing, but could end up losing the war after a Magistrate Court judge granted a plaintiffs’ motion for Reconsideration, Correction, and Remand, sending the case back to state court.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Stone v. J&M Securities can be accessed by clicking here.
This case highlights the high-wire act that defendants must traverse when arguing that a plaintiff lacks standing to sue in federal court. While having its summary judgment motion granted might seem like a win, but the victory only ends up changing the location where the next battle must be fought. And fighting battles in state court is a lot different than fighting it in federal court.
In this case, the plaintiffs filed suit in state court, alleging the defendant violated the FDCPA and state law in Missouri by abusing the process of serving a summons and complaint and wrongful garnishment. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue because there was no evidence that the plaintiffs suffered a concrete injury. The judge granted the motion, but that triggered the plaintiffs to file their motion for reconsideration, arguing that if they lacked standing, the only option was to remand the case back to state court.
“Although Plaintiffs did not argue that the Court should remand this action rather than dismiss it in the course of their responses to Defendant’s arguments regarding standing, because the Court found that Plaintiffs lacked standing to bring their FDCPA claims, the Court never had jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ claims, and it was manifest error to rule on the merits of those claims,” wrote Judge Shirley Padmore Mensah of the District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. “To correct that error, this case must be remanded to the state court from which it was removed.”