Judge Remands FDCPA Class Action Back to State Court Over Lack of Standing

A District Court judge in New York has remanded a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act class-action lawsuit back to state court, ruling that the plaintiff did not suffer a concrete injury to keep the case in federal court.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Pollak v. Portfolio Recovery Associates can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff originally filed the suit in state court, but the defendant removed it to federal court and attempted to argue that the plaintiff did suffer a concrete injury because he alleged in his complaint that he hired an attorney to help prosecute his claim and because he was seeking damages. But neither of those facts was enough for the defendant to convince Judge Pamela K. Chen of the District Court for the Eastern District of New York that the plaintiff had suffered enough of an injury to have standing to sue in federal court.

In his complaint, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant violated the FDCPA when it sent him a collection letter that allegedly misrepresented the enforceability of a debt, was “materially misleading” regarding the ownership of the debt, was “materially deceptive” regarding the validity of the debt, and because the amount that was alleged to be owed was “overstated.”

Hiring an attorney “cannot be the sole basis for standing,” noted Judge Chen, while also pointing out that the plaintiff did not allege “that he suffered any concrete harm resulting directly from Defendant’s alleged statutory violations.”

Ultimately, the plaintiff did not spend time, money, or effort mitigating the sufficient risk of harm associated with the alleged injuries that he suffered, Judge Chen ruled.

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