A District Court judge in New York has disagreed with both the plaintiff and defendant in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case and remanded the case back to state court for lack of standing, ruling that the plaintiff did not suffer a concrete injury based on the claims that he alleged in his amended complaint.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Campbell v. Portfolio Recovery Associates can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff received two collection letters from the defendant attempting to collect on an unpaid credit card debt. The letters informed the plaintiff that the statute of limitations related to the debts had expired. After accessing his credit report, the plaintiff discovered that the defendant was reported the unpaid debt to the credit reporting agencies, but did not include any reference to the fact that the statute of limitations had expired.
The plaintiff filed a lawsuit in state court in New York, accusing the defendant of violating the FDCPA. The defendant had the case removed to federal court, at which point it sought to have the case dismissed. Judge Pamela K. Chen of the District Court for the Eastern District of New York then ordered both sides to make their arguments why the case should remain in federal court and not be remanded back to state court. Neither side was successful.
Among the plaintiff’s arguments why he suffered a concrete injury was that he was attempting to obtain financing and was negatively impacted by the defendant’s actions of not mentioning the expiration of the statute of limitations when reporting the debt. But damage to a credit score does not reach the level of the kind of injury needed to meet the threshold of a concrete injury, Judge Chen ruled. Nor did the plaintiff’s argument that distributing inaccurate information to a credit reporting agency or suffering emotional damages help the plaintiff establish standing convince Judge Chen to keep the case in federal court.