A District Court judge in Georgia has denied a defendant’s motion to dismiss on the grounds that the plaintiff lacks standing to sue, ruling that his claims of being “stressed, anxious, and worried” after receiving a letter attempting to collect a debt he did not believe he owed was enough for him to have suffered a concrete injury, especially after the plaintiff mentioned having had a previous stressful experience with another unpaid medical debt that the plaintiff incurred when he did not have medical insurance.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Bogatschow v. CF Medical et al. can be accessed by clicking here.
Having previously had a motion for summary judgment denied when the issue of standing was not challenged, the defendants attempted to raise the issue separately in the motion to dismiss. The defendants argued that the plaintiff did not suffer a tangible injury and could not establish an intangible harm closely related to a harm traditionally recognized in American courts. But by referencing a previous bad experience with a debt collector, the plaintiff “is not claiming emotional distress because of a trifling technicality,” wrote Chief Judge Marc T. Treadwell of the District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. “He claims he is distressed because the defendants are attempting to force him to pay a substantial debt he does not owe and that the distress caused by the defendants’ conduct has been aggravated by his previous ill treatment at the hands of debt collectors. These allegations are unrefuted — other than questioning the sufficiency of the allegations, the defendants offer nothing disputing Bogatschow’s sworn testimony.”
Judge Treadwell also found precedent within the Eleventh Circuit that established a plaintiff’s standing to sue when he or she suffered mental distress, so he denied the defendant’s motion.