Judge Grants MTD in FDCPA Case Over Issue with Statement in Letter

A District Court judge in Kentucky has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case, ruling the plaintiff’s anxiety and confusion after receiving a collection letter does not give the plaintiff standing to file her lawsuit.

Background: The plaintiff received a collection letter from the defendant, which included a statement, ““[t]he amount owed is subject to change if an additional invoice is placed for collection or a credit is processed by Waste Management and applied to your account.” The plaintiff claimed this statement confused her and created an uncertainty as to the amount owed. But, as in many similar cases, rather than try to make a payment, dispute the debt, or contact the defendant, the plaintiff opted to file suit, claiming the letter violated Sections 1692e and 1692e(10) of the FDCPA and that the injury she suffered was the kind of injury Congress sought to eliminated when it enacted the statute. The plaintiff also failed to claim that she would have made a payment or disputed the debt if the letter were worded differently.

Lack of Precedent: The plaintiff cited a number of cases in which standing was granted when a violation of Section 1692e was alleged, but none of those cases were decided within the Sixth Circuit, noted Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings of the District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. Existing precedent within the Sixth Circuit holds that confusion and anxiety are not enough for a plaintiff to have standing.

“… this Court has interpreted Garland to stand for the principle that confusion and anxiety are not injuries in fact,” wrote Judge Jennings.

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