In a case that was defended by Rick Perr and the team at Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck, a District Court judge in New Jersey has added attempting to collect on a debt without the proper license to the growing list of claims that do not automatically confer standing for a plaintiff to sue in federal court, granting the defendant’s motion to dismiss because the plaintiff did nothing other than file this lawsuit.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Valentine v. Unifund CCR et al. can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff received a collection letter from the defendant, which indicated the name of the current creditor to whom the debt was owed was “DAP III.” The plaintiff filed suit, alleging that the defendant violated a number of sections of the FDCPA and the New Jersey Consumer Finance Licensing Act because DAP III was not licensed by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance to collect debts in The Garden State.
The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the plaintiff lacked standing to sue because she did not suffer a concrete injury. The plaintiff took no action after receiving the letter other than to file the lawsuit in question, claiming that she and other New Jersey consumers were deprived of truthful, non-misleading information. But that is not enough for the plaintiff to have standing to sue, ruled Judge John Michael Vazquez of the District Court for the District of New Jersey.
“Plaintiff has not otherwise established that merely receiving ‘misleading’ information has a sufficiently ‘close relationship’ to a harm traditionally recognized as providing a basis for a lawsuit in American courts,” wrote Judge Vazquez. “Without more, Plaintiff asserts an ‘informational injury’ that does not constitute an injury in fact.
The judge did give the plaintiff 30 days to file an amended complaint that does a better job of indicating why she should have standing to sue. If an amended complaint is not filed, the case will be closed.