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DISCLAIMER: This article is based on a complaint. The defendant has not responded to the complaint to present its side of the case. The claims mentioned are accusations and should be considered as such until and unless proven otherwise.
In an attempt to prove that he or she has standing to sue in federal court, plaintiffs are detailing specific examples of situations where they have had to spend money or where credit has been denied to them because of an alleged error with a debt collector or an item on his or her credit report. For the first time that I have seen, a plaintiff is involving his pet to prove he has standing to pursue a case against a collection agency accused of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act for attempting to collect a debt that the plaintiff claimed he did not owe and for failing to reasonably investigate his dispute.
A copy of the complaint, filed in the District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, can be accessed using case number 23-cv-10460 or by clicking here.
The plaintiff alleges he and his partner were attempting to conceive a child through in-vitro fertilization. After an unfortunate miscarriage, the pair decided to discontinue the process. The plaintiff allegedly informed the clinic that it should destroy all of his genetic material which was being held in storage. During the course of the next five years, the clinic sent the plaintiff three bills requesting payment for storage services. In each instance, the plaintiff contacted the clinic and informed them that the material should have been destroyed, according to his earlier instruction.
The account was placed with the defendant for collection. Last year, the plaintiff checked his credit report and saw three tradelines from the defendant — one for each of the unpaid bills. The plaintiff disputed the debts with the credit reporting agencies, and two of the three agencies reported back that the information being reported was accurate. The three tradelines have allegedly lowered the plaintiff’s credit score, to the point where he was unable to secure sufficient financing through an animal care product to cover emergency surgery for his dog.
The complaint accuses the defendant of violating Section 1681s-2(b) of the FCRA by failing to conduct a reasonable investigation of the plaintiff’s disputes, and Section 1692e of the FDCPA by attempting to collect on a debt the plaintiff claims he does not owe.