A District Court judge in Florida has granted a plaintiff’s motion to remand a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case back to state court where it was originally filed and denied a defendant’s motion to dismiss as moot, ruling the claims made by the plaintiff were not sufficient for the case to have standing in federal court. The judge also denied a motion from the plaintiff for attorney’s fees and costs.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Hall v. Midland Credit Management can be accessed by clicking here.
The complaint was originally filed in Florida state court, accusing the defendant of violating the FDCPA when it sent a letter to the plaintiff offering to settle the debt for less than the full balance that was owed. The letter would allegedly confuse a least sophisticated consumer into thinking that the only way to get the defendant to stop contacting the plaintiff was to accept one of the offers that were being made in the letter. The complaint accuses the defendant of violating Sections 1692e and 1692e(10) of the FDCPA.
The defendant removed the case to federal court, then filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the plaintiff failed to state a claim. But the complaint does not allege that the plaintiff suffered a concrete harm, noted Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr., of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida. In fact, neither of the claims made by the plaintiff detail “any sort of alleged harm or damage at all,” just the the conduct of the defendant allegedly violated the FDCPA. Citing the ruling in Hunstein, Judge Scola wrote, “The Plaintiff never alleges that the Plaintiff accepted any of the Defendant’s offers of settlement, was harmed in some way by the resolution of those offers, or suffered some loss based on the provision of the offers. Simply stating that a Defendant’s conduct has violated a statute is not sufficient to establish a concrete injury-in-fact that will sustain federal standing.”
Ruling that the removal to federal court was not “objectively unreasonable,” Judge Scola declined to award attorney’s fees to the plaintiff.