A District Court judge in New Jersey has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss, ruling the plaintiff who received a debt collection letter that allegedly violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not have standing to sue because she never did anything after receiving the letter.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Valentine v. Mullooly, Jeffrey, Rooney & Flynn can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff received a collection letter that identified the current creditor to whom the debt was owed, the original creditor, and the assignee for collection purposes. The plaintiff filed suit, alleging the current creditor purchased and assigned the debt collection despite obtaining a license as a consumer lender in the state of New Jersey. This means that the reference in the letter to the current creditor to whom the debt was owed was therefore false and misleading under the FDCPA.
Using a ruling in almost exactly the same case involving almost exactly the same parties, Judge William J. Martini did not have to do much work to determine the plaintiff did not suffer a concrete injury and thus did not have standing to pursue her lawsuit.
“Plaintiff alleges only that ‘the MJR&F Letter deprived Plaintiff and other New Jersey consumers of truthful, non-misleading, information in connection with Defendants’ attempt to collect a debt.’ She has not alleged that she has experienced any ‘downstream consequences’ or ‘adverse effects’ as a result of the MJR&F Letter, or that she took any ‘action or inaction in reliance’ on it,’ ” Judge Martini wrote. “As such, Plaintiff has not asserted that she has suffered an injury-in-fact sufficient to satisfy the requirements of Article III.”
The plaintiff tried to argue that a violation of her statutory rights was enough to have standing and that every violation of the law presumes an injury, citing cases from the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the Supreme Court, but Judge Martini wasn’t swayed.