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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

District Court finds “negative emotions” alone do not establish standing under the FDCPA

Courts Debt Collection Standing FDCPA


Recently, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri granted a debt collector’s motion to dismiss, finding that the plaintiff’s allegations of injury after receiving one letter that violated the FDCPA did not establish standing. The plaintiff sued the debt collector under Sections 1692e and 1692g of the FDCPA, alleging that the defendant (i) made false and misleading representations, and (ii) continued to collect the debt without proper validation by sending the plaintiff a collection letter with the wrong account number and purporting the plaintiff is personally liable for her deceased husband’s medical debt. The plaintiff asserted her injuries because of receiving the letter included expending time and money to mitigate the risk of future financial harm and fear, anxiety, and stress, which “manifested physically in the form of increased heartrate.”

The court found that the plaintiff did not allege sufficient facts to establish, or for the court to infer, a tangible injury because the plaintiff only stated she lost money without providing additional detail on what that entailed. Additionally, the court relied on the holdings of Courts of Appeals and found that the plaintiff’s alleged emotions of fear, anxiety, and stress alone do not state a cognizable or “particularized, concrete” injury.