New Jersey Federal Court Holds Plaintiff Had Standing to Bring FDCPA Claim for Procedural Violations

The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey recently denied a debt collector’s motion to dismiss a debtor’s claim that a debt collection notice violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) because the notice failed to state that certain requests must be in writing.  See Kausar v. GC Servs. Ltd. P’ship, 2017 WL 5175596 (D.N.J. Nov. 8, 2017).  In the case, plaintiff alleged that she received a debt-collection letter from defendant that violated the FDCPA because it did not state that any requests to verify the debt or obtain information regarding the original creditor must be in writing, as the FDCPA requires.  See 15 U.S.C. § 1692g.  Defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that plaintiff’s claim here was “purely statutory and procedural,” and that plaintiff therefore lacked standing in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct. 1540 (2016), which requires a plaintiff to plead a concrete harm.  The Court disagreed and denied the motion.  Although it acknowledged that the Third Circuit has not addressed how Spokeo affects procedural FDCPA claims, it cited Pisarz v. GC Servs. Ltd. P’ship, 2017 WL 1102636 (D.N.J. Mar. 24, 2017) for the proposition that “the defendant’s failure to provide the statutorily required disclosures” is a concrete harm sufficient to meet Article III standing.  Thus, it denied defendant’s motion. 

For a copy of the decision, please contact Michael O’Donnell at modonnell@riker.com or Michael Crowley at mcrowley@riker.com or Clarissa Gomez at cgomez@riker.com.