court finds plaintiff lacks standing to assert claim with FDCPA based on disputed credit information | Man’s pepper with trout
In Tolliver v. Nat’l Credit Sys., Inc., n ° 20-cv-728-jdp (WD Wis. September 22, 2021), the Western District of Wisconsin found that the plaintiff lacked standing to assert his claims for violation of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), in which he alleged that a debt collector failed to notify agencies Information on Consumers (CRA) that the plaintiff was disputing the debts in question.
Plaintiff Scott Tolliver had a pair of debts with defendant National Credit related to past due rents. He claims to have sent letters to National Credit, disputing these debts in August 2019. Because National Credit did not report the disputed debts to the rating agencies, he filed a lawsuit, alleging violations of Section 1692e ( 8) of the FDCPA, which prohibits debt collectors from “[c]Communicating or threatening to disclose to anyone credit information that is known or should be known to be false, including failure to communicate that a disputed debt is disputed.
National Credit denied ever having received the letter in question and disputed whether Tolliver had standing to assert his claims. The court ruled that although the defendant had received the letters, Tolliver’s claims did not demonstrate that he had suffered prejudice in fact and granted summary judgment to Credit National.
In arguing that he had standing to present his claims, Tolliver asserted that he had suffered four tangible damages: (1) the risk of financial harm caused by inaccurate information on his credit report; (2) reputational damage caused by National Credit providing false information to credit reporting agencies; (3) emotional distress; and (4) the time and resources spent due to the violation of the FDCPA by National Credit.
The court rejected the first argument, finding that Tolliver had produced no evidence to show that National Credit’s failure to notify rating agencies of its dispute had damaged its credit or created a risk of financial harm. In addition, she concluded that her claim for damage to reputation in this context was identical to her claim for risk of financial harm. Regarding the allegation of emotional distress, the court held that “being ‘confused and aggravated’ because of misinformation that violates the FDCPA is not in itself prejudice, in the absence of other prejudice. concrete. “Finally, the court dismissed Tolliver’s claim that the time he spent and the expenses he incurred in bringing his lawsuit constituted prejudice, stating:”[i]If the time spent on a legal action was sufficient to give standing for the same legal action, then a claimant would have standing. all Case.”
This case provides another example of standing requirements in the context of claims under the FDCPA. In addition to establishing a technical violation of the law, claimants must demonstrate that they suffered actual and tangible harm in order for their claims to survive.