Article 3 Standing and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Courts in the United States cannot enter a ruling on anything that a judge finds interesting or on any matter that a judge thinks is important. There are a number of requirements before someone can bring a lawsuit to a court, one of which is that they have to have an actual injury. Lawsuits can’t be speculative in nature, the person who files a lawsuit has to explain to the court how exactly they were injured by the conduct of the person they sued. Sometimes the injury is an actual, physical injury, sometimes it is a failure to pay a contract, sometimes it is emotional distress but to file a lawsuit a person has to articulate some manner in which they were injured by the person they sue. Having an actual injury is sometimes referred to informally as a required element of “Article 3 standing”

How Debt Collectors Violate The FDCPA

One argument that debt collectors sometimes try to make to escape liability under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) is that the person they harassed was not actually injured in any way. Debt collectors often lie to members of the public about how much is actually owed upon a debt, which is a violation of the FDCPA. Some debt collectors argue that since their lie did not create any actual injury, that their victim lacks Article 3 standing. Fortunately, the law in Florida is clear on this point and numerous cases have held found that such persons also have standing, but it is always good to see supporting decisions from courts in nearby states.

A new decision was just entered on the issue in the Sixth Circuit in the case of Macy & Stone v. GC Services Limited Partnership, Case No. 17-5593. In that case, a debt collector claimed that because they had not actually injured their victim in any way, that the person who sued them lacked standing and could not sue them. The Sixth Circuit held, as is the law in Florida, that the FDCPA creates new right for members of the public, so if for example, a debt collector lies about how much is due on a debt (even if the lie did not in any other way damage the person) the person they lied to still has standing because a violation of the right is the injury.

Learn more about creditor harassment and FDCPA laws here.

The Loan Lawyers Are Here to Help

At Loan Lawyers, we have assisted thousands of homeowners and consumers in Fort Lauderdale and throughout South Florida with debt relief and foreclosure defense solutions. We have saved over 1,800 homes from foreclosure, eliminated $100,000,000 in mortgage principal and consumer debt, and have collected millions of dollars on behalf of our clients due to the bank, loan servicer, and debt collector violations, negligence and fraud. Contact us for a free consultation or call us directly at 1-888-Fight13 (344-4813).