1. Earlier this month the Seventh Circuit expanded its typically limited interpretation of what satisfies the injury in fact requirement for purposes of determining whether a party has standing to sue under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act[i] (“FDCPA”). Mack v. Resurgent Cap. Servs., L.P., No. 21-2792, 2023 WL 3861896 (7th Cir. June 7, 2023). Mack sued the owner and servicer of her credit card due to confusion caused by a dunning letter. Among other things, the dunning letter indicated Mack’s credit card balance was $7,179.87 and that her account was sold to LVNV. She did not recognize the company that authored the letter.
  2. As instructed by the dunning letter, Mack disputed the validity of the debt by sending a written request for verification to the collection agency that sent the letter. Instead of providing validation of the debt, the servicer responded it was investigating the inquiry. The confusion arose by the inclusion again of a paragraph which indicated the debt would be considered valid unless Mack disputed the debt in writing. To preserve her rights, Mack sent a second validation request, this time to LVNV’s servicer, thereby incurring $3.95 in mailing costs. Mack never received validation of the debt so she sued the current owner of the credit card account and its servicer for violations of the FDCPA.
  3. The district court dismissed her case finding Mack lacked Article III standing because she failed to allege an injury in fact. The Seventh Circuit reversed finding Mack’s payment of $3.95 for postage to send the second validation letter was a concrete injury which affected Mack “in a personal and individual way” because she expended her own money, time and effort to send the second validation request. The Court held the modest amount of the damages was irrelevant to the injury in fact analysis. The district court was ordered to reinstate the class action suit so the matter could be adjudicated on its merits.

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