In Bock v. Pressler & Pressler, LLP, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit requested supplemental briefs applying Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins to the Article III standing issue at bar. As we previously reported, the Court requested targeted discussion on whether a violation of the statutory right at issue was by itself a concrete harm or merely a bare procedural violation necessitating an independent showing of consequential harm. In response to this request, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) filed a supplemental amicus brief and argues that a violation of the statutory right to truthful information in debt-collection communication is sufficient in itself to show concrete injury.

In Spokeo, the U.S. Supreme Court indicated that to satisfy the “injury in fact” requirement for Article III standing, there must be a showing of “an invasion of a legally protected interest” that is “concrete” and “particularized.”  An injury that affects a person “in a personal and individual way” is particularized; and, an injury that “actually exists” and is “real” and not abstract is concrete.

Regarding the “particularized” prong, the CFPB explains that the alleged violation “affected Bock in a personal and individual way because Pressler & Pressler misrepresented to Bock that an attorney had been meaningfully involved in the lawsuit filed against him.” However, as the Court requested, the bulk of CFPB’s argument centers on the “concrete” prong.

Regarding the “concrete” prong, the CFPB bases its argument on the Supreme Court’s decision in Havens Realty Corp. v. Coleman which involved a right under the FHA to truthful information regarding the availability of housing. Under Havens Realty, the CFPB claims that “a person who has been subjected to a misrepresentation made unlawful by [the FDCPA] suffers a concrete injury that satisfies Article III.”  Therefore, the CFPB argues that unlawful misrepresentation under the FDCPA is analogous to unlawful misrepresentation under the FHA and thus constitutes concrete injury in itself.