Before the Third Circuit addresses whether a four-second review of a debt collection complaint constitutes “meaningful attorney involvement” under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the appellate court will first decide the potential implications of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins.
As we previously reported, Pressler & Pressler LLP (“Pressler”), a debt collection law firm, allegedly violated the FDCPA by reviewing the plaintiff’s file for only four seconds before filing a debt collection complaint. The district court ruled in favor of the plaintiff and Pressler appealed to the Third Circuit. The Court heard oral arguments in November 2015.
In light of the Spokeo decision, the Third Circuit recently requested that the parties file responses to address the applicability of the high court’s decision. In Spokeo, the Supreme Court held that a mere technical, statutory violation is insufficient to confer Article III standing. Pressler argued that the plaintiff’s suit should be dismissed as it alleges no actual damages and nothing that could be construed as a concrete harm. On the other hand, the plaintiff argued that he suffered an injury-in-fact, namely in the form of the firm’s “misrepresentation that there was an attorney meaningfully involved in its suit against him.” The plaintiff claims that he sufficiently alleged a “cognizable informational injury,” which according to him, satisfies Article III standards.
We will continue to monitor this case and report on the Third Circuit’s ultimate ruling and related opinions from other courts as they consider the broader implications of the Supreme Court’s Spokeo decision.