The Eleventh Circuit recently released an unpublished decision regarding its opinion on the impact of Spokeo on a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act putative class action, finding that the named plaintiff satisfied Article III standing requirement.
In Church v. Accretive Health, Inc., the defendant sent the named plaintiff a letter advising her that she owed a hospital debt. The letter allegedly did not include certain disclosures required by the FDCPA. The plaintiff claimed that upon receiving the letter in question, she “was very angry” and “cried a lot.” Plaintiff filed suit in Alabama federal court. The district court originally granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, holding that the defendant was not a “debt collector” under the Act.
On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit first considered whether the Court possessed subject matter jurisdiction in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins – an issue that was not previously raised in the lower court. The appellate court held that because the debt collection letter did not include FDCPA-required disclosures, the plaintiff had sufficiently alleged a concrete injury.
Church is only one of many cases across the country where parties have filed motions to dismiss in the wake of the Spokeo decision. Troutman Sanders will continue to monitor Spokeo-related developments.