The Tides are Turning: Recent Trends in FDCPA Standing

After the U.S. Supreme Court decided Spokeo in 2016, there was an unfulfilled moment of hope. Defendants in Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) cases would file motions to dismiss based on lack of standing only for the courts to repeatedly deny those motions. Spokeo required that plaintiffs prove their injury is concrete and particularized, but courts followed a pattern of finding that statutory damages — such as the ones permitted through the FDCPA — were concrete enough. It took a few years, but the winds are now blowing in the other direction and a new trend is emerging: a no harm, no foul approach to FDCPA standing.

This new trend began in the 11th Circuit with the Trichell case and it's not barreling down at full speed in several other circuit courts of appeal. The 11th Circuit’s “no harm, no foul” approach to standing has now seen its partners in the Seventh Circuit, which issued an avalanche of decisions in December finding that the respective FDCPA plaintiffs had no standing to bring their claim, as well as the Ninth Circuit. 

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