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No Harm No Foul Under FDCPA for 9th Time in 5 Months Says 7th Circuit

  • Written by Steel Rose

Yet another Seventh Circuit decision has affirmed that a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) does not, by itself, create an injury-in-fact sufficient for Article III standing. This time, however, two judges concurring in judgment voiced their belief that the circuit has gone too far in its interpretation of the Supreme Court’s Spokeo v. Robins holding.

The case, Markakos v. Medicredit, Inc., marks the ninth decision by the Seventh Circuit in the past five months to hold that a breach of the FDCPA, standing alone, does not amount to an injury-in-fact. Plaintiff Rose Markakos asserted defendant Medicredit, Inc. violated the FDCPA by sending her a collection letter that did not include the creditor’s correct legal name. She also asserted that, after she disputed the debt through her attorney, Medicredit violated the FDCPA again by sending a second letter that listed a different amount owed than the first letter. Importantly, she did not allege that she paid more than she owed on the debt or that her response to the debt was altered by the alleged misinformation.

The three-judge panel affirmed the district court’s dismissal without prejudice, holding that Markakos lacked standing because she did not allege the deficient information caused her harm. Citing the “slew of cases” the circuit has recently decided on this issue, the court rejected the plaintiff’s argument that she suffered an informational injury. Since the violation did not cause her to pay extra money, affect her credit, or alter her response to the debt, she was not harmed. Although the majority opinion’s authoring judge considered the resolution of the standing issue “quite straightforward,” the opinion went further to justify the circuit’s recent injury-in-fact precedent in response to critiques from individual judges on the Seventh Circuit. To read more click here