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Anxiety From Debt Collection Letter Not Enough for Suit

  • Written by Steel Rose

A man who claimed a law firm raised his anxiety with a debt collection letter failed to convince the Sixth Circuit that he suffered enough of an injury to justify a lawsuit under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.

Freddie Garland sued Orlans PC, which sent him a letter as it acted on behalf of Wells Fargo Mortgage Inc. to collect a mortgage debt. The letter said the foreclosure process had begun but that “foreclosure prevention alternatives” may still be available.

Garland claimed the letter raised his anxiety because it suggested the law firm may have concluded his prospects for avoiding foreclosure were diminished.

The district court threw out Garland’s FDCPA claim and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over his Michigan state law claim. Garland appealed but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed.

The appeals court held May 28 that Garland’s allegations “come up short” related to proving the statutory violations caused him individualized concrete harm. Garland alleged confusion and anxiety stemming from the letter, and “confusion” was easily tossed as enough of a harm for standing. Confusion doesn’t have “a close relationship to a harm that has traditionally been regarded as providing a basis for a lawsuit,” the court said. To read more click here.