The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) was passed to prohibit a debt collector from engaging in abusive debt collection practices. The FDCPA serves to protect a consumer by giving a consumer a statutory claim against an abusive debt collector. In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, ruled that a party pursuing a statutory claim, like an FDCPA claim, must meet the Article III standing requirements of the U.S. Constitution. To establish the first element of the Article III standing analysis, the plaintiff must prove that they suffered a “concrete and particularized” injury.
After Spokeo, federal circuit courts have determined whether a certain intangible injury sustained by a consumer qualifies as a concrete injury under the first element of the Article III standing analysis. For example, circuit courts have had to determine whether a consumer’s confusion or a debt collector’s omission caused a consumer to suffer a concrete injury.
This memorandum examines what types of intangible injuries satisfy the concrete injury prong under the first element of the Article III standing analysis. Part I of this memorandum outlines the FDCPA requirements and the Article III requirements for a consumer to have standing to bring an FDCPA claim in federal court. Part II of this memorandum explains how circuit courts are split over what intangible injuries—including: (A) confusion, (B) stress or anxiety, and (C) omissions—are “concrete” under Article III.