United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge
matter is before the court on Plaintiff Alexandria
Stockman's (Stockman) motion for summary judgment,
Plaintiff Elliott Gonzalez's (Gonzalez) motion for
summary judgment, and Defendant Credit Protection
Association, LP's (CPA) motions for summary judgment. For
the reasons stated below, CPA's motions for summary
judgment are granted and Plaintiffs' motions for summary
judgment are denied.
Stockman and Gonzalez have brought separate actions that have
not been consolidated, their claims are premised on identical
statements in the collection letters sent to each of them and
are brought against the same Defendant. Although the record
reflects that Stockman and Gonzalez gave individual testimony
at their depositions, there are no material differences in
their claims that would require a separate analysis for their
claims. The summary judgment briefs filed by both sides in
both cases are also nearly identical. In the interest of
judicial efficiency, the court will therefore enter one
memorandum opinion for both cases.
admit that they failed to pay Peoples Gas Light & Coke
Company (PGLCC) and that they owed an unpaid debt to PGLCC.
In October 2015, PGLCC allegedly submitted Gonzalez's
account to CPA for collection. In December 2015 CPA allegedly
sent Gonzalez a collection letter. In June 2016, CPA
allegedly submitted Stockman's account to CPA for
collection and CPA allegedly sent Stockman a collection
letter. The relevant portions of the collections letters sent
to Stockman and Gonzalez were identical. Plaintiffs contend
that the language in the collection letters constituted
technical violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices
Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692 et seq. and
that they suffered some concerns and distress as a result.
Plaintiffs have each moved for summary judgment and CPA has
moved for summary judgment in both cases.
judgment is appropriate when the record, viewed in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party, reveals that there is
no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c); Smith v. Hope School, 560 F.3d 694, 699 (7th
Cir. 2009). A "genuine issue" in the context of a
motion for summary judgment is not simply a
"metaphysical doubt as to the material facts."
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue
of material fact exists when "the evidence is such that
a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Insolia v. Phillip Morris,
Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 599 (7th Cir. 2000). In ruling on a
motion for summary judgment, the court must consider the
record as a whole, in a light most favorable to the
non-moving party, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor
of the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255;
Bay v. Cassens Transport Co., 212 F.3d 969, 972 (7th
Cir. 2000). When there are cross motions for summary
judgment, the court should "construe the evidence and
all reasonable inferences in favor of the party against whom
the motion under consideration is made." Premcor
USA, Inc. v. American Home Assurance Co., 400 F.3d 523,
526-27 (7th Cir. 2005).
undisputed that the collection letters sent to Stockman and
Gonzalez both contained the following language:
You authorize us to collect the state allowed service fee and
any applicable sales tax through a draft or an electronic
fund transfer from your account if your payment is returned
unpaid. The check maker may be subject to collection and
possibly legal action if the check amount and fees are not
(ST RSF Par. 9); (G RSF Par. 9). Pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §
1692e (Section 1692e), "[a] debt collector may not use
any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means
in connection with the collection of any debt."
Id. In addition, pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1692f,
"[a] debt collector may not use unfair or unconscionable
means to collect or attempt to collect any debt."
argues that Plaintiffs lack standing in the instant action.
Article III of the Constitution limits federal court
jurisdiction to '"cases' or 'controversies,
' and therefore federal courts are restricted to
resolving only the legal rights of litigants in actual
controversies." Wright v. Calumet City,
Illinois, 848 F.3d 814, 816 (7th Cir. 2017)(internal
quotations omitted)(quoting Genesis Healthcare Corp. v.
Symczyk, 133 S.Ct. 1523, 1528 (2013)); see also
Meyers v. Nicolet Rest. of De Pere, LLC, 843 F.3d 724,
727 (7th Cir. 2016)(stating that the Supreme "Court held
that a concrete injury is required "even in the context
of a statutory violation")(internal quotations
omitted)(quoting Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct.
1540, 1546 (2016)).
argues that Plaintiffs have not shown that they have suffered
any actual harm. Plaintiffs contend that they suffered harm
in the form of concerns, stress, and the deprivation of their
right not to be sent false, misleading, and threatening
statements from a debt collector. Stockman testified that
after receiving the collection letter, she has a
"general feeling" that CPA was going to sue her and
Stockman asserts she suffered certain distress. (ST RSF Par.
18, 22). It is questionable how concerned Stockman was when
she believed she might be sued considering the undisputed
fact that her spouse is a consumer law attorney and is in
fact the attorney representing her in this action. (ST RSF
Par. 18-19). Gonzalez also testified as to certain general
stress that he claims to have suffered. (G RSF Par. 28).
Although any actual concrete injury to either of Plaintiffs
appears to be minimal, even bordering on invisible, the
courts in this district in this Circuit and other Circuits
have consistently held that the type of violations of the
FDCPA alleged in this case are sufficient to confer Article
III standing. See, e.g., Church v. Accretive Health,
Inc., 654 F.App'x 990, 994 (11th Cir. 2016);
Haddadv. Midland Funding, LLC, 2017 WL 1550187, at
*3 (N.D.Ill. 2017); Saenz v. Buckeye Check Cashing of
Illinois, 2016 WL 5080747, at *2 (N.D.Ill. 2016);
Lane v. Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC, 2016 WL
3671467, at *2 (N.D.Ill. 2016)(fmding Article III standing
when considering the ruling in Spokeo); Pogorzelski v.
Patenaude, 2017 WL 2539782, at *3 (E.D. Wis.
2017)(stating that the plaintiffs "alleged violation of
[the plaintiffs] right to receive certain required
information under the FDCPA is not hypothetical or
uncertain" and that the plaintiff "had a right to
receive this information" and that Article III standing
is satisfied "[a]lthough her alleged injury may not have
resulted in tangible economic or physical harm");
Allgire v. HOVG, LLC, 2017 WL 1021394, at *3 (S.D.
Ind. 2017)(stating that "it is possible to allege the
statutory violations the Plaintiff alleges with no resulting
harm or risk of harm"); Everett v. Fin. Recovery
Servs., Inc., 2016 WL 6948052, at *4 (S.D. Ind. 2016);
Long v. Fenton & McGarvey Law Firm P.S.C, 223