In Miller v. Midland Funding, LLC, 2008 WL 4093004 (C.D.Cal. 2008), Judge Otis Wright clarified the type of penalties and damages recoverable under the FDCPA. As to the $1,000 penalty, Judge Wright explained:
Defendants are correct that statutory damages are limited to $1,000 per action, not $1,000 per defendant. Clark v. Capital Credit & Collection Services, Inc. 460 F.3d 1162, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006) (limiting statutory damages to “one set of circumstances”); Nelson v. Equifax Information Services, Inc. 522 F.Supp.2d 1222 (C.D.Cal. 2007 ) (limiting statutory damages to $1,000 per lawsuit, not $1,000 per violation”).
As to Plaintiff’s claim for emotional distress damages, Judge Wright clarified the standard which a plaintiff must prove:
A plaintiff must demonstrate more than transitory symptoms of emotional distress and unsupported self-serving testimony by a plaintiff is not sufficient. . .
Judge Wright found the Plaintiff’s own declaration that he had suffered “emotional distress, humiliation, embarassment, and interfer[ence] with my workplace and my work” was conclusory and self-serving and, therefore, insufficient to avoid summary judgment.