In Quinn v. Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC, 2016 WL 4264967, at *4–5 (N.D.Ill., 2016), Judge Bucklo rejected a Spokeo challenge to an FDCPA class action grounded in the Defendant’s alleged contact with represented debtors.
I am unpersuaded. As an initial matter, despite SLS’s suggestion to the contrary, Spokeo does not stand for the proposition that a procedural violation of a statute alone can never give rise to an injury in fact. On the contrary, the Court specifically observed that “the violation of a procedural right granted by statute can be sufficient in some circumstances to constitute injury in fact,” and that in such cases a plaintiff “need not allege any additional harm beyond the one Congress has identified.” Id. at 1549. As examples of the latter violations, the Court cited cases in which plaintiffs alleged that they had been denied information under the Freedom of Information Act and the Federal Election Campaign Act. Id. at 1549-50 (citing Public Citizen v. Department of Justice, 491 U.S. 440 (1989), and Fed. Election Comm’n v. Akins, 524 U.S. 11 (1998)). Thus, while Spokeo held that a procedural violation of the FRCA does not necessarily give rise to an injury in fact, it does not follow that the same holds true of violations of other statutes, including the FDCPA. In fact, a number of courts have already confronted Spokeo-based standing challenges in FDCPA cases and have rejected the argument that SLS asserts here. For example, in Mahala A. Church v. Accretive Health, Inc., No. 15-15708, ___ Fed.Appx. ____ (11th Cir. July 6, 2016), the plaintiff asserted claims under §§ 1692e(11) and 1692g of the FDCPA, alleging that the defendant had sent her a letter stating that she owed a debt to a hospital without disclosing that it was a debt collector. Id. at *3 & n.1. Although the plaintiff claimed that the letter upset her, she did not allege any injury beyond the violation of the statute itself. Nevertheless, the Eleventh Circuit held that the plaintiff “had a right to receive the FDCPA-required disclosures” and that “she has sustained a concrete –– i.e., “real” –– injury because she did not receive the allegedly required disclosures.” Id. at *3. The court observed that the violation of the plaintiff’s “right to receive the disclosures is not hypothetical or uncertain,” and that “[w]hile this injury may not have resulted in tangible economic or physical harm that courts often expect, the Supreme Court has made clear an injury need not be tangible to be concrete.” Id. Notably, the court also explicitly rejected the contention advanced by SLS here that the plaintiff had alleged a mere “procedural violation” of the statute. Rather, the court held, “Congress provided Church with a substantive right to receive certain disclosures and Church has alleged that Accretive Health violated that substantive right.” Id. at *3 n.2. Based on essentially the same reasoning, district courts in this Circuit have rejected similar challenges to standing based on Spokeo in FDCPA cases. See, e.g., Lane v. Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC, No. 15 C 10446, 2016 WL 3671467, *4 (N.D. Ill. July 11, 2016) (plaintiff’s allegation that defendant failed to disclose information required under FDCPA § 1692g was sufficiently concrete under Spokeo to confer standing); cf. Mogg v. Jacobs, No. 15-CV-1142-JPG-DGW, 2016 WL 1029396, at *5 (S.D. Ill. Mar. 15, 2016) (declining to stay proceedings in FDCPA case pending Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo because “Congress does have the power to enact statutes creating legal rights, the invasion of which creates standing, even though no injury would exist without the statute”) (quoting Sterk v. Redbox Automated Retail, LLC, 770 F.3d 618, 623 (7th Cir. 2014)). I find the reasoning of the latter cases persuasive. Accordingly, I conclude that SLS’s alleged failure to provide the Quinns with information required under the FDCPA constitutes a sufficiently concrete harm for purposes of Article III standing.