In Johnson v. PMAB, LLC, 2012 WL 1379843 (W.D.N.C. 2012), Judge Conrad held that only consumers, and not third parties, have standing to pursue a cease-and-desist violation under the FDCPA.
The Fourth Circuit addressed more general standing to sue under the FDCPA in Rawlinson v. Law Office of William M. Rudow, LLC, No. 10–2148, 2012 WL 19666 (4th Cir. Jan. 5, 2012). The district court had thrown out a suit relying on several portions of the FDCPA based on a finding that the plaintiff was not a proper party under the FDCPA. Id. at *2. The circuit noted that the statute’s enforcement provision, section 1692k, empowers “any person” to maintain a civil action against a debt collector. Id. at *3. The Fourth Circuit then found that “[c]onsequently, absent a limitation in the substantive provisions of the FDCPA, any aggrieved party, not just a debtor, may bring an action under the statute.” Id. (citing favorably Wright v. Fin. Serv. of Norwalk, Inc., 22 F.3d 647, 649–50 (6th Cir.1994)). The Rawlinson court found further that “at least three of the FDCPA provisions relied on by Rawlinson contain no limitation as to who may invoke them.” Id. at *4 (citing §§ 1692d, 1692e, and 1692f). The Fourth Circuit then held that “the district court erred in holding that non-debtors, or those with no financial interest in the collateral at issue, may not bring suit under the FDCPA.” Id. Defendant concedes that Plaintiff may bring her action under Sections 1692d, and 1692d(5), but challenges her standing to pursue a violation of Section 1692c(c). (Doc. No. 23).While the Fourth Circuit did not reach the issue of whether a non-consumer could maintain an action under Section 1692c(c), its opinion in Rawlinson suggests that it would agree with those courts that have held that a non-consumer may not. Twice, the circuit emphasized that a limitation in the substantive provisions of the FDCPA could change the more general rule that any person may maintain an action. Id. at *3–4. Section 1692c(c)’s express language provides such a limitation when it limits its remedy to a “consumer” and then expands that definition to fit a finite group of individuals connected to the consumer. 15 U.S.C. § 1692c(c) & (d). The panel also referenced a Sixth Circuit case for support of its holding. Id. at *3 (citing favorably Wright, 22 F.3d at 649–50). Thus, the Fourth Circuit would also likely follow the Sixth Circuit’s holding that non-consumers may not invoke Section 1692c(c). See Montgomery v. Huntington Bank, 346 F.3d 693, 696–97 (6th Cir.2003).Plaintiff directs the Court to Dunham v. Portfolio Recovery Assocs., LLC, 663 F.3d 997 (8th Cir.2011) to show that non-consumers may maintain an action under Section 1692c(c). (Doc. No. 24 at 1). But in Durham, the Eighth Circuit found that the plaintiff was a consumer. 663 F.3d at 1002. The defendant attempted to collect a debt owed by James Dunham from another individual with that same. Thus, the court held that the plaintiff—the wrong James Dun-ham—was a consumer because he was one who al-legedly owed a debt. Id. Plaintiff also directed the Court’s attention to Meadows v. Franklin Collection Serv., Inc., 414 F. App’x 230 (11th Cir.2011). (Doc. No. 24 at 1). However, this case does not deal with standing or Section 1692c.Non-consumers lack standing to bring suit against a debt collector under 15 U.S.C. § 1692c(c). Therefore, the Court GRANTS Defendant’s Motion in Limine to preclude Plaintiff from presenting evidence that Defendant violated Section 1692c(c) of the FDCPA.