In Keller v. Northstar Location Servs., No. 21-cv-3389, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157820, at *4-6 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 20, 2021), Judge Johnson-Coleman kept jurisdiction over an FDCPA-Hunstein case despite the consumer’s objection that the SCOTUS’ decision in Ramirez deprived her of Article III standing.
With this standard in mind, the Court turns to an Eleventh Circuit opinion where that court concluded violations of § 1692c(b) have a close relationship to the harm resulting from the common law tort of invasion of privacy, specifically the public disclosure of private facts. Hunstein v. Preferred Collection & Mgmt. Servs., Inc., 994 F.3d 1341, 1347 (11th Cir. 2021); see also United States Dep’t of Justice v. Reporters Comm. for Freedom of the Press, 489 U.S. 749, 763, 109 S.Ct. 1468, 103 L.Ed.2d 774 (1989) (“[B]oth the common law and the literal understandings of privacy encompass the individual’s control of information concerning his or her person.”). The Hunstein decision also concluded that invasion of privacy is one of the harms against which the FDCPA is directed. Id.; see also 15 U.S.C. § 1692(a) (“There is abundant evidence of the use of abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices by many debt collectors. Abusive debt collection practices contribute to the number of personal bankruptcies, to marital instability, to the loss of jobs, and to invasions of individual privacy.”); S.REP. 95-382, at 4, reprinted in 1977 U.S.C.C.A.N. 1695, 1699 (“Other than to obtain location information, a debt collector may not contact third persons such as a consumer’s friends, neighbors, relatives, or employer. Such contacts are not legitimate collection practices and result in serious invasions of privacy, as well as the loss of jobs.”). The Hunstein decision thus held that a violation of § 1692c(b) gives rise to a concrete injury-in-fact for Article III standing and that a debt collector’s transmittal of a consumer’s personal information to a third-party vendor constitutes a communication “in connection with the collection of any debt” under § 1692c(b). Id. at 1348-49. The Eleventh Circuit’s reasoning finds support in the Supreme Court’s recent TransUnion decision where the Court recognized that various intangible harms can be concrete for purposes of Article III standing, such as reputational harms, disclosure of private information, and intrusion upon seclusion. Id. at 2204. Hunstein is also supported by the Seventh Circuit’s decision in Gadelhak, in which the court concluded that that common law has long recognized actions against defendants who invade privacy rights, in that case, intrusion upon seclusion. Id. at 462. Other Seventh Circuit precedent confirms that plaintiffs have asserted a concrete harm in the context of the invasion of privacy rights. See Fox v. Dakkota Integrated Sys., LLC, 980 F.3d 1146, 1149 (7th Cir. 2020) (“The invasion of a legally protected privacy right, though intangible, is personal and real, not general and abstract.”). Accordingly, the Court concludes that because plaintiffs have alleged concrete, albeit intangible harms resulting from Northstar’s actions, there is Article III standing for this case to remain in federal court.1 The Court therefore denies plaintiffs’ motion.