United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION (DISMISSING CASE FOR LACK OF
E. HUDSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE .
MATTER is before the Court on its own initiative. Plaintiff
Sumiko Coleman ("Plaintiff) brings this action against
Charlottesville Bureau of Credits, Inc.
("Defendant"), alleging violations of the Fair Debt
Collections Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C.
§ 1692 et seq. (See generally Compl., ECF No.
affirmative defense, Defendant asserted that Plaintiff lacks
standing to bring this action because she has not suffered a
particularized and concrete injury. (Answer 3, ECF No. 4.)
Because this calls into question whether the Court has
subject-matter jurisdiction over this matter, the Court
ordered the parties to submit memoranda addressing whether
Plaintiff has sufficiently pleaded an injury in fact to
confer standing. (ECF No. 6.)
parties have filed memoranda supporting their respective
positions. (ECF Nos. 7, 8, 10.) The Court will dispense with
oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are
adequately presented in the materials before it, and oral
argument would not aid in the decisional process. E.D. Va.
Local Civ. R. 7(J).
reasons that follow, the Court finds that it lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction and therefore must dismiss this
begins her one-count Complaint by averring that "[o]n
information and belief, on a date better known to Defendant,
Defendant began collection activities on an alleged consumer
debt from the Plaintiff." (Compl. ¶ 7.) The
Complaint notes that this alleged debt was incurred as a
financial obligation that was primarily for personal, family,
or household purposes and that Commonwealth Lab Consultants
was the original creditor. (Id. ¶ 8.) Though
the timing is unclear from the face of the Complaint, at some
point Defendant reported the debt on Plaintiffs credit
report. (Id. ¶ 10.)
sent a letter to Defendant on October 28, 2016, disputing the
debt. (Id. ¶ 11.) Several months later, on
January 10, 2017, Plaintiff examined her credit report and
found that Defendant had re-reported the debt, but had not
listed it as being "disputed by consumer."
(Id. ¶ 12.) As a result, Plaintiff summarily
alleges that she "has been damaged" and that she
"is entitled to damages in accordance with the
FDCPA." (Id. ¶¶ 13, 16.)
at no point in her Complaint does Plaintiff plead with any
degree of specificity how she has allegedly been
bedrock constitutional principle of our Federal Government is
the division of powers between its branches. As such, it is
well settled that judicial power is limited to the extent
that federal courts may exercise jurisdiction only over
"cases" and "controversies." U.S. Const,
art. Ill. §2; Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife,
504 U.S. 555, 559 (1992). Thus, subject-matter jurisdiction
requires a justiciable case or controversy within the meaning
of Article III of the United States Constitution. See
Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737, 750-51 (1984),
abrogated on other grounds by Lexmark Int 7,
Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc., 134 S.Ct.
1377 (2014). Standing constitutes one component of
justiciability. Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560. Whether a
plaintiff has standing presents a "threshold question in
every federal case, determining the power of the court to
entertain the suit." Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S.
490, 498 (1975). "The objection that a federal court
lacks subject-matter jurisdiction may be raised by a party,
or by a court on its own initiative, at any stage in the
litigation." Arbaugh v. Y&HCorp., 546 U.S.
500, 506 (2006) (internal citation omitted).
Supreme Court has established that the "irreducible
constitutional minimum" of standing includes three
elements: (1) an injury-in-fact; (2) a causal connection
between the injury and the alleged misconduct; and (3) a
likelihood that the injury will be redressed by a favorable
decision. Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560-61 (citations and
quotation marks omitted). Because Plaintiff seeks to invoke
this Court's jurisdiction, she bears the burden of
establishing all three elements. Id. at 561.
"Where, as here, a case is at the pleading stage, the
plaintiff must 'clearly . .. allege facts
demonstrating' each element." Spokeo, Inc. v.
Robins, 136 S.Ct. 1540, 1547 (2016), as revised
(May 24, 2016) (quoting Warth, 422 U.S. at 518).
Spokeo, the Supreme Court reiterated the basic
tenets of the standing doctrine. Id. at 1547. It
noted that to satisfy the injury-in-fact requirement, a
plaintiff must show "'an invasion of a legally
protected interest' that is 'concrete and
particularized' and 'actual and imminent, not
conjectural or hypothetical.'" Id. at 1548
(citing Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560).
satisfy the particularization requirement, the plaintiff
"must allege a distinct and palpable injury to
himself." Worth, 422 U.S. at 501 (citations
omitted). The injury must "affect the plaintiff in a
personal and individual way." Lujan, 504 U.S.
at 560 n.l. Claims asserting "'generalized
grievance[s]' shared in substantially equal measure by
all or a large class of citizens ... normally do not
warrant exercise of jurisdiction." Warth, 422
U.S. at 499 (citations omitted).
concreteness requirement demands that an injury be real, not
abstract. Spokeo, 136 S.Ct. at 1548. However, it is
possible for an intangible harm to be concrete.Id. at
1549. When determining whether such intangible harms are
sufficiently concrete to satisfy Article Ill's