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
Nicole Taylor ("Plaintiff) brings this action alleging
violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act
("FDCPA"), 15U.S.C. § 1692, et seq.
(ECF No. 1.) Defendant Medical Data Systems, Inc.
("Defendant") filed its Answer on June 20, 2017.
(ECF No. 3.)
the Court had concerns about whether Plaintiff had
sufficiently pleaded an injury in fact to confer standing in
this case, it ordered the parties to submit memoranda
addressing this issue. (ECF No. 6.) Both parties complied
with the Order and have filed briefs supporting their
respective positions. (ECF Nos. 8, 9.)
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 materially aid in the
decisional process. E.D. Va. Local Civ. R. 7(J).
reasons stated herein, the Court finds that it lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction and, therefore, must dismiss
Plaintiffs Complaint without prejudice.
begins her one-count Complaint by asserting 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 Southside Regional Medical
Center was the original creditor. (Id. ¶¶
8-9.) Though it is unclear when, at some point Defendant
reported the debt on Plaintiffs credit report. (Id.
alleges that she sent a letter to Defendant on November 17,
2016, disputing the debt. (Id. ¶ 12.)
Approximately two months later, on January 24, 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. ¶ 13.)
As a result, Plaintiff summarily alleges that she "has
been damaged" and that she "is entitled to damages
in accordance with the FDCPA." (Id.
¶¶ 14, 17.)
at no point in his Complaint does Plaintiff specify
how she has allegedly been damaged.
our Constitution divides the Federal Government into three
discrete branches, each with specifically defined powers. 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'l, 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&H Corp., 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) (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[ ] ...