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
Alysande Brown ("Plaintiff) filed a Complaint (ECF No.
1) on October 18, 2017, asserting a cause of action under the
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA").
reviewing the Complaint, the Court had concerns that a facial
reading of the Complaint may not support subject matter
jurisdiction and ordered supplemental briefing from Plaintiff
on that issue. (ECF No. 3.) On November 6, 2017, Plaintiff
filed a Memorandum of Law On Article III Standing
("Memorandum on Standing") that purports to address
the concerns identified by the Court. (ECF No. 4)
reasons stated herein, the Court finds that it lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction and must dismiss Plaintiffs
Complaint without prejudice.
Glasser and Glasser PLC ("Defendant") initiated
collection activities against Plaintiff on a "debt"
within the meaning of 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(5). (Compl.
¶¶ 8-9.) On October 18, 2017, Defendant sent a
collection letter to Plaintiff, which stated in relevant
part: "This settlement may have tax consequence. If you
are uncertain about the possible tax consequences, please
consult your tax adviser." (Id. ¶¶
contends that Defendant's debt collection efforts
violated various provisions of the FDCPA. (Id.
¶ 21.) As a result of these efforts, Plaintiff summarily
alleges that Plaintiff "has been damaged" and
"is entitled to damages in accordance with the
FDCPA." (Id. ¶ 22.) However, the Complaint
fails to specify how Plaintiff has allegedly been
Constitution divides power amongst the three branches of our
Federal Government. 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. III, §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
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). As the party invoking this
Court's jurisdiction, Plaintiff 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." Warth, 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.1. 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 III's
requirements, Congress' "judgment is ... instructive
and important." Id.
creating statutory rights of action, "Congress may
'elevat[e] to the status of legally cognizable injuries
concrete, de facto injuries that were previously
inadequate in law.'" Id. (quoting
Lujan, 504 U.S at 578) (alteration in original).
However, "Congress' role in identifying and
elevating intangible harms does not mean that a plaintiff
automatically satisfies the injury-in-fact requirement
whenever a statute grants a person a statutory right and
purports to authorize that person to sue to vindicate that
right." Id. The Supreme Court has made ...