The Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo, Incv Robins clarified the “concreteness” element of the injury-in-fact requirement for standing. The Court explained that while some statutory violations are concrete injuries, others are merely procedural and insufficient for standing without additional allegations of concrete harms. Federal courts have divided on the decision’s application to many statutory causes of action, including the mandatory disclosure requirements of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). While some courts view FDCPA mandatory disclosure violations as concrete injuries if they threaten the plaintiff’s concrete interests, others view the violations as merely procedural and never sufficient for standing. This Comment argues for a third view, that an FDCPA mandatory disclosure violation is always a concrete injury regardless of whether it causes the plaintiff to suffer or risk subjective harm. That conclusion flows from a new view: applying Spokeo to statutory violations turns on whether the provision at issue has a deterrent or a compensatory function. Because the FDCPA’s text, remedies, statutory purpose, legislative history, and treatment in other contexts indicate that it is deterrent, violations of its mandatory disclosure provisions are concrete injuries.
Smith, Jason R.
"Statutes and Spokeo: the Case of the FDCPA,"
University of Chicago Law Review: Vol. 87
, Article 5.
Available at: https://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/uclrev/vol87/iss6/5