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Litigation Expenses From Wrongful Garnishment Actionable Under Spokeo

Link: CIESNIEWSKI v. ARIES CAPITAL PARTNERS, INC., Case No. 16-cv-817-WTL-TAB (S.D. Ind., Sept. 19, 2018).

Plaintiff, represented by Edelman Combs Latturner & Goodwin LLC, successfully defended a wage garnishment on the basis that the debt collector hadn’t showed it was assigned the debt (and thus owned it). After the court agreed, plaintiff filed FDCPA, Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, and abuse of process claims. Defendants moved to dismiss based on lack of Article III standing.

The court agreed with Plaintiff, finding that unlike the Seventh Circuit’s ruling in Harold v. Steel, 773 F.3d 884 (7th Cir. 2014), plaintiff actually defeated the attempted garnishment:

 Here, like the hypothetical plaintiff who defends garnishment proceedings in an improper judicial district, there is no injury caused by a state court judgment, because Ciesniewski successfully defended the garnishment proceeding. Furthermore, both Ciesniewski and the plaintiff in the hypothetical were forced to defend improper garnishment actions. In Harold, on the other hand, the costs of litigation were associated with a permissible garnishment claim— there was no injury independent of that state court action. Because Ciesniewski alleges that the Defendants’ violation of the FDCPA required expenses he would not have otherwise incurred, Ciesniewski has asserted an injury sufficient to confer standing.

Posted in FDCPA

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