Are Lost Sleep and Annoyance Enough to Convey Standing?

Author: Melissa Manning

An ongoing question in consumer protection litigation is, how concrete does an injury need to be in order to confer standing?

Well, according to a recent Northern District of Illinois decision, a mere “sense of indignation,” “lost sleep” and “aggravated annoyance” won’t cut it. (Side note: This is probably for the best or the makers of Wordle might be in for a world of hurt.)

In Milisavljevic v. Midland Credit Management, LLC et al, 1:19-cv-08449, Milisavljevic was sued in state court after failing to make required payments towards his credit card debt. When he then filed no responsive pleading, defendant debt buyer sent Milisavljevic a copy of its filed motion for default judgment and an unsigned proposed judgment order. Thinking that the unsigned order meant he already lost in state court, Milisavljevic didn’t respond and a judgment order was indeed entered against him. Plaintiff then retained counsel to vacate the default judgment and file a purported class action against defendants for violations of the FDCPA alleging that defendants regularly present draft orders of judgment to the Illinois courts that are different than those they send to consumers in connection with the motions of default judgments they file in collection cases.

Unfortunately for Milisavljevic, the Court found that his allegations of  “severe emotional distress,” and “lost sleep” were not sufficient to confer standing under Article III. Quoting the Seventh Circuit in Gunn v. Thrasher, Buschmann & Voelkel, P.C., 982 F.3d 1069, 1072 (7th Cir. 2020) “the Supreme Court has never thought that having one’s nose out of joint and one’s dander up creates a case or controversy.”

What’s a five letter word for the Seventh Circuit’s response to dubious injury allegations: snark.

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