Written by attorney N James Turner

Emotional Damages under the FDCPA

Courts interpreting the FDCPA have allowed recovery for actual damages related to emotional distress without pleading an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. Laufman v. Phillips & Burns, Inc., No. 8:07-cv-2171-T-23MSS, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4304, 2008 WL 190604, at 2 (M.D. Fla. Jan. 22, 2008) (denying defendant’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s emotional distress damages under the FDCPA because plaintiff had established via affidavit that he suffered emotional distress); Riley v. Giguiere, 631 F. Supp. 2d 1295, 1315 (E.D. Cal. 2009) (holding that tenant was not required to prove the elements for a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress under California law in order to recover damages for emotional distress related to violation of FDCPA); Smith v. Law Offices of Mitchell N. Kay, 124 B.R. 182, 189 (D. Del. 1991) (actual damages for emotional distress under the FDCPA can be proved independently of state law requirements for intentional infliction of emotional distress claim).

Cases in the Middle District of Florida have survived Motions for Summary Judgment on the issue of emotional distress where plaintiff states that as a result of Defendants’ debt collection activities, he has suffered stress related injuries of angina, chest constrictions, shock, loss of appetite, insomnia, anxiety, nervousness, irritability, embarrassment, humiliation, indignation, and pain and suffering. Crespo v. Brachfeld Law Group, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110700 (S.D. Fla. 2011).

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