James R. Hagy, III, Plaintiff-Appellee,
Demers & Adams; David J. Demers, Defendants-Appellants, Patricia R. Hagy, Plaintiff, Green Tree Servicing, LLC; Kevin Winehold; ProAssurance Casualty Company, Defendants.
Argued: January 31, 2018
from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Ohio at Columbus. No. 2:11-cv-00530-Terence P.
Kemp, Magistrate Judge.
J. Bennett, COOKE DEMERS LLC, New Albany, Ohio, for
A. Icove, ICOVE LEGAL GROUP, LTD., Cleveland, Ohio, for
J. Bennett, David J. Demers, COOKE DEMERS LLC, New Albany,
Ohio, for Appellant.
A. Icove, ICOVE LEGAL GROUP, LTD., Cleveland, Ohio, Kristen
Finzel Lewis, SOUTHEASTERN OHIO LEGAL SERVICE, New
Philadelphia, Ohio, for Appellee.
Before: SUHRHEINRICH, SUTTON, and BUSH, Circuit Judges.
SUTTON, Circuit Judge.
Demers, an attorney, sent a letter on behalf of his client to
the attorney for James and Patricia Hagy. The letter
indicated that the Hagys would not have to pay the balance on
their loan and that the lender would not pursue any other
remedies against the Hagys. That seemed like good news for
the Hagys. Little did Demers know that this epistle would
lead to six years (and counting) of litigation against him
and his firm for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices
Act. Because the complaint failed to identify a cognizable
injury traceable to Demers (and his firm) and because
Congress cannot override this baseline requirement of Article
III of the U.S. Constitution by labeling the violation of
any requirement of a statute a cognizable injury, we
must dismiss the appeal and, with it, the underlying case.
2002, James and Patricia Hagy took out a loan to purchase a
mobile home and some property on which to park it. In 2010,
they defaulted on their loan payments. Green Tree Servicing,
a mortgage servicing company, initiated foreclosure
proceedings against the Hagys.
Hagy called the law firm that represented Green Tree, the
star-crossed Demers & Adams, with hopes of settling the
claim. It worked. On June 8, 2010, David Demers sent the
Hagys a letter containing a Warranty Deed in Lieu of
Foreclosure. "In return for [the Hagys] executing the
Deed, " the letter said, "Green Tree has advised me
that it will waive any deficiency balance." R. 18-3 at
1. The Hagys executed the Deed on June 24, 2010. And on June
30, 2010, Demers sent another letter, this time to the
Hagys' attorney, James Sandy. That letter confirmed
receipt of the executed Deed and reaffirmed that "Green
Tree will not attempt to collect any deficiency balance which