Justices Set Early Clock for Debt Collection Cases

Justices Set Early Clock for Debt Collection Cases

The justices backed a shorter statute of limitations period for Fair Debt Collection Practices Act cases, saying that the one-year period begins to run when the violation occurred, not when it was discovered.

The court rejected extending the time in which a FDCPA case be brought, saying the plain language of the statue unambiguously prohibits that interpretation.

The decision could allow creditors to conceal their violations through fraud, wrote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was the only justice to dissent from the court’s opinion. She said the court should have applied a fraud-based discovery rule to extend the limitations period where there was evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the creditor.

Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote the court’s majority opinion, said the plaintiff here, Kevin Rotkiske, didn’t adequately preserve that argument for appeal.

The case is Rotkiske v. Klemm, U.S., No. 18-328, decided 12/10/19.

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