The U.S. Supreme Court has determined that the statute of limitations for offenses against the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act begins when the offense occurs, not when the offense is discovered by the borrower.
Provisions within the law allow borrowers to sue debt collectors for FDCPA infractions within one year of the violation. In the case of Rotkiske v. Klemm, the borrower sued the debt collector in 2015 for improper debt collection practices in 2009 after his mortgage application was denied. The borrower contended that his FDCPA infraction claim was valid because the lawsuit was filed within one year of learning about the violation — also known as a strategy used to extend the statute of limitations by applying the “discovery rule.”
However, in an 8-to-1 decision, the Supreme Court upheld the Third Circuit Court of Appeals‘ finding that the language in the FDCPA was explicitly clear about the statute of limitations: one year from when the infraction occurred. Borrowers could not apply the discovery rule to extend the statute of limitations unless there was proof that the debt collector purposefully hid the violation.
You can read the Supreme Court’s full opinion, along with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent, here.
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