The statute of limitations can be considered an expiration date of sorts
in regards to a legal claim. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices
Act(“FDCPA”) a consumer has up to a year to bring a lawsuit
for the unlawful conduct of a debt collector. There are some events which
can extend the statute of limitations, however, unfortunately it is all
too common for members of the public to discover they had their rights
violated, but the deadline to do something about it already passed. A
consumer friendly case just came out from the Northern District of Illinois
in the case of Lisa Skinner v. Midland Funding, a debt-buyer who quite
active in Florida as well.
In the Skinner case a consumer brought an FDCPA claim against Midland for
allegedly charging improper amounts of interest and thus reporting the
wrong amount on her credit report. Skinner only discovered this had occurred
well over a year after it had occurred. Midland asked the Illinois court
to throw the case out on the grounds that the statute of limitations had run.
The court where Skinner initially filed the lawsuit agreed that the case
was beyond the statute of limitations and threw her case out. Yet on an
appeal to the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, “The
FDCPA contains no such provision signaling congressional intent
to preclude application of the discovery rule to that Act.” The appellate
court found that as the FDCPA was intended to be as protective of consumers
as possible and given the fact it would be impossible to bring a claim
that a consumer did not know existed, it was reasonable to extend the
window of the statute of limitations until Skinner actually knew of what
Midland had done. While it is not likely that such an interpretation of
the law will come to Florida any time soon it is always encouraging to
see consumer friendly holdings in other states.
If you would like to read more about the FDCPA and consumers fighting back
against debt collectors, you can find
other stories on our blog.
Loan Lawyers has helped over 5,000 South Florida homeowners and consumers
with their debt problems,
contact us to see how we may be able to help you.
This document has been provided for informational purposes only and is
not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please
consult your attorney in connection with any legal issues related to the
matters discussed in this article as the applicability of state, local
and federal laws may vary.