Monday, November 13, 2017

District Court Clarifies FDCPA Bar Date in Letter Cases

By Caren D. Enloe

When does the statute of limitations begin to run for a letter that runs afoul of the FDCPA?  That is the issue which was presented in a recent case before the Eastern District of New York.  In Gil v. Allied Interstate, LLC, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182824 (E.D.N.Y. Nov. 3, 2017), the consumers filed suit June 5, 2017 seeking damages under 15 U.S.C. §1692g for a letter dated June 1, 2016.  The defendant contended that the claims were time barred under the FDCPA’s one year statute of limitations and argued that the violation occurred on the date the letter was sent and that that letter was send on June 1, 2016.  The plaintiff, on the other hand, contended that the statute began to run on the date the letter was received.

The court agreed with the plaintiff and ruled that the one year statute of limitations begins to run on the date that the consumer receives the debt collection letter.  In doing so, the court noted that additional facts might have rendered a different result.  First, the court noted that the complaint did not include the date the letter was received.  Secondly, and more importantly for the defense, the defendant didn’t provide any indicia as to when the letter was mailed.  Had there been evidence that the person who mailed the letter followed “regular office practice and procedure” or had actual knowledge of having mailed the document, the presumption that a mailed document is received three days after the date on which it was sent might have rendered the claims time barred. Id. at *9-10.