On May 15, 2018, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in Rotkiske v. Klem, Case No. 16-1668, concerning the statute of limitations under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). There, the court, following en banc review, found that the FDCPA’s one year statute of limitations runs from the date the alleged violation occurred, not the date it was discovered. While lower court holdings within the Third Circuit have supported this conclusion, there was no precedential holding from the Court of Appeal affirming this position.
The decision is significant in that it specifically rejects findings by the Fourth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal applying the discovery rule to FDCPA claims, presumably increasing the potential for review by the Supreme Court to resolve what is now an undeniable circuit split. Additionally, the holding does not unequivocally bar FDCPA claims brought more than one year after the statute of limitations, as the Third Circuit confirmed that principles of equitable tolling may still be relied upon, under the appropriate circumstances, to preserve an FDCPA claim.
A copy of the court’s decision can be found here.