Collector - February 2020 - 41

CASELAW

approach to the discovery rule is a bad wine
of recent vintage."
Rotkiske alternatively argued that the
court should allow him to pursue his case
under a specific legal doctrine (the "equitable,
fraud-specific discovery rule"), which would
find that in certain fraud cases the statute of
limitations did not begin to run on the date of
violation. The court refused to consider this
argument because it had not been raised in the
lower courts. (Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg-
the sole dissenter-would have allowed him to
pursue that argument.)

IMPLICATIONS FOR THE
ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE
MANAGEMENT INDUSTRY
This ruling has implications that stretch far
beyond the FDCPA. The Supreme Court has
never held that the discovery rule generally
applies to a federal statute that is silent

on the issue. If it had changed that here,
such a ruling would have had broad effects
across all federal statutes that are drafted
similarly. Fortunately, the court rejected that
possibility, providing much-needed certainty
to debt collectors nationwide and greatly
reducing their potential legal exposure for
old claims.
But the court's ruling does not entirely wipe
out all that exposure. It left undecided whether
various legal doctrines (including equitable
tolling) could be used to extend the limitations
period. Equitable tolling is a legal principle
that enables plaintiffs who file after the statute
of limitations to say, "Here are all the equitable
reasons a court should view the clock as
having been put on hold." There is some
uncertainty on whether equitable concepts
apply to federal statutes like this, and although
Rotkiske tried to raise it, the court dodged that
question for now.

ACA INTERNATIONAL'S

TCPA

Compliance
Guide

In addition, debt collectors will still face
state laws that are often more friendly to
consumers and may provide for a much
longer statute of limitations than the
FDCPA. North Carolina, for example, has
one of the most consumer-friendly statutes
in the country, allowing claims up to four
years after the violation occurs (or four
years after the discovery of the violation if
based on fraud). That's why debt collectors
will still need to be cautious of the longer
period of liability exposure at the state level,
even as they celebrate this ruling from the
Supreme Court.
Will Esser, partner at law firm Parker Poe,
focuses his practice on commercial litigation,
bankruptcy and creditors' rights, foreclosures,
loan workouts and loan sales. He can be
reached at (704) 335-9507 or willesser@
parkerpoe.com.

Refreshed
for 2020

Unlock the Telephone Consumer
Protection Act and how it applies
to the Accounts Receivable
Management industry.
www.acainternational.org/products

COLLECTOR 02.20

41


http://www.acainternational.org/products

Collector - February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - February 2020

Presidents Page
Industry News
Best Practices
FYI
Collection Tips
Overlapping Responsibilities?
Taking on Tax Time
Making Connections in D.C.
Calendar
Honor Roll
Education Spotlight
Creative Solutions
Ask the Experts: Reaching Out
Legal Liability & the FDCPA
Advocacy and Parenthood: Not So Different
Your Opinion Matters
Beyond the Boundary of the Law
ACA SearchPoint
Membership
Ad Index
Last Word
Collector - February 2020 - Cover1
Collector - February 2020 - Cover2
Collector - February 2020 - 1
Collector - February 2020 - 2
Collector - February 2020 - 3
Collector - February 2020 - 4
Collector - February 2020 - Presidents Page
Collector - February 2020 - Industry News
Collector - February 2020 - 7
Collector - February 2020 - 8
Collector - February 2020 - 9
Collector - February 2020 - 10
Collector - February 2020 - 11
Collector - February 2020 - Best Practices
Collector - February 2020 - 13
Collector - February 2020 - FYI
Collector - February 2020 - 15
Collector - February 2020 - Collection Tips
Collector - February 2020 - 17
Collector - February 2020 - Overlapping Responsibilities?
Collector - February 2020 - 19
Collector - February 2020 - 20
Collector - February 2020 - 21
Collector - February 2020 - Taking on Tax Time
Collector - February 2020 - 23
Collector - February 2020 - 24
Collector - February 2020 - 25
Collector - February 2020 - Making Connections in D.C.
Collector - February 2020 - 27
Collector - February 2020 - 28
Collector - February 2020 - 29
Collector - February 2020 - 30
Collector - February 2020 - 31
Collector - February 2020 - Calendar
Collector - February 2020 - Honor Roll
Collector - February 2020 - Education Spotlight
Collector - February 2020 - 35
Collector - February 2020 - Creative Solutions
Collector - February 2020 - 37
Collector - February 2020 - Ask the Experts: Reaching Out
Collector - February 2020 - 39
Collector - February 2020 - Legal Liability & the FDCPA
Collector - February 2020 - 41
Collector - February 2020 - Advocacy and Parenthood: Not So Different
Collector - February 2020 - 43
Collector - February 2020 - Your Opinion Matters
Collector - February 2020 - 45
Collector - February 2020 - Beyond the Boundary of the Law
Collector - February 2020 - 47
Collector - February 2020 - ACA SearchPoint
Collector - February 2020 - 49
Collector - February 2020 - Membership
Collector - February 2020 - Ad Index
Collector - February 2020 - Last Word
Collector - February 2020 - Cover3
Collector - February 2020 - Cover4
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