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CFPB Files First Amicus Brief, Supporting Plaintiff in FDCPA SOL Case

As noted by the team at Ballard Spahr, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has filed its first amicus brief in the Kraninger era, in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case — Bender v. Elmore & Throop, P.C. — deals with the FDCPA’s statute of limitations, which provides individuals with one year in which to claim a debt collector violated the law. A copy of the CFPB’s amicus brief can be accessed by clicking here.

The defendant was granted a motion to dismiss after it was sued for violating the FDCPA by allegedly continuing to contact the plaintiffs after the plaintiffs had written to the defendant asking for communications to be stopped. The notification to cease communications had been made in May 2016, but the defendant sent demand letters to the plaintiffs in February and March 2017, mentioned the debt in an unrelated phone call in January 2018, and sent a verification letter a month later. The lawsuit was filed in April 2018. The district court ruled the statute of limitations expired one year after the March 2017 demand letter was sent and ruled the communications in 2018 were not independent FDCPA violations.

In supporting the plaintiff, the CFPB said in its brief that the FDCPA “means what it says: A plaintiff may sue to challenge violations that occurred in the previous year. There is no exception for violations that are similar to earlier time-barred limitations.” The CFPB also cited cases from four other Courts of Appeals that have ruled the statute of limitations runs separately for each individual violation.

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