Justia Summary

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) authorizes private civil actions against debt collectors “within one year from the date on which the violation occurs,” 15 U.S.C. 1692k(d). Klemm sued Rotkiske to collect an unpaid debt and attempted service at an address where Rotkiske no longer lived. An individual other than Rotkiske accepted service. Rotkiske failed to respond to the summons; Klemm obtained a default judgment in 2009. Rotkiske claims that he first learned of this judgment in 2014 when his mortgage application was denied. He filed suit, alleging that Klemm violated the FDCPA by contacting him without lawful ability to collect. Rotkiske argued for the application of a “discovery rule” to delay the beginning of the limitations period until the date that he knew or should have known of the alleged FDCPA violation. The Third Circuit and Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of the suit. Absent the application of an equitable doctrine, section 1692k(d)’s limitations period begins to run when the alleged FDCPA violation occurs, not when the violation is discovered. Rotkiske cannot rely on the application of an equitable, fraud-specific discovery rule to excuse his otherwise untimely filing, having neither preserved that issue before the Third Circuit nor raised it in his certiorari petition.