(U.S. Sup. Ct. May 15, 2017)
The Supreme Court holds that a creditor did not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when it filed a proof of claim on a debt that was barred from collection by the applicable statute of limitations. The proof of claim made clear that the limitations period had passed. The decision resolves a split among the circuits on the question of whether such a filing constituted “false,” “deceptive,” “misleading,” “unconscionable,” or “unfair” conduct under the act. The court reasons that while the claim may not be enforceable, it is nevertheless a “claim” under the bankruptcy code. It is not a false or misleading statement, but it can be disallowed based on its unenforceability. Similarly, the court reasons that the filing was not unconscionable or unfair, as there are protections built into the bankruptcy process that minimize risk to the debtor. Opinion below.
Author: Matt Lindblom