Many Florida consumers have asked “Can I be sued for a credit card debt after the statute of limitations expired?” and “Can I be sued in Florida to collect a credit card account after the statute of limitations has expired?”
Technically, the answer is “yes”. A bank or debt buyer could sue a consumer to collect a consumer credit card debt after the statute of limitations but the consumer would have a complete defense to the credit card lawsuit and would probably have an adequate basis to sue the debt buyer or bank that sued to collect the credit card debt.
Although the law is on the borrower’s side if the borrower takes action immediately, Florida judges can not protect defendant borrowers from judgments and garnishments arising from time barred accounts (e.g., credit card accounts on which the statute of limitations has expired) UNLESS the defendant takes prompt action and argues the law correctly.
If the credit card borrower does nothing after receiving the collection lawsuit, the credit card issuer or debt collector that bought the charged off credit card account will probably obtain a default judgment against the borrower. This judgment will be enforceable and is often very difficult to set aside.
If a debt buyer sues to collect a consumer account which is time barred by the statute of limitations, the defendant consumer probably has a basis to sue the debt collector for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and possibly also the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act. If the credit card issuer filed a lawsuit to collect a consumer credit card account (or other consumer account) arising from an account on which the statute of limitations had expired, the defendant consumer probably has a basis to sue the credit card bank for violating the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act.
If the defendant borrower raises the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense at the first opportunity, the defendant will have preserved the defense. It is extremely important for Florida consumers to seek counsel immediately upon receipt of the credit card collection lawsuit because there are important strategic decisions that must be made before any response is raised in court.
As an Orlando, Florida lawyer who sues debt collectors for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and has defended many lawsuits against credit card issuers on the grounds that the statute of limitations has expired, I’ve learned that few lawyers are properly prepared to argue the substantive and procedural issues which arise in these cases. The investment of time required to defend such collection cases represents a substantial investment of time with uncertain prospects of recovery.
Fortunately, the FDCPA often allows prevailing consumers to recover their actual damages including attorney fees incurred in defending the consumer against time barred lawsuits. This is not an area where a DYI approach is likely to be successful. I have argued at hearings concerning the Florida law and the statute of limitations have lasted for 2 1/2 hours.
The misinformation on the internet dominates the discussion. Why waste hours sorting through misinformation and speculation? Many Florida consumers probably pay debts that are no longer enforceable if their case was properly framed and zealously defended.
Even if the statute of limitations has not expired on an account a consumer is being sued upon, hiring a Florida lawyer to defend against a credit card collection lawsuit is often much more affordable than consumers assumed.
If you live in central Florida —- Orange County, FL (Orlando, Ocoee, Winter Park), Osceola County, FL (Kissimmee, St. Cloud, Celebration, Buena Ventura Lakes), Lake County, FL (Clermont, Mount Dora, Eustis, Leesburg, Tavares, Monte Verde, Howey-In-The-Hills), Marion County, FL (Ocala, The Villages), Putnam County, FL (Palatka), Flagler County (Palm Coast, Bunnell), Volusia County (DeLand, Daytona, Daytona Beach, Deltona, New Smyrna Beach), Seminole County, FL (Altamonte Springs, Winter Park, Longwood, Lake Mary, Sanford, Heathrow, Oviedo), Polk County, FL (Lakeland, Bartow), Hillsborough (Tampa) — you are welcome to contact my assistant or complete the Collection Agency Harassment form. I will contact you to discuss your situation — a free (to you) no obligation attorney review of your potential case and the credit card lawsuit pending against you.
Please be realistic and contact me well before any “court date” or response is due.
(C) 2011 – 2014 Donald E. Petersen
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