and Submitted October 24, 2019 Seattle, Washington
from the United States District Court for the District of
Idaho, No. 4:17-cv-00431-BLW B. Lynn Winmill, District Judge,
C. Borison (argued), Esq., Legg Law Firm, LLP, San Mateo,
California; Ryan A. Ballard, Esq., Ballard Law, PLLC,
Rexburg, Idaho; Peter A. Holland, Esq., Holland Law Firm PC,
Annapolis, Maryland; for Plaintiff-Appellant.
C. Dickinson (argued), Spencer Fane LLP, Omaha, Nebraska;
Lyle J. Fuller, Fuller & Fuller, PLLC, Preston, Idaho;
Before: Richard R. Clifton and Sandra S. Ikuta, Circuit
Judges, and Jed S. Rakoff, [*] District Judge.
Debt Collection Practices Act
the district court's summary judgment in favor of the
defendant in an action under the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act, the panel rejected plaintiff's claim that
a debt collector's letter was deceptive or misleading
under 15 U.S.C. § 1692e because it attempted to persuade
him to pay a time-barred debt.
panel held that a debt collector is entitled to collect a
lawful, outstanding debt even if the statute of limitations
has run, so long as the debt collector does not use means
that are deceptive or misleading and otherwise complies with
legal requirements. The panel concluded that the letter's
statute-of-limitations disclosure would not mislead the least
sophisticated debtor into thinking that the debt collector
could use legal means to collect the debt, and the letter was
not deceptive or misleading for not warning about the
potential for revival of the statute of limitations. Further,
there is nothing inherently deceptive or misleading in
attempting to collect a valid, outstanding debt, even if it
is unenforceable in court.
Stimpson contends that a debt collector's letter was
deceptive or misleading because it attempted to persuade him
to pay a time-barred debt. We reject this claim because a
debt collector is entitled to collect a lawful, outstanding
debt even if the statute of limitations has run, so long as
the debt collector does not use means that are deceptive or
misleading and otherwise complies with legal requirements.
February 2006, Barry Stimpson obtained a credit card from
HSBC Bank Nevada, N.A. (HSBC). HSBC's credit agreement
with Stimpson provided that Nevada law applied to the
account. Stimpson charged purchases to his card,
but did not pay off the entire balance. He made his last
payment on December 12, 2008. In September 2009, HSBC sold
Stimpson's account to a debt collector, Midland Funding,
Under Nevada law, the limitations period for bringing a legal
action against Stimpson for recovery of the amount owed on
the credit card expired on December 12, 2014, six years after
Stimpson's last payment. See NRS §§
11.010, 11.190, 11.200.
two years later, in March 2017, Midland Credit sent a letter
to Stimpson indicating that his account balance was $1,
145.60. The upper right-hand corner of the letter
states: "Offer Expiration Date: 04-27-2017." In the
middle of the page, the letter states: "Available
Payment Options. Option 1: 40% OFF. Option 2: 20% OFF Over 6
Months. Option 3: Monthly Payments As Low As: $50 per month.
Call today to discuss your options and get more
details." Immediately below the payment options, the
Benefits of Paying Your Debt
--Save $458.24 if you pay by 04-27-2017
--Put this debt behind you.
--No more communication on this account.
--Peace of mind.
letter is signed by Tim Bolin, Division Manager. Under his
signature, the letter states:
The law limits how long you can be sued on a debt and how
long a debt can appear on your credit report. Due to the age
of this debt, we will not sue you for it or report payment or
non-payment of it to a credit bureau.
the bottom of the page, the letter provides: "We are not
obliged to renew any offers provided. . . . PLEASE SEE
REVERSE SIDE ...