Credit Card Debt's 6-Year Statute Of Limitations Held To Commence When Account Due
September 27, 2010
Quickly, and noting this is off topic, I wanted to post about the Indiana Court of Appeals' decision in Smithner v. Asset Acceptance, 2010 Ind. App. LEXIS 4 (.pdf) in which the Court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant/borrower based upon the running of the six-year statute of limitations. As outlined here, promissory notes also involve a six-year limitations period, but the Court in Smithner concluded that a credit card account is an "open account" governed by Ind. Code 34-11-2-7(1) that deals with "actions on accounts and contracts not in writing." This distinction affects the date upon which the statute is triggered.
Generally, "the date the account is due" is when the statute of limitations commences for an action on an open account. In Smithner, the borrower last made a payment on 2-9-2000, and the plaintiff/lender requested a minimum payment on the account by 3-11-2000. The borrower never made another payment. Because the Court considered the statute to have begun running either on the date of the last payment or the date the next payment was due, the lender's suit filed 5-30-2006 was beyond the six-year deadline and thus time-barred. Please review the decision for possible exceptions to the rule or facts that could affect the relevant dates, however.