What is the time periodafter which you can no longer be sued on a debt?

UPDATED: Jan 5, 2012

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What is the time periodafter which you can no longer be sued on a debt?

I am being sued for an unsecured credit card debt that date back 9 years at least. I know I have not made payments or had an active card since then. I do believe it has been passed around to various collection agencies. Is there something called time barred after 6 years, whereby they can no longer collect? And how do I get this case dismissed?

Asked on January 5, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Indiana


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Legal actions are subject to something known as the "statute of limitations". This is a legal remedy that is employed to prohibit legal action from being taken against a person indefinitely. The statute of limitations for an open account (i.e. credit card debt) in most states is typically between 3-7 years; in IN it is 6 years (you are correct).

The SL begins to run from the date of last activity. However, while the date of last activity is typically the date of last payment or charge off, it can also be the date that a debtor entered into a repayment plan or otherwise acknowledged that they owed debt (in some jurisdictions, even if it is just in a telephone conversation).

However, even if the statute of limitations has run, and you can no longer be taken to court, you still owe the debt (although there is no real mechanism for your creditor to collect). That having been said, while a collector can still try to collect on such debt, threatening legal action (or indeed actually filing suit) regarding such a debt is illegal. At this point you need to offer proof to the court of the age of the debt and the fact that you have done nothing to extend the limitations period. In other words, let the court know that the lawsuit is time barred.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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