Case Conclusion Date: March 14, 2013
Practice Area: Contracts / Agreements
Outcome: Lost appeal on defense, prevailed on limiting attorney fees awared to plaintiff.
Description: Defendant sued by purchaser of Chase credit card account. Contract required application of DE law and defendant asserted three year DE statute of limitations. Plaintiff argued that Defendant had to reside in DE during the three years and absence from DE, despite never having been to DE, tolled the limitations period. Court of Appeals agreed with plaintiff and held (unnecessarily b/c Defendant had lost either way) that it was unfair to have an infinite limitations period and therefore "fair play" required application of the Oregon six year period. Notably the Court of Appeals agreed with Defendant that the purchaser of the debt did not qualify for attorney fees under the attorney fee provision of the contract as they were not the bank and DE law did not include the purchaser of the debt within the scope of DE's banking attorney fee statue. Plaintiff was entitled to fees in an amount up to 20% of the liability under another DE attorney fee statute. This is an important development in debtor/creditor relations as not all states have a second source of attorney fees permitting a debt purchaser to recover fees.