Bakersfield, CA asked in Civil Litigation for California

Q: Define what "last date of activity" on a statute of limitations encompasses.

Several years ago a doctor billed me erroneously. His office refused to adjust the bill. The bill went to collections. I would like a detailed explanation as to how the last date of activity is defined as it relates to the stature of limitations. I have found a general description, but am looking for something specific to my situation. The collections agency is charging interest monthly. GBLA initially assisted me and agreed that the bill was erroneous yet recently indicated they cannot help me further with this. I am considering small claims court or writing a follow-up letter but need guidance.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Joseph Franklin Klatt
Joseph Franklin Klatt
  • La Jolla, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: No one can give you a detailed explanation of the statute of limitations without knowing the details of your situation. There are multiple causes of action that can be used against you in a collections situation, including breach of contract, and common counts, such as "open book account." Important dates can be when you last paid, refused to pay, acknowledged the debt, renegotiated the debt, and received a bill. In different circumstances, those can all be triggers for the statute of limitations, which depending on the cause of action are generally 2-4 years, most often 4 years for the most common causes of action here.

I am not sure what you are thinking about doing in small claims. Are you thinking of an offensive claim? You are the one that owes money. They need to sue you to collect, and they need to prove the validity of the debt, which you can dispute. You can always sit back and hold them to their proof if they chose to bring a suit. Now your credit may suffer in the meanwhile, so their may be reasons to challenge it outside the judicial context. If this account has been assigned to collections, you do have a right to ask the collector to validate the debt when they contact you.

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