In Slorp v. Lerner, Sampson & Rothfuss, — Fed.Appx. —-, 2014 WL 4800100 (6th Cir. 2014) refused to apply the continuing violation doctrine to an FDCPA case.
Application of the continuing-violation doctrine to FDCPA claims would be inconsistent with the principles underlying the Supreme Court’s limited endorsement of that doctrine in Morgan. In Morgan the Court differentiated between discrete acts and continuing violations. “Discrete acts such as termination, failure to promote, denial of transfer, or refusal to hire are easy to identify,” and each of those discrete acts “constitutes a separate actionable unlawful employment practice.” 536 U.S. at 114 (internal quotation marks omitted). Only those discrete acts that occurred within the limitations period are actionable; “[a]ll prior discrete discriminatory acts are untimely filed and no longer actionable.” Id. at 114–15. Claims of hostile work environment, by contrast, “are different in kind from discrete acts. Their very nature involves repeated conduct.” Id at 115. “It occurs over a series of days or perhaps years and, in direct contrast to discrete acts, a single act of harassment may not be actionable on its own.” Id. Liability attaches to a discrete act as soon as that act occurs, whereas liability for a hostile work environment depends upon “proof of repeated conduct extending over a period of time.” Id. at 120 n.12. A plaintiff therefore may assert a claim for hostile work environment based on a series of component acts provided that just one of those acts occurred within the filing period. Id. at 117. All of the acts that comprise a claim for hostile work environment, “including those that would otherwise fall outside of the filing period,” are deemed timely if one of those acts occurred within the limitations window. Sasse v. U.S. Dep’t of Labor, 409 F.3d 773, 782 (6th Cir.2005) (citing Morgan, 536 U.S. at 117). The institution and maintenance of the debt-collection suit in this case is much more akin to a discrete act of discrimination than a hostile work environment. As a general matter, when a debt collector initiates a deceptive, abusive, or otherwise unfair lawsuit, there is no doubt that the FDCPA claim—insofar as it is viable—accrues on that date. Although the subsequent prosecution of that suit may exacerbate the damages, the continued accrual of damages does not diminish the fact that the initiation of the suit was a discrete, immediately actionable event. . . . A plaintiff who alleges several FDCPA violations, some of which occurred within the limitations period and some of which occurred outside that window, will be barred from seeking relief for the untimely violations, but that plaintiff may continue to seek relief for those violations that occurred within the limitations period. See Purnell v. Arrow Fin. Servs., LLC, 303 F. App’x 297, 301 (6th Cir.2008). But the violations that occur within the limitations window must be discrete violations; they cannot be the later effects of an earlier time-barred violation. Id. at 302 (citing Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 550 U.S. 618, 628 (2007), superseded by statute, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, Pub.L. No. 111–2, 123 Stat. 5).