The credit card debt that Americans built up over the recession is gradually eroding and becoming legally off-limits to collectors, although it can be difficult to figure out when an individual obligation has expired. The answer may vary depending on different credit card agreements, state laws, and individual judges. Limitations on collecting debts are meant to protect consumers from old claims that lack evidence. Typically the clock runs for six years for credit card debt. Collectors may still seek repayment once a debt's legal status has expired, but they cannot use court action to do so. In one case, Rhode Island resident Frank Fiorenzano was sued by a debt buyer for a $1,552 Capital One balance in 2010, eight years after he stopped making payments. The U.S. District Court ruled in 2012 that Rhode Island's 10-year statute should apply, requiring Fiorenzano to repay the debt. In another Rhode Island case involving a Capital One card, however, a federal court judge decided that the credit card agreement made Virginia the legal state of the debt, meaning that a shorter statute should apply.