It is probably not often that a case turns on the meaning of a preposition, but yesterday’s decision in Wallace v. Diversified Consulting, Inc. did just that. The case arose under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act concerning certain actions that must take place “within 30 days after receipt of the notice.” However, the letter issued in this case it stated “within 30 days of receiving this notice.” The plaintiff sought to impose liability for the use of the word “of” rather than “after” as violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Sixth Circuit, however, held that there is no difference of the use of either word in this context. Citing examples as diverse as the Bible and the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure (divine inspiration surely prompted both), the Court noted several examples where “of” and “after” were used interchangeably. The Court concluded that no reasonable consumer would be confused by the use of “of” rather than “after”, largely because the plaintiff’s argument would require the consumer to assume the ability to “travel back in time.” In the end, the Court applied perhaps the most basic maxim in statutory interpretation in this case – common sense.