Artis v. District of Columbia

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: February 27, 2017
  • Case #: 16-460
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 135 A.3d 334 (D.C. 2016)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether the tolling provision of 28 U.S.C. § 1367(d) suspends the statute of limitation period while a state-law claim is pending in federal court and for an additional 30 days after it is dismissed, or whether the statute of limitation period continues running while the state-law claim is pending in federal court but the plaintiff has a 30-day grace period to refile that state-law claim after it is dismissed.

If a federal court dismisses a federal claim and declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state-law claims, 28 U.S.C. § 1367(d) provides that “[t]he period of limitations for any [such] claim . . . shall be tolled while the claim is pending and for a period of 30 days after it is dismissed unless State law provides for a longer tolling period.” On December 16, 2011, Petitioner filed suit against Respondent in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Petitioner alleged that the Department of Health terminated her in violation of Title VII and she also asserted various state law claims. When Petitioner filed her suit, there was nearly two years left on the statute of limitations for her state law claims. On June 27, 2014, the district court granted Respondent’s motion for summary judgment on the Title VII claim and did not extend supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims. Fifty-nine days after the district court dismissed her suit, Petitioner refiled in D.C. Superior Court. However, the Superior Court determined that § 1367(d) required Petitioner to file suit within 30 days of the district court’s dismissal and thus, Petitioner’s claims were time-barred. The D.C. Court of Appeals affirmed, interpreting § 1367(d) under the suspension approach, which provides that the limitation period is suspended while the state-law claim is pending in federal court and for an additional 30 days after its dismissal. Contrary to this approach, some courts interpret § 1367 under the grace period approach, which provides that the limitation continues running while the state-law claim is pending in federal court and that the plaintiff gets a 30-day grace period to refile that state-law claim after it is dismissed by the federal court. On petition for a writ of certiorari, Petitioner argues that “tolled” means “suspended” and that the court should adopt the suspension approach.

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