United States Supreme Court Holds Federal Statute of Limitations Tolling Provision “Stops” Remaining Time to File State Law Claims Under Applicable State Statute of Limitations

In a 5 to 4 decision, Artis v. District of Columbia, 199 L. Ed.2d 473 (2018), the United States Supreme Court has held that 28 USC § 1367, the “supplemental jurisdiction” statute containing a statute of limitations tolling provision, stops the remaining time within which to file state law claims if the federal suit is dismissed. The holding means that the remaining time a plaintiff had to file a state law claim under the applicable state statute of limitations is “suspended” – the Court refers to this as the “stop clock” approach – during the pending federal litigation. Thus, regardless of how long beyond the state statute of limitations the federal action may be pending, the dismissal of the federal action allows the plaintiff the time that was remaining with the state statute of limitations plus an additional 30 days allowed by the federal statute.

As Justice Gorsuch points out in his dissent, which was joined by Justices Thomas, Kennedy, and Alito, this means that even if the federal litigation pends for several years beyond what would have been the expiration of the state law claims, upon dismissal of the federal claim, the plaintiff has the benefit of the remaining time dictated by the state statute of limitations plus 30 days to file his or her claim.

As with the many 42 USC § 1983 claims that are brought in federal court, or really with any federal claims, like the employment discrimination claims brought here, that have, along with them, attendant state law claims over which the federal court may exercise “supplemental jurisdiction” under 28 USC § 1367(a) (the federal statute at issue in this case), this decision will allow claimants to effectively extend the time they have to refile suit in state court for potentially many years beyond the expiration of the state’s statute of limitations applicable to the state law claims.

Mr. Tucker has developed a particular expertise in prosecuting and defending appeals in state and federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Tucker is also a frequent author of amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs in the United States Supreme Court and state and federal courts on behalf of various governmental and non-governmental entities, not-for-profit corporations, and individuals.

A significant portion of his practice is focused on appellate matters in which his efforts are directed at changing the law for a wide swath of interested parties and stakeholders. In addition to being licensed to practice in Michigan, Mr. Tucker is admitted to practice in the Eastern and Western District Federal Courts in Michigan, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.

Mr. Tucker has also presented for the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA) on the latest legal issues in municipal liability law under the U.S. Constitution and federal legislation under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Title 42 United States Code, §§ 1981, et seq., covering his familiarity and expertise on the many diverse questions that arise in this ever-changing and dynamic area of the law.

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