Supreme Court Victory: Federal Tort Claims Act Equitable Tolling Survives
April 22, 2015: In a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court today upheld "equitable tolling" of the 2-year statute of limitations requiring claims to be brought before a government agency for administrative review. United States v. Wong, No. 13-1074, United States v. June, No. 13-1075.
The decision affirms the common sense rule that will prevent plaintiffs rushing to present undeveloped and in many cases baseless administrative claims. By affirming equitable tolling, the decision puts the government in the same position as similarly situated private defendants and helps to make the administrative and judicial review process more predictable for all parties, which is a win-win for those concerned with challenging alleged government overreach.
Southeastern Legal Foundation filed an amicus brief in support of a private plaintiff who had failed to file her complaint within the two-year limitation, claiming that key facts supporting her case were concealed by the government in a tragedy involving the death of a minor in a car accident and the subsequent investigation into the crashworthiness of a median barrier. If the two-year statute of limitations had not been affirmed as equitably tolled to allow her to obtain the necessary information, her challenge would not have been fully developed factually to enable the case to move forward.
Click here for SLF amicus brief in this case