SCOTUS weighs deadlines for filling state law claims after federal dismissal
- The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to clarify how much time employees have to file a claim in state court after a federal court dismisses their claims, reports SHRM. Currently, workers can file one claim under both the federal and state courts. What’s unclear is the employees’ deadline for refiling a claim in state court after the federal court has dismissed their case.
- Guy Brenner, an attorney with the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Proskauer Rose LLP, told SHRM that federal courts have jurisdiction over state legal claims. If federal courts dismiss a claim, they may decline jurisdiction over the state claim, also dismissing that one.
- In Artis v. District of Columbia, the Supreme Court justices are being asked to clarify whether federal law puts on hold the statute of limitations on a state-law claim while the claim is pending in federal court and for 30 days after dismissal, or whether the employee has a 30-day grace period to refile the claim in state court.
The case appears at first to be strictly a procedural issue, but being able to get an efficient court resolution to an employment law dispute is important to employers — cases that drag on are costly and disruptive for businesses. The longer the clock runs on a claim, the more time an employee has to pursue litigation. The Supreme Court justices pick and choose cases they want to hear, meaning they believe the Artis case is important enough to merit clarifying the controversy over statutes of limitations versus 30-day grace periods. Employers likely agree, and they will look to the Court to set a precedent to resolve claims as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Stephanie Artis, the plaintiff in the case, filed her claim with the state 59 days after the federal court dismissed her discrimination claim and declined to decide her wrongful termination and whistleblower claims in state court. Her employer wanted the federal court to dismiss her claims because she missed the 30-day grace period. But Aris argued that the state’s statute of limitations applies and began when the federal court dismissed her discrimination claim.
The case will be among the first Justice Neil Gorsuch will decide as the newest member of the court. His reputation as a pro-business judge could tip the court in a direction that favors employers.