On March 26, 2018, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Resh v. China Agritech, Inc., a case that could have far-reaching implications in the class action context. Resh addresses the interplay of successive class actions and the statute of limitations, specifically, whether a plaintiff can pursue a class action after the statute of limitations has run. Although the issue arose in a securities case, the Court’s ruling will affect class actions and time bars in all areas, including employment.
In the employment law arena, plaintiffs frequently bring in federal court both federal and state law claims arising from the same nucleus of fact. Plaintiffs can do so thanks to 28 U.S.C. § 1367, which permits federal courts to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state claims arising from the “same case or controversy” as the federal claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). If the federal court dismisses the federal claims, often the court will decline to retain jurisdiction over just the state law claims and, consequently, dismisses those, too. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3). If that happens, how long does the plaintiff have to re-file in state court the state law claims, which have not been adjudicated on the merits? The answer lies in 28 U.S.C. § 1367(d), which reads in relevant part:
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania held recently that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s “pattern and practice” disability discrimination claims are subject to a 300-day limitations period, furthering a pronounced split among federal district courts on the issue. In the case, the EEOC took the position that its pattern or practice claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act were not subject to the limitations period, or, in the alternative, that the employer’s violations constituted a “continuous violation” and the EEOC’s claims were, thus, exempt from the 300-day limitations period. The court, however, agreed with the employer’s position that the EEOC’s claims were subject to the limitations period based upon the plain language of the statute. The decision holds the EEOC subject to the same limitations period applicable to individual claimants in any Title VII context.