November 1, 2017
TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURT OF APPEALS No. 16-460.
OF CERTIORARI TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURT OF APPEALS
district courts may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
state claims not otherwise within their adjudicatory
authority if those claims are "part of the same case or
controversy" as the federal claims the plaintiff
asserts. 28 U.S.C. §1367(a). When a district court
dismisses all claims independently qualifying for the
exercise of federal jurisdiction, it ordinarily also
dismisses all related state claims. See §1367(c)(3).
Section 1367(d) provides that the "period of limitations
for" refiling in state court a state claim so dismissed
"shall be tolled while the claim is pending [in federal
court] and for a period of 30 days after it is dismissed
unless State law provides for a longer tolling period."
petitioner Artis filed a federal-court suit against
respondent District of Columbia (District), alleging a
federal employment-discrimination claim and three allied
claims under D. C. law, nearly two years remained on the
applicable statute of limitations for the D. C.-law
violations. Two and a half years later, the Federal District
Court ruled against Artis on her sole federal claim and
dismissed the D. C.-law claims under § 1367(c).
Fifty-nine days after the dismissal, Artis refiled her
state-law claims in the D. C. Superior Court, but that court
dismissed them as time barred. The D. C. Court of Appeals
affirmed, holding that § 1367(d) accorded Artis only a
30-day grace period to refile in state court and rejecting
her argument that the word "tolled" in §
1367(d) means that the limitations period is suspended during
the pendency of the federal suit.
1. Section 1367(d)'s instruction to "toll" a
state limitations period means to hold it in abeyance,
i.e., to stop the clock. Pp. 7-16.
(a) Statutes that shelter from time bars claims earlier
commenced in another forum generally employ one of two means.
First, the period of limitations may be "tolled, "
i.e., suspended, while the claim is pending
elsewhere; the time clock starts running again when the
tolling period ends, picking up where it left off. A
legislature may instead elect simply to provide a grace
period, permitting the statute of limitations to run while
the claim is pending in another forum and averting the risk
of a time bar by according the plaintiff a fixed period in
which to re file. The District has identified no federal
statute in which a grace-period meaning has been ascribed to
the word "tolled" or any word similarly rooted. And
the one case in which this Court used tolling language to
describe a grace period, see Hardin v. Straub, 490
U.S. 536, is a feather on the scale against the weight of
decisions in which "tolling" a statute of
limitations signals stopping the clock. Pp. 7-11.
(b) Considering first the ordinary meaning of the statutory
language, §1367(d) is phrased as a tolling provision. It
suspends the statute of limitations both while the claim is
pending in federal court and for 30 days postdismissal.
Artis' interpretation is a natural fit with this
language. The District, in contrast, reads "tolled"
to mean to remove, temporarily, the bar that would ordinarily
accompany the expiration of the limitations period. But the
District offers no reason to home in only on the word
"tolled" itself and ignore information about the
verb's ordinary meaning gained from its grammatical
object, "period of limitations." That object sheds
light on what it means to "be tolled." The
District's reading also tenders a strained interpretation
of the phrase "period of limitations"; makes the
first portion of the tolling period, the duration of the
claim's pendency in federal court, superfluous; and could
yield an absurdity, permitting a plaintiff to refile in state
court even if the limitations period on her claim had expired
before she filed in federal court. Pp. 11-13.
(c) The D. C. Court of Appeals erred in concluding that
Congress adopted an American Law Institute (ALI)
recommendation to allow refiling in state court only for 30
days after a dismissal. The ALI provision, like §
1367(d), established a 30-day federal floor on the time
allowed for refiling, but it did not provide for tolling
"while the [state] claim is pending" in federal
court. Pp. 13-14.
(d) The 30-day provision casts no large shadow on Artis'
stop-the-clock interpretation. The provision accounts for
cases in which a plaintiff commenced a federal action close
to the expiration date of the relevant state statute of
limitations, by giving such a plaintiff breathing space to
refile in state court. Adding a brief span of days to the
tolling period is not unusual in stop-the-clock statutes.
See, e.g., 46 U.S.C. §53911. Section
1367(d)'s proviso "unless State law provides for a
longer tolling period" could similarly aid a plaintiff
who filed in federal court just short of the expiration of
the state limitations period. Pp. 14-16.
2. The stop-the-clock interpretation of §1367(d) does
not present a serious constitutional problem. In Jinks v.
Richland County, 538 U.S. 456, the Court rejected an
argument that §1367(d) impermissibly exceeds
Congress' authority under the Necessary and Proper
Clause. Id., at 464-465. The District contends that
a stop-the-clock prescription serves "no federal
purpose" that could not be served by a grace-period
prescription. But both devices are standard, off-the-shelf
means of accounting for the fact that a claim was timely
pressed in another forum. Requiring Congress to choose one
over the other would impose a tighter constraint on
Congress' discretion than this Court has countenanced. A
concern that a stop-the-clock prescription entails a greater
imposition on the States than a grace-period prescription may
also be more theoretical than real. Finally, a stop-the-clock
rule like §1367(d) is suited to the primary purposes of
limitations statutes: " 'preventing
surprises'" to defendants and " 'barring a
plaintiff who has slept on his rights.'"
American Pipe & Constr. Co. v. Utah, 414 U.S.
538, 554. Pp. 16-19.
135 A. 3d 334');">135 A. 3d 334, reversed and remanded.
GINSBURG, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which
ROBERTS, C. J., and BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ.,
joined. GORSUCH, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which
KENNEDY, THOMAS, and ALITO, JJ., joined.
Supplemental Jurisdiction statute, 28 U.S.C. §1367,
enables federal district courts to entertain claims not
otherwise within their adjudicatory authority when those
claims "are so related to claims . . . within
[federal-court competence] that they form part of the same
case or controversy." §1367(a). Included within
this supplemental jurisdiction are state claims brought along
with federal claims arising from the same episode. When
district courts dismiss all claims independently qualifying
for the exercise of federal jurisdiction, they ordinarily
dismiss as well all related state claims. See §
1367(c)(3). A district court may also dismiss the related
state claims if there is a good reason to decline
jurisdiction. See § 1367(c)(1), (2), and (4). This case
concerns the time within which state claims so dismissed may
be refiled in state court.
1367(d), addressing that issue, provides:
"The period of limitations for any [state] claim [joined
with a claim within federal-court competence] shall be tolled
while the claim is pending [in federal court] and for a
period of 30 days after it is dismissed unless State law
provides for a longer tolling period."
question presented: Does the word "tolled, " as
used in § 1367(d), mean the state limitations period is
suspended during the pendency of the federal suit; or does
"tolled" mean that, although the state limitations
period continues to run, a plaintiff is accorded a grace
period of 30 days to refile in state court post dismissal of
the federal case? Petitioner urges the first, or
stop-the-clock, reading. Respondent urges, and the District
of Columbia Court of Appeals adopted, the second, or
case before us, plaintiff-petitioner Stephanie C. Artis
refiled her state-law claims in state court 59 days after
dismissal of her federal suit. Reading §1367(d) as a
grace-period prescription, her complaint would be time
barred. Reading §1367(d) as stopping the limitations
clock during the pendency of the federal-court suit, her
complaint would be timely. We hold that §1367(d)'s
instruction to "toll" a state limitations period
means to hold it in abeyance, i.e., to stop the
clock. Because the D. C. Court of Appeals held that §
1367(d) did not stop the D. C. Code's limitations clock,
but merely provided a 30-day grace period for refiling in D.
C. Superior Court, we reverse the D. C. Court of Appeals'
1367, which Congress added to Title 28 as part of the
Judicial Improvements Act of 1990, 104 Stat. 5089, codifies
the court-developed pendent and ancillary jurisdiction
doctrines under the label "supplemental
jurisdiction." See Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah
Services, Inc., 545 U.S. 546, 552-558 (2005) (describing
the development of pendent and ancillary jurisdiction
doctrines and subsequent enactment of §1367);
id., at 579-584 (GINSBURG, J., dissenting) (same).
The House Report accompanying the Act explains that Congress
sought to clarify the scope of federal courts' authority
to hear claims within their supplemental jurisdiction,
appreciating that "[supplemental jurisdiction has
enabled federal courts and litigants to . . . deal
economically-in single rather than multiple litigation-with
related matters." H. R. Rep. No. 101-734, p. 28 (1990)
(H. R. Rep.). Section 1367(a) provides, in relevant part,
that a district court with original jurisdiction over a claim
"shall have supplemental jurisdiction over all other
claims . . . form[ing] part of the same case or
every claim within the same 'case or controversy' as
the claim within the federal courts' original
jurisdiction will be decided by the federal court."
Jinks v. Richland County, 538 U.S. 456, 459 (2003).
Section 1367(c) states:
"The district courts may decline to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over a claim under subsection (a)
"(1) the claim raises a novel or complex issue of State
"(2) the claim substantially predominates over the claim
or claims over which the district court has original
"(3) the district court has dismissed all claims over
which it has original jurisdiction, or
"(4) in exceptional circumstances, there are other
compelling reasons for declining jurisdiction."
district court declines to exercise jurisdiction over a claim
asserted under § 1367(a) and the plaintiff wishes to
continue pursuing it, she must refile the claim in state
court. If the state court would hold the claim time barred,
however, then, absent a curative provision, the district
court's dismissal of the state-law claim without
prejudice would be tantamount to a dismissal with prejudice.
See, e.g., Carnegie-Mellon Univ. v. Cohill, 484 U.S.
343, 352 (1988) (under the doctrine of pendent jurisdiction,
if the statute of limitations on state-law claims expires
before the federal court "relinquish[es] jurisdiction[,
] ... a dismissal will foreclose the plaintiff from
litigating his claims"). To prevent that result,
§1367(d) supplies "a tolling rule that must be
applied by state courts." Jinks, 538 U.S., at
459. Section 1367(d) provides:
"The period of limitations for any claim asserted under
subsection (a), and for any other claim in the same action
that is voluntarily dismissed at the same time as or after
the dismissal of the claim under subsection (a), 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
case requires us to determine how §1367(d)'s tolling
Artis worked as a health inspector for respondent, the
District of Columbia (the "District"). In November
2010, Artis was told she would lose her job. Thirteen months
later, Artis sued the District in the United States District
Court for the District of Columbia, alleging that she had
suffered employment discrimination in violation of Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 78 Stat. 253, as amended, 42
U.S.C. §2000e et seq. She also asserted three
allied claims under D. C. law: retaliation in violation of
the District of Columbia Whistleblower Act, D. C. Code
§1-615.54 (2001); termination in violation of the
District of Columbia False Claims Act, §2-381.04; and
wrongful termination against public policy, a common-law
claim. Artis alleged that she had been subjected to gender
discrimination by her supervisor, and thereafter encountered
retaliation for reporting the supervisor's unlawful
activities. See Artis v. District of Columbia, 51
F.Supp.3d 135, 137 (2014).
27, 2014, the District Court granted the District's
motion for summary judgment on the Title VII claim. Having
dismissed Artis' sole federal claim, the District Court,
pursuant to § 1367(c)(3), declined to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over her remaining state-law
claims. "Artis will not be prejudiced, " the court
noted, "because 28 U.S.C. § 1367(d) provides for a
tolling of the statute of limitations during the period the
case was here and for at least 30 days thereafter."
Id., at 142.
days after the dismissal of her federal action, Artis refiled
her state-law claims in the D. C. Superior Court, the
appropriate local court. The Superior Court granted the
District's motion to dismiss, holding that Artis'
claims were time barred, because they were filed 29 days too
late. See App. to Pet. for Cert. 14a. When Artis first
asserted her state-law claims in the District Court, nearly
two years remained on the applicable three-year statute of
limitations. But two and a half years passed before the
federal court relinquished jurisdiction. Unless §
1367(d) paused the limitations clock during that time, Artis
would have had only 30 days to re file. The Superior Court
rejected Artis' stop-the-clock reading of § 1367(d),
reasoning that Artis could have protected her state-law
claims by "pursuing [them] in a state court while the
federal court proceeding [was] pending." Ibid.
In tension with that explanation, the court noted that
duplicative filings in federal and state court are
"generally disfavored ... as 'wasteful' and . .
. 'against [the interests of] judicial
efficiency.'" Id., at 14a, n. 1 (quoting
Stevens v. Arco Management of Wash. B.C., Inc., 751
A.2d 995, 1002 (D. C. 2000); alteration in original).
C. Court of Appeals affirmed. That court began by observing
that two "competing approaches [to § 1367(d)] have
evolved nationally": the stop-the-clock reading and the
grace-period reading. 135 A. 3d 334');">135 A. 3d 334, 337
(2016).Without further comment on
§1367(d)'s text, the D. C. Court of Appeals turned
to the legislative history. Section 1367(d)'s purpose,
the court noted, was "to prevent the loss of claims to
statutes of limitations where state law might fail to toll
the running of the period of limitations while a supplemental
claim was pending in federal court." Id., at
338 (quoting H. R. Rep., at 30; internal quotation marks
omitted). Following the lead of the California Supreme Court,
the D. C. Court of Appeals determined that Congress had
intended to implement a 1969 recommendation by the American
Law Institute (ALI) to allow refiling in state court
"within 30 days after dismissal." 135 A. 3d, at 338
(quoting Los Angeles v. County of Kern, 59 Cal.4th
618, 629, 328 P.3d 56, 63 (2014)).
C. Court of Appeals also concluded that the grace-period
approach "better accommodates federalism concerns,
" by trenching significantly less on state statutes of
limitations than the stop-the-clock approach. 135 A. 3d, at
338-339. Construing § 1367(d) as affording only a 30-day
grace period, the court commented, was "consistent with
[its] presumption favoring narrow interpretations of federal
preemption of state law." Id., at 339.
resolve the division of opinion among State Supreme Courts on
the proper construction of § 1367(d), see
supra, at 6, n. 3, ...