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Artis v. District of Columbia

Supreme Court of the United States

November 1, 2017, Argued; January 22, 2018, Decided

No. 16-460.


Justice Ginsburg [***6]  delivered the opinion of the Court.

The 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  [*598]  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.

Section 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.”

The question presented: Does the word “tolled,” as used [***7]  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 grace-period, reading.

In the case before us, plaintiff-petitioner Stephanie C. Artis refiled her state-law claims in state court 59 days after dismissal of her federal suit. 1 Reading §1367(d) as a grace-period prescription, her complaint  [**480]  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’ judgment.

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138 S. Ct. 594 *; 199 L. Ed. 2d 473 **; 2018 U.S. LEXIS 762 ***; 86 U.S.L.W. 4024; 102 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) P45,961; 42 I.E.R. Cas. (BNA) 609; 27 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 28; 2018 WL 491524


Notice: The LEXIS pagination of this document is subject to change pending release of the final published version.


Artis v. District of Columbia, 135 A.3d 334, 2016 D.C. App. LEXIS 88 (D.C., Apr. 7, 2016)

Disposition: 135 A. 3d 334, reversed and remanded.


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Civil Procedure, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Supplemental Jurisdiction, Pendent Claims, Same Case & Controversy, Jurisdiction, Supplemental Jurisdiction, Governments, Legislation, Statute of Limitations, Tolling, Interpretation, Constitutional Law, Congressional Duties & Powers, Necessary & Proper Clause, Relations Among Governments