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28 U.S.C.S. § 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 tolling period.
When 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 petitioner on her sole federal claim and dismissed the D.C.-law claims under §1367(c). Fifty-nine days after the dismissal, petitioner filed 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 petitioner only a 30-day grace period to refile in state court and rejecting her argument that the word “tolled” in §1367(d) meant that the limitations period was suspended during the pendency of the federal suit. Petitioner appealed.
Did the §1367(d) accord petitioner only a 30-day grace period to refile her state-law claims in state court?
The Court held that the state law claims were erroneously dismissed as time-barred because 28 U.S.C.S. § 1367(d) stopped the clock on the employee's state-law claims while her federal court proceeding was pending. According to the Court, tolling a statute of limitations signalled stopping the clock the day the claim was filed in federal court, and § 1367(d) was phrased as a tolling provision that suspended the statute of limitations while a claim was pending in federal court and for 30 days post-dismissal.