It’s been a while since we’ve had any news but there was some new activity in Court this week…
On August 7, 2013, the USDA filed a Motion to End the Tolling of the Statute of Limitations in this case. It quickly realized that its filing was deficient because it did not take into consideration the possibility that claimants who made a claim under the Administrative Claim Process could be rejected under that Process and left with no legal recourse if the statute of limitations had run by then. Therefore, the USDA withdrew its motion and filed a new corrected motion on August 13, 2013.
The motion requests the Court to “end the tolling of the statute of limitations for all putative class members, effective forty-five days after an order is issued, except that for any putative class member who filed an administrative claim in the ADR program prior to May 1, 2013, whose claim remains pending on the date any order ending tolling is issued, and whose claim is subsequently rejected by the claims Administrator as incomplete, the tolling of the statute of limitations should end forty-five days after the date on which the Administrator issues notification of such rejection”.
Plaintiffs’ counsel does not consent to the motion.
What does this all mean?
A statute of limitations is a rule that gives plaintiffs a certain amount of time to bring a claim against a defendant. After the limitations period has run, the plaintiff can no longer prevail on a claim.
According to USDA’s filing, when a potential class action is filed, the statute of limitations period is suspended, or “tolled”, until the Court decides if a class can be “certified” and proceed as a class action. If class certification is denied, then the limitations period may resume running from the point where the tolling began.
In this case, the class action was filed two days before the statute of limitations deadline, effectively suspending the limitations period. However, the Court later denied class certification and the USDA now wants the statute of limitations period to resume so that 45 days after an order is entered, any potential plaintiffs will have 2 days to file their own action, unless they have already participated in the Administrative Claims Process. If a claimant has participated in the Administrative Claims Process before May 1, 2013 and later has their claim rejected, their personal statute of limitations period will resume 45 days after their rejection.
The Court has not yet ruled on this motion so stay tuned for updates.