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Supreme Court hears age discrimination, statute of limitations cases

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] Tuesday in Federal Express Corp. v. Holowecki [Duke Law case backgrounder; merit briefs], 06-1322, to determine whether an age discrimination lawsuit against FedEx [corporate website] was filed properly. FedEx seeks to overturn a US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decision [PDF text] holding that an "intake questionnaire" submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) [official website] met the requirements of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) [text]. The ADEA requires that plaintiffs alleging discrimination notify the EEOC and wait 60 days before filing a lawsuit against an employer so that the EEOC may notify the company and investigate the charges. FedEx alleges that the plaintiffs filed suit before notifying the EEOC, but the plaintiffs say that they complied with the law and any failure to notify FedEx was the fault of the EEOC itself. Chief Justice John Roberts questioned Tuesday whether "government incompetence" in failing to notify FedEx should lead to a loss for the plaintiffs. AP has more.

The Court also heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] Tuesday in John R. Sand & Gravel Co. v. US [Duke Law case backgrounder; merit briefs ], 06-1164, in which it will consider whether the six year statute of limitations on Tucker Act [28 USC 2501 text] claims limits the jurisdiction of the US Court of Federal Claims [official website]. The Bush administration argued that the statute of limitation has consistently been held to be jurisdictional and that courts therefore are barred from entertaining actions filed after that limit. Lawyers for John R. Sand & Gravel Co. said that the statute of limitations is merely a claim-processing rule. AP has more.

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