Monday, May 03, 2004

4-year limitations period for new-fangled claims under 42 U.S.C. 1981

In Jones v. R.R. Donnelly & Sons, Co., the Supreme Court decided today by 9-0 vote that the (relatively) new catch-all federal limitations period of 28 U.S.C. 1658 applies to new causes of action contained in 42 U.S.C. 1981 for post-contract discrimination that were created when Congress amended section 1981 in 1991 in response to the Supreme Court's Patterson decision.

So, if I understand this correctly, the effect of this ruling is that for old-fashioned section 1981 claims, of the kind that have been around since Reconstruction, the statute of limitations (in Virginia) is two years, but for the new-fangled claims, the limitations period is four years.

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