The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mihm, District Judge.
This case is before the Court on the Motion of the United
States to dismiss the main action for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure for the reason that Plaintiff failed to meet
the applicable statute of limitations in filing this lawsuit.
The question presented by this Motion is whether, when the
statute of limitations for a cause of action against the United
States expires on a weekend, the statute of limitations is
satisfied by the filing of the complaint on the next work day.
This Court finds that the answer to that question is "Yes," and
therefore denies the United States' Motion.
This is a case brought pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims
Act (hereinafter referred to as "FTCA"). The statute of
limitations that governs actions under the FTCA is contained in
28 U.S.C. § 2401(b), That statute provides as follows:
A tort claim against the United States shall be
forever barred unless it is presented in writing
to the appropriate federal agency within two years
after such claim accrues or unless action is begun
within six months after the date of mailing, by
certified or registered mail, of the notice of
final denial of the claim by the agency to which
it was presented.
In this case, the Complaint states that the denial of
Plaintiff's administrative tort claim was mailed on August 24,
1984, and the Complaint was filed on Monday, February 25, 1985.
The issue to be resolved in this Motion is whether the filing
on Monday was permissible where a literal application of the
statute of limitations would indicate that it expired on
Sunday. According to the United States, the six-month statute
of limitations period began to run on August 25, 1984 and ended
on Sunday, February 24, 1985, so that Plaintiff's filing on
February 25, 1985 was not "within six months after the date of
mailing" as required by 28 U.S.C. § 2401(b). This Court
Two Federal Rules of Civil Procedure must be considered in
resolving the statute of limitations questions. The first is
Rule 6(a), which states as follows:
In computing any period of time prescribed or
allowed by these rules, by the local rules of any
district court, by order of court, or by any
applicable statute, the day of the act, event, or
default from which the designated period of time
begins to run shall not be included. The last day
of the period so computed shall be included,
unless it is a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal
holiday, or, when the act to be done is the filing
of a paper in court, a day on which weather or
other conditions have made the office of the Clerk
of the District Court inaccessible, in which event
the period runs until the end of the next day,
which is not one of the aforementioned days.
Fed.R.CiP. 6(a). The other rule is Rule 82, which states:
Because both of the above Federal Rules should be given
effect, the United States suggests that this Court find that
the filing on Monday was permissible except if such a
construction would extend this Court's jurisdiction. The United
States emphasizes that this Court has no jurisdiction over a
tort claim against the United States without compliance with
the terms and conditions of a waiver of sovereign immunity.
Best Bearings Co. United States, 463 F.2d 1177, 1179 (7th Cir.
1972); Stewart United States, 655 F.2d 741, 742 (7th Cir.
1981). Yet, the United States claims that a construction which
would allow the Monday filing would, in fact, result in an
enlargement of this Court's jurisdiction.
This Court is cognizant of the fact that a tort claim against
the United States must comply with the terms and conditions of
the waiver of sovereign immunity. Nevertheless, this Court
holds that Rule 6(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
extends the time limit for filing where the statute of
limitations runs on a day on which the office of the Clerk of
the Court is not open. Although the Court of Appeals in this
circuit has not addressed this precise question, this holding
is consistent with the rulings of other federal courts of
appeal that have adjudicated the issue.
In Frey Woodard, 748 F.2d 173, 175 (3rd Cir. 1984), the
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that
an administrative claim filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act
was timely where the statutory period expired on a Saturday and
the claim was not filed until Monday. The Court rejected a
strict construction of all statutes which might affect a waiver