Federal Tort Claim Act time limits are subject to equitable tolling.


The Federal Tort Claims Act provides that a tort claim against the United States “shall be forever barred” unless the claimant meets two deadlines. First, a claim must be presented to the appropriate federal agency for administrative review “within two years after [the] claim accrues.” Second, if the agency denies the claim, the claimant must file suit in federal court “within six months” of the agency’s denial. In this case, the claimant missed the filing deadline, but requested equitable tolling because she had a good reason for filing late. The district court dismissed her claim holding that, despite any justification for the delay, the time bar was jurisdictional and not subject to equitable tolling. The Ninth Circuit reversed. The Supreme Court held that Federal Tort Claims Act time limits are subject to equitable tolling.


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