The Buckeye Institute Joins SCOTUS Brief to Protect Small Businesses

Mar 14, 2024

Columbus, OH – On Thursday, The Buckeye Institute joined the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) on its amicus brief in Metal Conversion Technologies v. U.S. Department of Transportation, calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case and confirm that government agencies must follow the principle of  “equitable tolling.”

“Equitable tolling” can extend statutes of limitation for a legal claim when a plaintiff discovers the injury after the statute of limitation runs out. Equitable tolling is a well-established principle in the country’s courts. However, in the area of “administrative law”—when a government agency’s internal administrative law judge decides a case—the longstanding doctrine of equitable tolling is often ignored. 

“Equitable tolling is available to plaintiffs in our constitutionally established federal courts,” said David C. Tryon, director of litigation at The Buckeye Institute. “In barring equitable tolling in cases involving non-constitutional in-house government agency review, lower courts have essentially elevated government agencies over our constitutionally established courts and denied citizens a fundamental right they routinely enjoy in court.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation admitted that the government officer reviewing a charge against Metal Conversion Technologies was improperly appointed and admitted that the department hid this improper appointment. When Metal Conversion Technologies discovered the impropriety—after the government officer ruled against the company—the department conveniently claimed it was too late; the statute of limitations for Metal Conversion Technologies to take any action to challenge the agency’s decision had run out.

New Civil Liberties Alliance is arguing Metal Conversion Technologies v. U.S. Department of Transportation. The Cato Institute and Institute for Hazardous Materials Packaging and Certification Testing, Inc. also joined the brief.

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