The Supreme Court just made it simpler for people to sue the US Government. In two cases which made it to the top court, there was a question as to whether the cases were brought to court in a timely manner.
Kwai Fun Wong, was strip-searched while being held in an immigration detention center in Portland Oregon in 1999, and is suing the government for damages regarding her treatment. The question now is whether the case was presented after too long a time had elapsed. Wong, who was a minister at Wu-Wei Tien Tao Association, a religious organization, was detained when it was determined that she was an illegal immigrant. In addition to being strip-searched, her requests for vegetarian food were also denied. Wong, a British citizen, was deported and has not since returned to the US.
The second case was brought forth by the family of Anthony Booth who was killed in 2005 on a Federal highway in Arizona. The family claims the median barrier was defective and contributed to his death.
On a 5-4 vote deciding both cases, the justices ruled that court deadlines for filing certain lawsuits can be extended if plaintiffs have good reasons for the delay. President Barack Obama’s administration had asked the court to impose a strict deadline for such lawsuits under a law called the Federal Tort Claims Act.
The Federal Tort Claims Act, which outlines in what circumstances the federal government can be sued, says that people must make a claim with a federal agency within two years and then file a lawsuit within six months of the agency making a decision.