When key features of a federal statute do not appear in the original text of the United States

Wilson v. HussmanA civil case involving the rape of a child on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation was decided yesterday by Judge Lawrence Piersol (DSD); It is alleged that around 1978 or 1979 when the plaintiff was 8 and 9 years old. Any time limit appears to be completely waived for such cases:

… (a) In general.—Any person who, while a minor, commits a violation of sections 1589, 1590, 1591, 2241(c), 2242, 2243, 2251, 2251A, 2252, 2252A, 2420, 2422, or 2422 of this title. 2423 and who suffers personal injury as a result of such violation, regardless of whether the injury occurred while such person was a minor, may sue in any competent United States district court and recover actual damages in the amount of $150,000 sustained or liquidated damages, and reasonable attorney’s fees. Costs of the action including fees and other litigation expenses reasonably incurred. The court may also award punitive damages and other preliminary and equitable relief if determined to be appropriate.

(b) Statute of limitations.—There shall be no time limit for filing a complaint to commence an action under this section.

But the actual public law which enacted the statute also provides (as noted here),

SEC. 3. Effective Date; applicability.

This Act and the amendments made by this Act shall—

(1) This Act shall come into force from the date of its coming into force; and (2) applies—

(A) any claim or action which, as of the date described in paragraph (1), would not be barred under section 2255(b) of title 18, United States Code, as read on the day before the date of enactment of this Act; And

(b) any claim or action arising after the date of commencement of this Act. Approved September 16, 2022.

inside WilsonJudge Piersol concluded that plaintiffs’ claims were barred by public law, even if that bar were not reflected in the original text of the US Code version:

As indicated in the citation, PL 117-176 is codified into statute at large at 136 Stat. 2108. Where there is an inconsistency between the text of a United States Code section and the statutes at large, the language of the latter controls. 1 USC § 204(a). see Stephan v. United States, 319 US 423, 426 (1943) (“. . . the larger statute will not prevail if the two codes are inconsistent”). see more Jewish Center for the Elderly v. US Department of Housing and Urban Development2007 WL 2121691, *4 (ED Mo. 2007); Peart v Motor Vessel Bering Explorer, 373 F. Supp. 927,928 (D. Alaska 1974). In the present case, the language of the statutes at large controls.

On its face, Section 3 removes the statute of limitations for actions or claims arising after the enactment of the Act. Cases arising before that time require further analysis. Pursuant to § (2)(A), it is necessary to evaluate whether an old claim would be barred by the statute of limitations applicable before September 16, 2022.

The earlier version of 18 USC § 2255 is now in effect [and starting in 2013]The statute provides a ten-year statute of limitations that begins to run ten years after discovery of the plaintiff’s violation or injury or after the victim reaches the age of eighteen. [The] The ten-year statute of limitations … dating from more than three decades ago will not revive a claim like the plaintiff’s…

In her complaint, the plaintiff claims that the alleged rape occurred when she was 8 and 9 years old. Based on his statement that he was 12 years old when he ran away in 1982, the court estimated the date of birth to be sometime in 1970. It is possible that he could have taken a civil action when 18 USC § 2255 was amended in 1986 to authorize civil suits for specifics. sexual harassment. Clearly, the plaintiff did not. The September 16, 2022, amendment to 18 USC § 2255 that plaintiffs cite to exclude the statute of limitations does so only in certain cases, and plaintiffs are not in that category. Plaintiff’s suit is barred by the statute of limitations, 18 USC § 2255, and has not been revived by any subsequent amendment to the statute.

A reminder that when you’re looking up US Code provisions, you should always check the notes that follow them (eg, here)—although I expect many lawyers don’t, and certainly laypeople (eg, the plaintiffs here) don’t. More likely to do. Indeed, in principle one should always check the public law version as well as the US Code version, although I expect that fewer lawyers do this reliably.