Court: US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Dockets: 19-1668, 19-1675
Opinion Date: June 17, 2021
Judge: G. Steven Agee
Areas of Law: International Law, Personal Injury
After the district court entered judgment against the defendant on the plaintiff’s claim of torture under the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991 (TVPA), the defendant challenged the district court’s grant of partial summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff on the defendant’s statute of limitations defense.
The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment, concluding that the district court did not err in granting partial summary judgment against the defendant on his statute of limitations defense where equitable tolling applied to the plaintiff’s claims. In this case, the district court did not err in determining that the plaintiff’s unrebutted evidence demonstrated extraordinary circumstances justifying equitable tolling where the plaintiff presented credible evidence that he lacked realistic access to a legal remedy during and after the Barre regime in Somalia given the absence of a functioning government, widespread chaos and violence, and the risk of reprisal. Therefore, the plaintiff satisfied his burden of showing the appropriateness of equitably tolling the limitations period until at least 1997.
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