27 February 2013

Law in Plain English: Gabelli v. SEC

This is one in a series of posts designed to describe court decisions in plain English. For more detail and background on the legal issues, see the link to the case below. For similar posts, click here.

Gabelli v. SEC

Gabelli was charged with violating a federal law by defrauding his clients. The statute of limitations required that charges be "commenced within five years from the date when the claim first accrued." The question here was "when the claim first accrued" meant when the fraud actually occurred, or when it was discovered. In a unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court ruled that the natural reading of the law required the statute of limitations began when the fraud actually occurred. To read otherwise would violate the fairness of the statute of limitations concept. In other words, the fraud charges against Gabelli were filed too late. The practical impact of this decision is that violations of federal laws subject to the statue of limitations here will begin to run when the fraud occurred, not when it was discovered.
Post a Comment