Supreme Court weighs arguments about whether businesses can sue government over old rules

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case that could affect the ability of businesses to challenge government regulations they think are unfair.

A North Dakota convenience store owner sued over a 2011 rule on debit card transaction fees.

“Corner Post opened for business in 2018,” said attorney Bryan Weir. “Since then, it’s paid several hundred thousand dollars in debit card fees that it thinks are unlawful.”

But the government argues the business owner missed the statute of limitations to challenge the rule under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which allows for challenges up to six years after a rule was put in place.

Attorneys for the business owner, however, say the timeline should actually begin once the owner was first impacted by the fees.

“The government says that Corner Post’s clock to challenge those fees actually started in 2011, seven years before Corner Post pumped a single gallon of gas,” said Weir. “The government is wrong. Corner Post’s clock started when it swiped its first debit card and paid its first fee.”

“For decades, the courts of appeals have consistently recognized that the six-year statute of limitations on an APA claim accrues at the time of the challenged agency action, not the time when a particular plaintiff comes within the relevant statute’s zone of interests,” said Benjamin Snyder, Assistant to the Solicitor.

This ruling could have a major impact on businesses looking to challenge other federal regulations.

We are expecting a ruling to be handed down by the summer.

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