United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CATHERINE D. PERRY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Eric Fields was an employee of defendant Bi-State Development
Agency of the Missouri-Illinois Metropolitan District
(Bi-State), doing business as Metro. Fields alleges that
Bi-State wrongfully terminated his employment in retaliation
for his reporting that Bi-State violated the False Claims Act
(FCA), 31 U.S.C. § 3729 and the American Reinvestment
and Recovery Act (ARRA), Pub. L. No. 111-5, 123 Stat. 115.
Bi-State now seeks to dismiss Fields’ ARRA retaliation
claim, arguing that it is barred by the applicable statute of
limitations. Because I conclude that Fields’ claim was
timely filed, I will deny the motion.
has also filed a motion to strike Fields’ method of
calculating his back-pay damages, or in the alternative to
limit his prayer for back pay. The method used to calculate a
back pay award is not an issue for decision on the pleadings,
and I will therefore deny the motion without prejudice to be
raised later as an evidentiary issue.
has filed a motion to compel Bi-State to respond to
discovery, but does not dispute that the parties had agreed
that Bi-State could wait until after the Court ruled on the
pending motions to respond. While the Court certainly does
not condone such an agreement, I also cannot condone a party
going back on an agreement regarding discovery. I will deny
the motion to compel at this time, on the assumption that it
will be mooted shortly, and if disputes remain counsel must
meet and confer to attempt to resolve them before filing any
further discovery motion.
is a legally constituted body corporate and politic created
through joint compact between the states of Missouri and
Illinois, with its principal place of business in St. Louis,
Missouri. It operates the public transportation system in the
St. Louis metropolitan area. Fields worked for Bi-State
between October 2003 and November 2012, during which time he
was assigned to work on various large projects. During the
course of his work, Fields obtained information that led him
to believe that Bi-State violated multiple laws and
regulations in relation to projects for which it received
federal funding. Fields made protected disclosures regarding
the alleged violations beginning on or about April 20, 2012.
Bi-State discharged Fields on November 20, 2012. He alleges
that his protected disclosures were a contributing factor in
filed this complaint on November 13, 2015, alleging that
Bi-State discharged him in retaliation for both investigating
and filing claims regarding Bi-State’s liability under
the FCA, and for making protected disclosures regarding the
misuse of covered funds under Section 1553 of the ARRA.
Bi-State filed this partial motion to dismiss, arguing that
Fields’ ARRA claim was untimely filed inasmuch as it
was required to be filed not later than two years after his
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a defendant may move to dismiss a
claim “for failure to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted.” The purpose of a motion to dismiss
under Rule 12(b)(6) is to test the legal sufficiency of the
complaint. When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the
factual allegations of a complaint are assumed true and
construed in favor of the plaintiff. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 326 (1989). “The possible
existence of a statute of limitations defense is not
ordinarily a ground for 12(b)(6) dismissal unless the
complaint itself establishes the defense.” Joyce v.
Armstrong Teasdale, LLP, 635 F.3d 364, 367 (8th Cir.
2011) (quoting Jessie v. Potter, 516 F.3d 709, 713
n. 2 (8th Cir. 2008)).
1553 of the ARRA is titled “Protecting State and Local
Government and Contractor Whistleblowers” and is known
as the “whistleblowing provision” of the law.
Fuqua v. SVOX AG, 754 F.3d 397, 400 (7th Cir. 2014).
It provides that an employee of any non-Federal employer
receiving covered funds may not be discharged, demoted, or
otherwise discriminated against as reprisal for making
(1) gross mismanagement of an agency contract or grant
relating to covered funds; (2) a gross waste of covered
funds; (3) a substantial and specific danger to public health
or safety related to the implementation or use of covered
funds; (4) an abuse of authority related to the
implementation or use of covered funds; or (5) a violation of
law, rule, or regulation related to an agency contract
(including the competition for or negotiation of a contract)
or grant, awarded or issued relating to covered funds.
Pub. L. No. 111-5, 123 Stat. at 297.
1553 of the ARRA does not expressly provide a statute of
limitations within which an aggrieved employee may bring an
action. See Pub. L. No. 111-5, 123 Stat. 115. Where
a federal statute fails to provide any limitations period for
a new cause of action, the Supreme Court's longstanding
and settled practice has been to borrow the limitations
period from ...