Jones v. R.R. Donnelley & Sons

541 U.S. 369, 124 S.Ct. 1836 (2004)

From our private database of 45,900+ case briefs, written and edited by humans—never with AI.

Jones v. R.R. Donnelley & Sons

United States Supreme Court
541 U.S. 369, 124 S.Ct. 1836 (2004)

Facts

The Civil Rights Act of 1866 created 42 U.S.C. § 1981, which, at the time, guaranteed the rights of all citizens to make and enforce contracts. Section 1981 did not contain a statute of limitations, but in 1987, the Supreme Court ruled that courts should apply the most appropriate statute of limitation under state law to a § 1981 claim. In 1990, Congress enacted a catchall statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1658, that established a four-year statute of limitations for all federal laws enacted after December 1, 1990. The Civil Rights Act of 1991 expanded § 1981 to include equal rights to not only formation of contracts, but also all the benefits of a contractual relationship, including rights related to termination of contracts. Jones (plaintiff) was an African American who used to work for R.R. Donnelley & Sons (Donnelley) (defendant) in Illinois. In November 1994, after Donnelley terminated Jones’s employment, Jones filed a class-action suit against Donnelley alleging a racially hostile work environment and wrongful termination. Donnelley moved for summary judgment on the ground that the most appropriate state statute of limitation applying to Jones’s claims was a two-year limitation under Illinois law and that this time period had expired. Jones claimed that the four-year limitation under § 1658 applied. The district court agreed with Jones, finding that Jones’s claims came under the Civil Rights Act of 1991 and thus § 1658 applied because the Civil Rights Act of 1991 was enacted after December 1, 1990. The court of appeals reversed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 734,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.

    Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.

    Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee

Here's why 734,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 45,900 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership
Here's why 734,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet
  • 45,900 briefs - keyed to 984 casebooks
  • Uniform format for every case brief
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions
  • Top-notch customer support

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership