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U.S. Supreme Court

Unexcelled Chemical Corp. v. United States, 345 U.S. 59 (1953)

Unexcelled Chemical Corp. v. United States

No. 293

Argued January 9, 1953

Decided March 9, 1953

345 U.S. 59


1. An action brought by the United States under the Walsh-Healey Act to recover liquidated damages from a government contractor who knowingly employed child labor in violation of the Act is subject to the two-year statute of limitations contained in § 6 of the Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947. Pp. 345 U. S. 60-64.

2. Within the meaning of § 6 of the Portal-to-Portal Act, the cause of action in this case "accrued" when the minors were employed, not when it had been administratively determined that the contractor was liable to the United States for liquidated damages. Pp. 345 U. S. 65-66.

3. That the power of the United States to safeguard the public interest may be prejudiced does not justify a construction of the statute at war with its clear and unambiguous words. P. 66.

4. For the purpose of § 6 of the Portal-to-Portal Act, an action is commenced on the date when the complaint in the lawsuit is filed, not when the administrative proceedings under the Walsh-Healey Act are initiated. P. 345 U. S. 66.

196 F.2d 264, reversed.

An action brought against petitioner by the United States under the Walsh-Healey Act was dismissed by the District Court as barred by limitations. 99 F.Supp. 155. The Court of Appeals reversed. 196 F.2d 264. This Court granted certiorari. 344 U.S. 862. Reversed, p. 345 U. S. 66.

Page 345 U. S. 60

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