Franconia Associates v. United States, 536 U.S. 129, 10 (2002)

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138

FRANCONIA ASSOCIATES v. UNITED STATES

Opinion of the Court

subject to ELIHPA—and others, who had entered into loan agreements after December 21, 1979, and were therefore unaffected by the Act. See App. to Pet. for Cert. A3, n. 2.4 Petitioners alleged that ELIHPA repudiated their loan contracts, which, they asserted, gave them the right "to terminate their participation in the Government's housing program by exercising their option to prepay at any time." Id., at A112. Their complaint sought relief on two theories: breach of contract and a violation of the Fifth Amendment's proscription against taking property without just compensation. See id., at A132-A133.

The Court of Federal Claims granted the Government's motion to dismiss petitioners' contract claims as barred by the six-year statute of limitations in 28 U. S. C. 2501. 43 Fed. Cl. 702 (1999). That provision states: "Every claim of which the United States Court of Federal Claims has jurisdiction shall be barred unless the petition thereon is filed within six years after such claim first accrues." The court concluded that petitioners' contract claims first accrued on May 23, 1988, the effective date of regulations implementing ELIHPA. Id., at 709. That was so, the court said, because those regulations breached the only performance required of the Government under the promissory notes: "to keep its promise to allow borrowers an unfettered prepayment right." Id., at 710. The court also dismissed petitioners' takings claims sua sponte; because "the [Government] conduct . . . alleged to have constituted a taking" was "Congress's change of the prepayment option," the court reasoned, any claim based on that conduct "accrued at the time of the 1988 legislation." Id., at 711.

The Federal Circuit affirmed the dismissal of petitioners' claims on timeliness grounds. 240 F. 3d 1358 (2001). The

4 The claims of the latter group of Franconia plaintiffs remain pending before the Court of Federal Claims. See App. to Pet. for Cert. A3, n. 2.

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