Franconia Associates v. United States, 536 U.S. 129, 12 (2002)

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140

FRANCONIA ASSOCIATES v. UNITED STATES

Opinion of the Court

Petitioners' takings claims were time barred for essentially the same reason, the Federal Circuit held. The "property" allegedly taken without just compensation was petitioners' contractual "right to prepay their FmHA loans at any time," id., at 1365; the takings claim thus arose when, upon passage of ELIHPA, the Government "took away and conclusively abolished" the unrestricted prepayment option, id., at 1366.6

On September 16, 1998, the Grass Valley petitioners, all of whom had entered into 515 loan agreements before December 21, 1979, joined by other plaintiffs with post-1979 loans, filed an action in the Court of Federal Claims virtually identical to the Franconia action. On April 12, 2000, that court granted the Government's motion to dismiss the Grass Valley petitioners' contract claims for the reasons it had dismissed the claims of the Franconia petitioners. 46 Fed. Cl. 629, 633-635 (2000). The Federal Circuit affirmed without opinion. Judgt. order reported at 7 Fed. Appx. 928 (2001).7

We granted certiorari, 534 U. S. 1073 (2002), and now reverse the two judgments of the Federal Circuit before us for review.

6 Like the Court of Federal Claims, see 43 Fed. Cl. 702, 708-709 (1999), the Federal Circuit rejected petitioners' "alternative argument" that even if the limitations period commenced to run upon enactment of legislation installing prepayment restrictions, the 1992 legislation, rather than ELIHPA, served as the operative provision. 240 F. 3d, at 1365, and n. 4. Petitioners contended that ELIHPA represented an emergency measure that curtailed prepayment rights only temporarily; the definitive legislative action, they maintained, occurred later, when the 1992 legislation made curtailment of their prepayment rights permanent. Id., at 1365. The Federal Circuit concluded that although Congress had designated certain provisions in ELIHPA "interim measures," ibid. (internal quotation marks omitted), "no similar language . . . indicate[s] that [ELIHPA's] restrictions on FmHA loan prepayments were anything but permanent as to" borrowers in petitioners' situation, ibid.

7 The Court of Federal Claims dismissed the Grass Valley petitioners' takings claims as untimely in a separate decision. 51 Fed. Cl. 436, 439 (2002).

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