MWELA Amicus Brief to aid in the resolution of an important statutory issue arising from the March 2010 amendments to the D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998.
Prior to 2010, District employees had to submit a notice of claim to the government, pursuant to D.C. Code Ann. § 12-309 (2001 ed.), in order to seek unliquidated damages.
The D.C. Council recognized that this requirement needlessly deterred District employees from reporting government misconduct, thereby thwarting the statutory purposes of protecting District employees from retaliation for having made protected disclosures, and of protecting the public interest in preventing government waste and abuse. Hence, the D.C. Council enacted four procedural amendments to the D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act, including a repeal of the Section 12-309 notice of claim requirement.
Subsequently, four U.S. District Court judges, and two D.C. Superior Court judges, all held that since this was a procedural change in the law, under D.C. and Supreme Court precedent it was to be applied retroactively to claims that were pending as of the effective date of the amendment.
The disposition of this issue in this Court will have an important effect on the ability of District employees to enforce their statutory rights to be free of retaliation, and on the public interest in disclosures of government misconduct, so that the government and the public can take appropriate steps to address that misconduct in order to conserve taxpayer funds.
For these important reasons, MWELA respectfully submits this amicus brief.