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DC Whistleblower Protection Act Amendments are Retroactive on Procedural Matters

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D.C. Superior Court Judge Todd Edelman ruled in Davis v. District of Columbia that procedural aspects of the 2009 amendments to the D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act (DC WPA) retroactively apply to cases filed before the amendments’ enactment. In particular, Judge Edelman held:

While substantive laws create or impair substantive rights, procedural laws generally only “relate to the modes of procedure or confirm or clarify existing rights.” Furthermore, while reliance interests generally militate against the retroactive application of laws, courts have recognized “diminished reliance interests in matters of procedure.” (Citations omitted).

…[A]pplications of new procedural rules are generally not considered impermissible retroactive applications of the law.

…[T]he application of new procedural laws applies not just to subsequently-filed lawsuits based on conduct that predated their enactment, but to cases pending at the time the new rules take effect. “Unless a contrary legislative intent appears, changes in statute law which pertain only to procedure are generally held to apply to pending cases.” (Citations omitted).

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