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Coronado v. Bosley

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

November 15, 2017

SERGIO STEVEN CORONADO, Plaintiff,
v.
FNU BOSELY, Corrections Officer, individually, and FNU KERR, Corrections Officer, individually, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          SUZANNE MITCHELL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. Background.

         On August 7, 2017, Sergio Steven Coronado (Plaintiff), a California prisoner appearing pro se[1] and in forma pauperis, filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking monetary relief for alleged violations of his constitutional rights on January 26, 2015, while he was housed at North Fork Correctional Facility.[2] Doc. 1.[3]

         On screening of Plaintiff's complaint, [4] it appeared on its face that the statute of limitations barred any stated claim, so the undersigned notified Plaintiff that summary dismissal of the complaint was warranted and gave him the opportunity to address the issue by “order[ing] him to show cause- that is, to fully detail any reason, including possible tolling-why his complaint should not be promptly dismissed on statute of limitations grounds.”[5] Doc. 12. Plaintiff filed a timely response to the show cause order, Doc. 14, and the matter is at issue.

         II. Analysis.

         A. The accrual of Plaintiff's claims and the applicable limitation period.

         “State statutes of limitations applicable to general personal injury claims supply the limitations periods for § 1983 claims, but federal law governs the time of accrual of § 1983 claims.” Beck v. City of Muskogee Police Dep't, 195 F.3d 553, 557 (10th Cir. 1999) (citations omitted). Oklahoma's two-year statute applies to Plaintiff's claims. See Meade v. Grubbs, 841 F.2d 1512, 1522 (10th Cir. 1988), abrogated on other grounds by Schneider v. City of Grand Junction Police Dep't, 717 F.3d 760 (10th Cir. 2013); Okla. Stat. tit. 12, § 95(A)(3). And “[s]ince the injury in a § 1983 case is the violation of a constitutional right, such claims accrue when the plaintiff knows or should know that his or her constitutional rights have been violated.” Beck, 195 F.3d at 557 (internal quotation marks omitted).

         According to Plaintiff's complaint, his claims accrued on January 26, 2015, giving him until January 26, 2017-two years-to file a timely action for relief under § 1983. See Doc. 1, at 2-4. Because Plaintiff did not file his complaint until August 7, 2017, the undersigned informed him it appeared the statute of limitations barred his claims and ordered him to explain why that was not the case. Doc. 12.

         B. Tolling of the limitation period.

         “In Response to why I filed late, ” Plaintiff advised:

After the incident on Jan 26, 2015, I submitted a grievance and proceeded to exhaust administrative remedies. As a result of this process, the statute of limitations was tolled. Administrative remedies were exhausted Aug. 14, 2015 extending my date to file to Aug. 14, 2017.

I have attached copies of the process to exhaust administrative remedies, to support my claims in this letter.

Doc. 14, at 1.

         Plaintiff, then, does not deny that his claims accrued on January 26, 2015, or that a two-year period of limitation applies to those claims. Id. Instead, he contends the two-year period did not begin to run, that is, was tolled, until he exhausted his administrative remedies on August 14, 2015, and did not expire until August 14, 2017, making his complaint filed on August 7, 2017, timely. Id.

         Plaintiff provided no legal support for this contention, and he offered no additional justification for his failure to file his complaint within the two years following the accrual of his claims on January 26, 2015. Id. But if his theory is that the two-year limitation period was tolled under 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), [6]“[n]othing in § 1997e(a) refers to tolling.”Pemberton v. Patton, 673 F. App'x 860, 866 (10th Cir. 2016). “‘[I]n a § 1983 suit, state tolling rules, not federal ones, apply . . . [to] both . . . determining whether the filing of mandatory grievances requires tolling at all, and, if so, how that tolling is to be calculated.'” Id. ...


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