Davis v. Weber et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION - Having carefully reviewed and considered the materials in the court record, including the report and recommendation, and the objections to the report, the Court adopts the magistrate judges report and accepts his recommendation. Therefore, in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the Court will dismiss this action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and for being barred by the two-year statute of limitations for such actions. A Final Judgment will be entered. Signed by Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala on 2/28/2017. (KEK)
2017 Feb-28 PM 03:16
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
JIMMIE KOREA DAVIS,
JOHN PAUL WEBER, et al.,
Case No. 2:16-cv-01462-MHH-TMP
The magistrate judge filed a report on February 9, 2017, recommending this
action be dismissed with prejudice for failing to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted and for being barred by the two-year statute of limitations for such
The plaintiff has filed objections to the report and
recommendation. (Doc. 9).
In his objections, Mr. Davis argues that Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477,
486-87 (1994), does not bar his § 1983 claims for monetary damages. (Doc. 9, p.
1). He relies upon District Attorney’s Office for Third Judicial Dist. v. Osborne,
557 U.S. 52, 67-69 (2009), to support his position. Mr. Davis’s reliance upon
Osborne is misplaced. In Osborne, the Supreme Court “assume[d] without
deciding that the Court of Appeals was correct that Heck” did not bar prevent “a
convicted state prisoner seeking DNA testing of crime-scene evidence” from
“assert[ing] that claim in a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.” Skinner v.
Switzer, 562 U.S. 521, 524 (2011).
Later, the Supreme Court answered the
question directly, holding “that a postconviction claim for DNA testing is properly
pursued in a § 1983 action.” Skinner, 562 U.S. at 525. The Supreme Court
reasoned that “a judgment that simply orders DNA tests” cannot “‘necessarily
impl[y] the unlawfulness of the State’s custody’” because “[s]uccess in the suit
gains for the prisoner only access to the DNA evidence, which may prove
exculpatory, inculpatory, or inconclusive.” Id. (quoting Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544
U.S. 74, 81 (2005)).
Unlike the plaintiff in Osborne, Mr. Davis is seeking “unspecified
declaratory relief and monetary damages” against the defendants for conspiring to
create a fraudulent indictment charging him with two counts of trafficking in
cocaine. (Doc. 1 at 4-6). As stated by the magistrate judge, Mr. Davis “was
convicted later in 2001 of two counts of ‘trafficking’ cocaine even though the
grand jury had ‘no billed’ the trafficking charges and had charged him only with
‘selling’ cocaine.” (Doc. 8 at 4). These facts make clear that a judgment in Mr.
Davis’s favor for damages would implicate the validity of his criminal convictions.
See Pugh v. Smith, 333 Fed. Appx. 478, 480 (11th Cir. 2009) (quoting Abella v.
Rubino, 63 F.3d 1063, 1065 (11th Cir. 1995) (“A plaintiff seeking relief based on
the premise that he ‘was the victim of an unconstitutional conspiracy to falsely
convict him’ is merely attempting to overturn his conviction and is barred by Heck
from proceeding.”)). “Habeas is the exclusive remedy” for the plaintiff’s claims.
Skinner, 562 U.S. at 525; Dotson, 544 U.S. at 78 (quoting Preiser v. Rodriguez,
411 U.S. 475, 489 (1973) (“a prisoner in state custody cannot use a § 1983 action
to challenge ‘the fact or duration of his confinement.’”)).
Mr. Davis also argues that the two-year statute of limitations should not bar
his § 1983 action because the limitations period “should have” been “tolled while
he was exhausting his available state remedies.” (Doc. 9, p. 2) (quoting Brown v.
Morgan, 209 F.3d 595, 596 (6th Cir. 2000) (“the statute of limitations which
applied to the prisoner’s civil rights action was tolled for the period during which
his available state remedies were being exhausted.”)). In his complaint, Mr. Davis
acknowledges that he did not attempt to seek relief from his state court convictions
until June 2015. (Doc. 1 at 5). By June 2015, Mr. Davis’s § 1983 action – which
the magistrate judge correctly concluded accrued in 2001 (Doc. 8, p. 6) – had long
since expired. Consequently, there was nothing to toll in 2015.
Having carefully reviewed and considered the materials in the court record,
including the report and recommendation, and the objections to the report, the
Court adopts the magistrate judge’s report and accepts his recommendation.
Therefore, in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the Court will dismiss this
action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and for being
barred by the two-year statute of limitations for such actions.
A Final Judgment will be entered.
DONE and ORDERED this February 28, 2017.
MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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