Harris v. Williams
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION-The court is of the opinion that the magistrate judge's report 9 is due to be and is hereby ADOPTED and the recommendation is ACCEPTED. Signed by Judge Robert B Propst on 7/9/2012. (AVC)
2012 Jul-09 AM 08:36
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
CEDRIC MAUREL HARRIS,
RALPH WILLIAMS & ADAM HADDER,
) Case No. 7:11-cv-02790-RBP-TMP
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
The magistrate judge filed a report and recommendation on May 11, 2012, recommending
that this action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 be dismissed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) for
failing to state a claim upon which relief may be granted based on the court’s determination that the
claims were barred by the statute of limitations. The plaintiff filed objections to the report and
recommendation on May 23, 2012. (Doc. 10).
The plaintiff objects to his case being dismissed on statute of limitations grounds. He
explains that he filed a lawsuit alleging the same claims in 2009, but that case was dismissed because
he failed to include a prison account sheet. According to the plaintiff, he “re-applied” in 2010, and.
that “re-application” became this case. The plaintiff reiterates that all of the allegations in the
complaint are true, and states that the officers involved are currently under investigation by “the
Having carefully reviewed and considered de novo all the materials in the court file, including
the report and recommendation and the objections thereto, the Court is of the opinion that the
magistrate judge's report is due to be and is hereby ADOPTED and the recommendation is
As the magistrate judge noted, because the plaintiff’s cause of action against the defendants
arose on July 19, 2008, he had until July 19, 2010 to file a § 1983 action against them. Review of
the courts records indicates that the plaintiff did file a case alleging the same facts against Defendant
Adam Hadder on December 1, 2009. (See Case No. 6:09-cv-024270JHH-TMP). However, that case
was dismissed without prejudice on February 1, 2010, after the plaintiff had been notified that his
pleading was deficient and instructed to submit either the full filing fee or an application to proceed
in forma pauperis within thirty days, but failed to comply. The plaintiff’s subsequent motions for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis and to amend, filed in that case on May 21, 2010, were denied
on June 8, 2010, and the court advised the plaintiff that the case remained dismissed, and to initiate
a new action if he wished to proceed on his claims. Id.
The instant case was signed by the plaintiff on August 3, 2011, and filed with the clerk on
August 8, 2011, well outside of the two year limitations period. The plaintiff’s attempt to suggest
that this case should relate back to his previously filed case is not persuasive. Although the present
lawsuit involved claims virtually identical to those presented in the 2009 case, they are distinct and
separate actions. The instant complaint cannot relate back to the earlier action because the court lost
jurisdiction in the earlier action 30 days after it was dismissed. There is no pending action to relate
back to. The timely filed 2009 lawsuit was dismissed1, and the instant case is barred by the
applicable statute of limitations.2
It should be noted that the case was dismissed, without prejudice, with ample time to refile
within the statute of limitations. Moreover, even after the plaintiff’s subsequent attempt to reopen
the case failed, he had time to timely file another § 1983 action.
No tolling provisions apply to this action, and even if Alabama law were to provide for
equitable tolling for situations such as this one, where litigation had been pending, over two years
would have elapsed nonetheless. Over 16 months elapsed between July 19, 2008 and the filing of
the first complaint on December 1, 2009. An additional 19 months elapsed from dismissal of that
Accordingly, the complaint is due to be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) for
failing to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. A Final Judgment will be entered.
DATED this 9th day of July, 2012.
ROBERT B. PROPST
SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case on February 1, 2010 and the filing of this case, on August 3, 2011.
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