Prillerman v. Huggins et al
ORDER denying 3 Plaintiff's Motion for Equitable Tolling; granting 11 , 18 Defendants' Motions to Dismiss; and dismissing this case. Signed by Judge Billy Roy Wilson on 9/14/2017. (mef)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
FRANKLYN D. PRILLERMAN
JOHN HUGGINS, et al.
Pending are Plaintiff’s Motion for Equitable Tolling (Doc. No. 3) and Defendants’
Motions to Dismiss (Doc. Nos. 11, 18). Responses have been filed.1
On February 15, 2012, Plaintiff was sentenced to eight years probation on drug
convictions.2 On November 22, 2012, he was arrested on a “fugitive warrant” in Pennsylvania,
and extradited to Arkansas. In late April 2013, Plaintiff was convicted of a parole violation, and
he appealed the conviction on May 10, 2013.3 According to Plaintiff, he was “granted parole
from the Arkansas Department of Corrections . . . on or about August 20, 2013.”4 The paroleviolation conviction was reversed on January 22, 2014.
Plaintiff filed his Complaint on June 5, 2017. He asserts that he “remained illegally in
custody on parole for . . . 18 or 19 months without any legal jurisdiction” -- from January 14,
2014 until approximately July 20, 2015.5
Doc. Nos. 20, 21, 23, 24.
Prillerman v. State of Arkansas, 2014 Ark. App. 46 (2014).
Doc. No. 2.
Plaintiff’s claims are subject to a three-year statute of limitations.6 That time-period
began when the Arkansas Court of Appeals reversed the probation-violation conviction on
January 22, 2014, which means he had until January 22, 2017 to file his § 1983 complaint based
on the conviction reversal. Plaintiff acknowledges this fact, but asserts that equitable tolling
First, Plaintiff contends that he “had no recollection of said appeal” until April 24, 2017,
which is when he talked to his lawyer from the state-court conviction and was reminded that he
“had agreed” to have his lawyer appeal the conviction.7 Second, Plaintiff asserts that he had
forgotten about the appeal because, at the time of the conviction, he was under an “unbearable
amount of stress” related to his father dying, his significant other being diagnosed with cancer,
and fall-out from the probation-violation conviction. Finally, Plaintiff argues that Defendants
never provided him notice of the reversal, which “aided in hiding the injury.”8
“Lack of knowledge of a cause of action does not stop the statute of limitations from
running unless there has been fraud or concealment by the person invoking the defense of
limitations or if the statute is otherwise tolled.”9 Based on this standard, Plaintiff’s first and
second excuses for delay fail. As for Plaintiff’s third excuse, there are no allegations of fraud or
concealment. In fact, the Arkansas Court of Appeals decision was filed in the public record.
Plaintiff’s argument that Defendants did not provide him notice is meritless because Plaintiff
Ketchum v. City of W. Memphis, Ark., 974 F.2d 81, 82 (8th Cir.1992).
Doc. No. 24.
Courtney v. First Nat. Bank of Eastern Arkansas, 780 S.W.2d 536, 538 (Ark. 1989).
cannot establish that Defendants had a duty to provide him notice of the ruling. The undisputed
facts are that Plaintiff was paroled on August 20, 2013 and was never again in Defendants’
custody. The conviction was reversed five months later.
“Reasonable diligence is essential in the context of equitable tolling.”10 Plaintiff has
failed to establish that he exercised reasonable diligence in pursing this claim. Simply claiming
that he was distracted and had forgotten that an appeal was filed falls far below the reasonablediligence standard.
Even if the statute of limitations did not apply, it appears to me that this case would be
dismissed. While Plaintiff was incarcerated, there was a valid conviction for a probation
violation -- he was paroled five months before that conviction was invalidated. Additionally, if
Plaintiff is arguing that he spent excessive time on probation, the claim is without merit. The
undisputed facts are that, in February 2012, he was sentenced to eight years probation. He was
released from probation in July 2015, which was 4.5 years early.
For the reasons set out above, Plaintiff's Motion for Equitable Tolling (Doc. No. 3) is
DENIED and Defendants' Motions to Dismiss (Doc. Nos. 11, 18) are GRANTED. Accordingly,
this case is DISMISSED.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 14th day of September, 2017.
/s/ Billy Roy Wilson
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Stacener v. Williams, 137 S.W.3d 428, 432 (Ark. 2003).
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