BAYNARD v. FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA et al
MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE WENDY BEETLESTONE ON 11/3/15. 11/3/15 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED TO PRO SE.(mbh, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
BRYANT LEE BAYNARD
FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF
PENNSYLVANIA, et al.
Plaintiff, Bryant Lee Baynard, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
based upon a September 5, 2011 incident that led to his arrest and conviction. He seeks to
proceed informa pauperis. For the following reasons, the Court will grant plaintiff leave to
proceed informa pauperis and dismiss his complaint with prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
Plaintiff brought this action against the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Judge Bradley
Moss, the Philadelphia District Attorney and an Assistant District Attorney, a Philadelphia police
officer and the 9th Police District. He is alleging, in essence, that he was falsely arrested and
imprisoned after a traffic stop on September 5, 2011. Plaintiff was convicted in the Philadelphia
Court of Common Pleas and sentenced to a period of incarceration. See Commonwealth v.
Baynard, Docket No. MC-5 l-CR-0038069-2011.
In his prayer for relief, he is requesting that his Pennsylvania driver's license be restored and
that he receive compensation for his false imprisonment .
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The Court grants plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis because it appears that he is
incapable of paying the fees to commence this civil action. Accordingly, 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) applies, which requires the Court to dismiss the complaint ifit fails to state a
The facts are taken from the complaint, documents attached to the complaint, and
public dockets for criminal proceedings related to the complaint.
claim. Whether a complaint fails to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the
same standard applicable to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6),
see Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999), which requires the Court to
determine whether the complaint contains "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(quotations omitted). The Court may also consider exhibits attached to the complaint and
matters of public record. Buckv. Hampton Twp. Sch. Dist., 452 F.3d 256, 260 (3d Cir. 2006).
Additionally, the Court may dismiss claims based on an affirmative defense if the affirmative
defense is obvious from the face of the complaint. See Fogle v. Pierson, 435 F.3d 1252, 1258
(10th Cir. 2006); cf Ball v. Famiglio, 726 F.3d 448, 459 (3d Cir. 2013). As plaintiff is
proceeding prose, the Court will construe his allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att '.Y Gen., 655 F.3d
333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).
Plaintiffs Fourth Amendment claims are time-barred. Pennsylvania's two-year statute of
limitations applies to those claims. See 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5524; Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S.
384, 387 (2007). The limitations period generally begins to run from the time "the plaintiff knew
or should have known of the injury upon which [his] action is based." Sameric Corp. of Del.,
Inc. v. City of Phila., 142 F.3d 582, 599 (3d Cir. 1998). "[T]he statute of limitations upon a§
1983 claim seeking damages for a false arrest in violation of the Fourth Amendment, where the
arrest is followed by criminal proceedings, begins to run at the time the claimant becomes
detained pursuant to legal process." Wallace, 549 U.S. at 397.
Plaintiffs false arrest claims accrued by September 6, 2011, the date that plaintiff was
arraigned on charges in Philadelphia Municipal Court following his arrest. See Commonwealth
v. Baynard, Docket No. MC-5 l-CR-0038069-2011. As plaintiff did not file this action until
October 15, 2015-more than two years after his claims accrued-the claims are time barred.
To the extent plaintiff is challenging his conviction, his claims are not cognizable in a civil
rights action. If plaintiff seeks to invalidate his conviction, he must file a petition for a writ of
habeas corpus after exhausting state remedies, rather than a civil rights action. See Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973). Furthermore, a plaintiff may not "recover damages for
allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions
whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, ... [unless] the conviction or
sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a
state tribunal authorized to make such determination, or called into question by a federal court's
issuance of a writ of habeas corpus[.]" Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994)
(footnote and citation omitted). As plaintiffs conviction has not been invalidated, his claims are
For the foregoing reasons, the Court will dismiss plaintiffs complaint with prejudice
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). Plaintiff will not be given leave to amend because
amendment would be futile. An appropriate order follows, which shall be docketed separately.
WENDY BEETLESTONE, J.
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