Williams v. Sampson et al

Filing 33

ORDER granting defendants' 5 Motion to Dismiss by U.S. District Judge John C Coughenour.**4 PAGE(S), PRINT ALL**(Kirk Williams, Prisoner ID: 879031)(RS)

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THE HONORABLE JOHN C. COUGHENOUR 1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 7 8 9 KIRK WILLIAMS, 10 Plaintiff, CASE NO. C17-0092-JCC ORDER OF DISMISSAL v. 11 CYNTHIA SAMPSON and SHORELINE POLICE DEPARTMENT, 12 13 14 Defendants. 15 16 This matter comes before the Court on Defendants’ motion to dismiss (Dkt. No. 5). 17 Having thoroughly considered the parties’ briefing and the relevant record, the Court finds oral 18 argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS the motion for the reasons explained herein. 19 I. 20 BACKGROUND Plaintiff Kirk Williams initiated this suit on November 21, 2016. (Dkt. No. 4 at 1.) He 21 alleges that Defendant King County Detective Cynthia Sampson forced him to provide a DNA 22 sample pursuant to a court order that she altered. (Dkt. No. 4 at 2.) Williams further alleges that 23 this illegally obtained DNA was used as evidence against him in the criminal proceeding for 24 which he is currently serving his prison term. (Id.) Although Williams does not indicate when the 25 DNA was collected, the order was signed and filed on August 13, 2010. (Dkt. No. 6 at 5.) 26 Williams was sentenced on August 12, 2011. (Id. at 47.) ORDER OF DISMISSAL PAGE - 1 1 Williams argues that by virtue of this improper DNA collection, he suffered a violation of 2 his rights under the Fourth Amendment; the Fourteenth Amendment; article I, section 7 of the 3 Washington Constitution; and Washington Criminal Rule 4.7. (Dkt. No. 4 at 1.) 4 Defendants now move to dismiss on the grounds of statute of limitations and improper 5 service. (Dkt. No. 5.) 6 II. DISCUSSION 7 A. 8 A defendant may move for dismissal when a plaintiff “fails to state a claim upon which 9 Rule 12(b)(6) Standard relief can be granted.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Although the Court must accept as true a 10 complaint’s well-pleaded facts, “conclusory allegations of law and unwarranted inferences will 11 not defeat an otherwise proper motion to dismiss.” Vasquez v. L.A. County, 487 F.3d 1246, 1249 12 (9th Cir. 2007) (internal quotes omitted). “Dismissal for failure to state a claim is appropriate 13 only if it appears beyond doubt that the non-moving party can prove no set of facts in support of 14 his claim which would entitle him to relief.” Id. (internal quotes omitted). 15 B. Analysis 16 For claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Court applies the forum state’s statute of 17 limitations for personal injury actions. See Wilson v. Garcia, 471 US 261, 280 (1985). Here, the 18 statute of limitations is three years. See Wash. Rev. Code § 4.16.080(2). Federal law governs 19 when the statute of limitations begins to run in a § 1983 action. Cabrera v. City of Huntington 20 Park, 159 F.3d 374, 379 (9th Cir. 1998). For violations of the Fourth Amendment, the cause of 21 action accrues on the date of the illegal search and seizure. See Venegas v. Wagner, 704 F.2d 22 1144, 1146 (9th Cir. 1983). Under Wash. Rev. Code § 4.16.190(1), however, the statute of 23 limitations is tolled when a person is “imprisoned on a criminal charge prior to sentencing.” 24 The conduct Williams challenges occurred in August 2010. Thus, per the three-year 25 statute of limitations, Williams’ deadline to file this suit was in August 2013. Even if the Court 26 applied the tolling provision under § 4.16.190, Williams was sentenced in August 2011, meaning ORDER OF DISMISSAL PAGE - 2 1 his deadline to file suit was August 2014. Williams did not initiate this suit until November 2016, 2 over two years later. 3 Williams maintains that he did file within the limitations period, citing to a case before 4 Judge Zilly that Williams initiated in March 2014. (Dkt. No. 8 at 4); see also Williams v. 5 Sampson, et al., C14-0052-TSZ (W.D. Wash. 2014). But that case was dismissed in May 2014 6 for failure to state a claim. Williams, C14-0052-TSZ (Dkt. No. 13 at 1). Although the suit was 7 dismissed without prejudice, the statute of limitations still applied. To make a timely claim for 8 relief, Williams was required to refile by that August, which he did not do. 9 Williams also argues that he is entitled to equitable tolling of the statute of limitations. 10 (Dkt. No. 8 at 5.) The statute of limitations may be equitably tolled if a litigant shows that 11 “despite all due diligence he is unable to obtain vital information bearing on the existence of his 12 claim.” Cada v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., 920 F.2d 446, 451 (7th Cir. 1990). Under this doctrine, 13 “the plaintiff is assumed to know that he has been injured, so that the statute of limitations has 14 begun to run; but he cannot obtain information necessary to decide whether the injury is due to 15 wrongdoing and, if so, wrongdoing by the defendant.” Id. Williams makes only an unsupported allegation that he “exercised due diligence to obtain 16 17 information necessary to decide that the injury was a . . . violation” and that Defendants “would 18 not grant me any vital information for my lawsuit.” (Dkt. No. 8 at 5.) But this allegation is 19 contradicted by the complaint Williams filed in the Judge Zilly case, which alleged the same—if 20 not more—facts as to the challenged conduct. In other words, within the limitations period, 21 Williams had sufficient information to determine that his injury was caused by Defendants’ 22 alleged wrongdoing. Equitable tolling does not apply. Because Williams’s claims are barred by the statute of limitations, the Court need not 23 24 address Defendants’ arguments as to service of process. 25 III. 26 CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS Defendants’ motion to dismiss (Dkt. No. ORDER OF DISMISSAL PAGE - 3 1 5). All claims in this case are time-barred and thus DISMISSED with prejudice. Given this 2 outcome, the Court need not address any other pending motions. The Clerk is DIRECTED to 3 close this case and to send a copy of this order to Williams. 4 DATED this 18th day of April, 2017. 7 A 8 John C. Coughenour UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 5 6 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 ORDER OF DISMISSAL PAGE - 4

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