United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
DARRELL WILLIAMS-BEY, Plaintiff.
BRIAN S. HOLLINGHEAD, et al., Defendants.
K. DuBOSE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendants' motions to
dismiss (Docs. 7, 13-14), Plaintiff's Responses (Docs.
10, 16) and Defendants' Replies (Docs. 12,
January 31, 2017, pro se Plaintiff Darrell
Williams-Bey (Plaintiff) initiated this litigation against 16
Defendants employed with the City of Daphne, Alabama
(including police officers, Municipal Court employees, the
Municipal Court judge, the city prosecutor, the mayor, and
current/former members of the City Council) alleging
violations of his constitutional rights, among other claims.
(Doc. 1). While Plaintiff's complaint is not a model of
clarity, his claims stem from his October 7, 2013 arrest (for
driving under the influence and with a suspended license) and
his subsequent prosecution and sentencing.
Plaintiff alleges Defendants violated his constitutional
rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh,
Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments, arising from his
“unauthorized, stop, arrest, prosecution, sentencing,
and resentencing” between October 7, 2013 until April
28, 2015. (Doc. 1 at 4). Plaintiff asserts that his arrest
and conviction was unconstitutional based on his Moorish
descent and that Defendants deliberately referenced him
incorrectly as “Darrell Williams” throughout his
Court proceedings. (Doc. 1).
before the Court are two (2) separate motions to dismiss from
two (2) separate groups of Defendants. While the Defendants
differ on many of the legal grounds for dismissal, they share
the contention that Plaintiff's claims are time barred
under the applicable statute of limitations. The Court
agrees. Additionally, while Plaintiff filed a response in
opposition to the Defendants' motions, he did not respond
to the statute of limitations argument.
Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiff's claims under Rule
12(b)(6), for failure to state a claim against them, rooted
in part on the applicable statute of limitations. Dismissal
based on a statute of limitations defense “may be
raised in a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim
for which relief can be granted under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6),
when failure to comply with the statute of limitations is
plain on the face of the complaint.” Foster v.
Savannah Comm., 140 Fed.Appx. 905, 907 (11th
Cir. 2005). When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6), the reviewing court must accept all factual
allegations in the complaint as true and view them in a light
most favorable to the plaintiff. Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). This preferential standard of
review, however, does not permit all pleadings adorned with
facts to survive to the next stage of litigation; rather, a
district court should dismiss a claim where a party fails to
plead facts that make the claim facially plausible. Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
constitutional claims brought under § 1983 are tort
actions, subject to the statute of limitations governing
personal injury actions in the state where the § 1983
action has been brought.” Powell v. Thomas,
643 F.3d 1300, 1303 (11th Cir. 2011). See
generally Owens v. Okure, 488 U.S. 235 (1989) (because
Section 1983 does not contain a statute of limitations, the
statute of limitations is borrowed from a state's general
or residual statute of limitations for personal injury
actions). In Alabama that limitations period is two (2)
years. Powell, 643 F.3d at 1303. Specifically, per
Ala. Code § 6-2-38(1) “[a]ll
actions for any injury to the person or rights of another not
arising from contract and not specifically enumerated in this
section must be brought within two years.” Even though
state law determines the length of the limitations period,
federal law governs when the statute of limitations begins to
run - i.e., when the cause of action accrues.
Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 387-388 (2007). Under
federal law, “[accrual occurs] when the plaintiff has a
complete and present cause of action...when the plaintiff can
file suit and obtain relief [.]” Id. at 388
(brackets in original) (internal citations and quotation
marks omitted). “There can be no dispute that
petitioner could have filed suit as soon as the allegedly
wrongful arrest occurred, subjecting him to the harm of
involuntary detention, so the statute of limitations would
normally commence to run from that date.” Id.
See also Mullinax v. McElhenney, 817 F.2d 711, 716
(11th Cir. 1987) (a section 1983 action accrues
when a person with a reasonable regard for his rights is
aware or has reason to know that he has been injured). In the
Eleventh Circuit, for Section 1983 actions, “'the
statute of limitations does not begin to run until the facts
which would support a cause of action are apparent or should
be apparent to a person with a reasonably prudent regard for
his rights.'” McNair v. Allen, 515 F.3d
1168, 1173 (11th Cir. 2008) (brackets omitted)).
For example, “the statute of limitations upon a §
1983 claim…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.
alleges that Defendants violated his constitutional rights as
a result of his October 7, 2013 arrest and subsequent
prosecution in which he was referred to by a shortened
version of his name. During Plaintiff's 2013 criminal
proceedings in Daphne Municipal Court, he removed his case to
this Court. However, on May 30, 2014, Plaintiff's case
was remanded to municipal court due to his failure to carry
his removal burden. (CV 13-00646-WS-B - Doc. 7-1 at 1-12).
Following remand, Plaintiff appealed to the Baldwin County
Circuit Court, and on August 12, 2014, his appeals were
remanded to municipal court due to his failure to appear.
(CC-2014-000591.00 and CC-2014-000581.00 - Doc. 7-2 at 1-2).
On September 15, 2014, Plaintiff's motion for
reconsideration was denied by the Baldwin County Circuit
Court. (Doc. 7-2 at 3). On June 1, 2015, Plaintiff filed an
action in this Court against the Daphne Municipal Court
Defendants - stemming from the same October 7, 2013 arrest.
(CV 15-00176-CG-N - Doc. 7-3 at 1-14). On July 31, 2015,
following a pro se screening of Plaintiff's
first amended complaint, this Court ruled that his complaint
failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted
but provided him until August 28, 2015 to file an amended
complaint. (Id. at 15-19). Plaintiff failed to do so
and thus, on December 1, 2015 Plaintiff's case was
dismissed without prejudice pursuant to Rule 41(b) for
failure to prosecute and obey the Court's order.
(Id. at 20-23).
initiated this lawsuit alleging Section 1983 claims -- on
January 31, 2017. (Doc. 1). As detailed supra, the
statute of limitations governing his Section 1983 case is two
(2) years. As a result, any alleged acts occurring before
January 31, 2015 are time barred.
review of Plaintiff's Complaint reveals that all of his
claims arise from his October 7, 2013 arrest - more than
three (3) years and three (3) months ago. At the earliest,
the statute of limitations began running on October 7, 2013
(when he was arrested), or at the latest on September 15,
2014 (when his criminal proceedings concluded). (Doc. 7-2 at
1-3). Regardless, the Court can discern no acts -- alleged by
Plaintiff as to any of the Defendants in his current
complaint -- which occur after January 31, 2015. Moreover,
while Plaintiff filed Responses to defendants' motions,
he failed to address the statute of limitations argument or
point to any specific act that any defendant allegedly
committed after January 31, 2015.Although he references a
re-sentencing, Plaintiff has failed to provide sufficient
detail as to when this occurred, as well as what
unconstitutional acts were committed by any named defendant.
As such, Plaintiff fails to assert any cause of action that
is not time barred.
consideration, it is ORDERED that Defendants' motions
(Doc. 7, 13) are GRANTED in part and MOOT in part as follows:
GRANTED as to the statute of limitations and MOOT as to the