United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
CHARLES S. COODY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
an inmate incarcerated at the Bibb Correctional Facility in
Brent, Alabama, brings this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action
against Defendants Warden Louis Boyd, Nurse Flowers, and
Nurse Parker. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants failed
to provide him with adequate medical care during his
incarceration at the Draper Correctional Facility in
violation of his constitutional rights. Doc. He seeks
injunctive relief and damages. Upon review, the court
concludes that dismissal of this case prior to service of
process is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. §
complains Nurse Flowers stuck him with a dirty needle in
November of 2013. Doc. 3 at. Plaintiffs amended complaint
against Nurse Flowers is barred by the statute of limitations
applicable to actions filed by an inmate under 42 U.S.C.
All 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. Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S.
261, 275-76, 105 S.Ct. 1938, 1946-47, 85 L.Ed.2d 254 (1985).
[Plaintiffs] claim was brought in Alabama where the governing
limitations period is two years. Ala. Code § 6-2-38;
Jones v. Preuit & Mauldin, 876 F.2d 1480, 1483
(11th Cir. 1989) (en banc). Therefore, in order to
have his claim heard, [Plaintiff is] required to bring it
within two years from the date the limitations period began
McNair v. Allen, 515 F.3d 1168, 1173 (11th Cir.
conduct about which Plaintiff complains regarding Nurse
Flowers occurred in November of 2013. By its express terms,
the tolling provision of Alabama Code § 6-2-8(a)
provides no basis for relief to Plaintiff from application of
the time bar. Thus, the statute of limitations began to run
on the claim arising from the challenged conduct of Nurse
Flowers in November of 2013. The limitations period for this
event ran uninterrupted until it expired, at the latest, on
November 30, 2015. Plaintiff filed the instant complaint on
January 14, 2016, after expiration of the applicable
statute of limitations is usually raised as an affirmative
defense. In a § 1983 action filed by a plaintiff
proceeding in forma pauperis, the court may sua
sponte consider affirmative defenses apparent from the
face of the complaint. Clark v. Georgia Pardons and
Parole Board, 915 F.2d 636, 640 n.2 (11th Cir. 1990);
Ali v. Higgs, 892 F.2d 438 (5th Cir. 1990)
(“[I]n an action proceeding under section 1915(d) [-the
in forma pauperis statute now codified as §
1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-], [a court] may consider, sua
sponte, affirmative defenses that are apparent from the
record even where they have not been addressed or raised in
the district court. In so doing, [the court is] following
consistently the special treatment given to section 1915(e)
suits.”). Consequently, with respect to a complaint
filed in forma pauperis, “if the district
court sees that an affirmative defense would defeat the
action, a section 1915(d) dismissal is allowed.”
Clark, 915 F.2d at 640. “The expiration of the
statute of limitations is an affirmative defense the
existence of which warrants dismissal as frivolous.”
Id. at 640 n.2 (citing Franklin v. State of
Oregon, 563 F.Supp. 1310, 1330-1332 (D.C. Oregon 1983)).
analyzing § 1983 cases, “the court is authorized
to test the proceeding for frivolousness or maliciousness
even before service of process or before the filing of the
answer.” Ali, 892 F.2d at 440. “It
necessarily follows that in the absence of the defendant or
defendants, the district court must evaluate the merit of the
claim sua sponte.” Id.
An early determination of the merits of an IFP proceeding
provides a significant benefit to courts (because it will
allow them to use their scarce resources effectively and
efficiently), to state officials (because it will free them
from the burdens of frivolous and harassing litigation), and
to prisoners (because courts will have the time, energy and
inclination to give meritorious claims the attention they
need and deserve). “We must take advantage of every
tool in our judicial workshop.” Spears [v.
McCotter], 766 F.2d [179, 182 (5th Cir. 1985)].
Green v. McKaskle, 788 F.2d 1116, 1120 (5th Cir.
on the facts apparent from the face of the complaint,
Plaintiff has no legal basis on which to proceed regarding
his challenge to the conduct of Nurse Flowers because he
filed this cause of action over two years after the
challenged action occurred. As noted, the statutory tolling
provision is unavailing. Consequently, the two-year period of
limitations applicable to Plaintiff's claim against Nurse
Flowers expired prior to his filing of this action. In light
of the foregoing, the court concludes that the
Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim against Defendant
Flowers s is barred by the statute of limitations.
Plaintiff's claims against this individual is, therefore,
subject to dismissal as frivolous under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(i). See Clark, 915 F.2d 636;
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989).
Warden Boyd ...