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Anthony v. Flowers

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

February 26, 2019

VERTIS JEROME ANTHONY, #282 673, Plaintiff,
NURSE FLOWERS, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff, 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.[1] 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. § 1915(e)(2)(B).[2]

         I. DISCUSSION [3]

         A. Nurse Flowers

         Plaintiff complains Nurse Flowers stuck him with a dirty needle in November of 2013. Doc. 3 at[4]. 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. § 1983.

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 to run.

McNair v. Allen, 515 F.3d 1168, 1173 (11th Cir. 2008).

         The 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 limitation periods.

         The 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)).

         In 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. 1986).

         Based 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).

         B. Warden Boyd ...

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