Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Toomes v. U.S.P. Cannon

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

June 26, 2017

THOMAS TOOMES, Plaintiff
v.
U.S.P. CANAAN, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          JAMES M. MUNLEY, United States District Court Judge

         Thomas Toomes (“Plaintiff”), at all relevant times, an inmate incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary at Canaan (“USP-Canaan”), Waymart, Pennsylvania, filed this action on April 27, 2017, pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), and the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b), 2401, 2671, et seq. (Docs. 1, 4-1). He names USP Canaan and the United States of America as Defendants. (Id.)

         Plaintiff seeks to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 8). A federal court must dismiss a civil action filed in forma pauperis if the court determines that the complaint “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). For the reasons set forth below, the Court concludes that the complaint is subject to dismissal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         I. STANDARDS OF REVIEW

         The legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is identical to the legal standard used when ruling on Rule 12(b)(6) motions. Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999) (applying Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) standard to dismissal for failure to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)).

         A well-pleaded complaint must contain more than mere labels and conclusions. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). In reviewing the legal sufficiency of a complaint, the Court must accept the truth of the factual allegations. Morrison v. Madison Dearborn Capital Partners III L.P., 463 F.3d 312, 314 (3d Cir. 2006). Notably, the assumption of truth is inapplicable to legal conclusions or to “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action supported by mere conclusory statements.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The controlling question is whether the complaint “alleges enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (rejecting the “no set of facts” language from Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957) and requiring plaintiffs to allege facts sufficient to “raise a right to relief above the speculative level”); see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (explaining that Rule 8 requires more than “an unadorned, the-defendant unlawfully-harmed-me accusation”); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a) (stating that the complaint should include “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief”).

         Although the court is generally limited in its review to the facts contained in the complaint, it “may also consider matters of public record, orders, exhibits attached to the complaint and items appearing in the record of the case.” Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1384 n. 2 (3d Cir. 1994); see also In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997).

         II. ALLEGATIONS OF THE COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff alleges that on August 29, 2013, while incarcerated at USP-Canaan, he was assaulted by a corrections officer. (Doc. 1, pp. 1, 2; Doc. 4-1, pp. 1, 2). He alleges that he suffered severe injuries requiring transport to an outside hospital. (Id. at 3, 4; Id. at 3, 4). He seeks compensatory and punitive damages. (Id. at 4; Id. at 5).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Bivens Claim

         A court may dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim, based on a time-bar, where “the time alleged in the statement of a claim shows that the cause of action has not been brought within the statute of limitations.” Bethel v. Jendoco Construction Corp., 570 F.2d 1168, 1174 (3d Cir. 1978) (citation omitted). Although the statute of limitations is an affirmative defense which may be waived by the defendant, it is appropriate to dismiss sua sponte under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) a pro se civil rights claim whose untimeliness is apparent from the face of the complaint. See Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 214-15 (2007) (holding if the allegations of a complaint, “for example, show that relief is barred by the applicable statute of limitations, the complaint is subject to dismissal for failure to state a claim”).

         Like civil rights claims brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the statute of limitations for Bivens claims is subject to the same statute of limitations that applies to personal injury tort claims in the state in which such a claim arises. See Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 387 (2007); Kach v. Hose, 589 F.3d 626, 639 (3d Cir. 2009). Plaintiff's claim arose in Pennsylvania; thus, the applicable statute of limitations is Pennsylvania's two year statute of limitations for personal injury actions. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5524(2).

         The statute of limitations period accrues when the plaintiff knows or has reason to know of the injury which is the basis of the section 1983 action. See Garvin v. City of Phila., 354 F.3d 215 (3d Cir. 2003); Genty v. Resolution Trust Corp., 937 F.2d 899, 919 (3d Cir.1991). It is clear from the complaint that the Bivens claim accrued on August 29, 2013, the date of the alleged assault. This action was commenced on April 24, 2017, the date on which the complaint was signed and presumably delivered to prison authorities for mailing. See Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266 (1988) (holding that that date on which a prisoner delivers documents to prison authorities for mailing is ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.