United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
years ago, Brandon Moody sued Detective John Verrechio,
Detective Thomas Gaul, Assistant District Attorney Jude
Conroy, and the City of Philadelphia (collectively,
“Defendants”) for alleged constitutional
violations. Defendants filed motions to dismiss on statute of
limitations grounds, which the Court granted, and Moody
appealed. In February, the Third Circuit remanded this case
to determine whether Moody's lawsuit was timely filed
under the prison mailbox rule. Defendants now argue that even
under the prison mailbox rule, Moody commenced his lawsuit on
May 21, 2010-one day outside the statute of limitations. The
Court agrees. For the reasons set forth below, the Court
again grants Defendants' motions to dismiss.
alleged that on May 14, 2008, while housed as a pre-trial
detainee at Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility, a sergeant
and three correctional officers entered his cell and seized
his mail. (Second Am. Compl. ¶ 10.) The mail included
privileged correspondence between Moody and his attorney, and
other papers relating to Moody's legal defense.
(Id. ¶¶ 10- 11.) The officers claimed the
seizure was “pursuant to a court order from the
District Attorney's Office.” (Id. ¶
10.) Moody argued that the court order was forged.
(Id. ¶ 14.) He further alleged that the
confiscation of his personal mail was commenced by Verrechio
on Gaul's behalf, and that Verrechio subsequently
provided the mail to Conroy. (Id. ¶¶
25-26.) Moody sued Defendants under 42 U.S.C. §§
1983 and 1985, claiming they violated his rights under the
First, Fourth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments.
filed motions to dismiss in September 2015. On October 30,
2015, the Court granted Defendants' motions to dismiss on
statute of limitations grounds. The Court concluded that the
two-year statute of limitations period commenced on May 20,
2008, but that Moody had filed his in forma pauperis motion
on May 24, 2010, after the statute of limitations had run.
(Mem. Op. 4-5, ECF No. 60.)
subsequently filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that
the Court failed to properly account for the prison mailbox
rule. (Pl.'s Mot. Recons. 13.) Moody claimed in his
motion that “the accurate date that should be assessed
as the date he filed the IFP request should be the date it
was signed, but no later than the date he handed the
documents over to be mailed which was documented as of May
21, 2010.” (Id.) He also provided a cash slip
form and an inmate account statement as evidence supporting
his contention. (Id. Exs. C (cash slip), D (account
statement).) The handwritten cash slip form requested that
officials “deduct the required funds” necessary
to mail 10 envelopes, and was dated May 21, 2010.
(Id. Ex. C.) The inmate account statement listed
various transactions, and Moody noted the two postage
expenses incurred on May 21, 2010. (Id. Ex. D.) The
Court denied Moody's motion for reconsideration and he
Third Circuit determined that at the motion to dismiss stage,
Moody had adequately pled facts sufficient to toll the
statute of limitations until May 20, 2010. Moody v.
Conroy, Civ. A. No. 16-1018, 2017 WL 775823, at *2-3 (3d
Cir. Feb. 28, 2017). Because Moody provided a certificate of
service dated May 20, 2010, with his initial IFP filing, the
court stated that Moody's action may have fallen within
the statute of limitations. Id. at *3. The Third
Circuit remanded the case to this Court to decide whether
Moody's action was timely filed under the prison mailbox
the prison mailbox rule, a pro se inmate files a document at
the moment he delivers it to the relevant prison authorities
to be sent to the court. Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S.
266, 275-76 (1988). The date of delivery to prison
authorities is used because after that moment, the inmate
loses any control over the document and has no further
ability to ensure that it timely reaches the district court.
Id. at 271-72.
“the absence of contrary evidence, ” the date of
delivery is often assumed to be the date that the document
was signed by the inmate. U.S. v. Thomas, Civ. A.
No. 12-282, 2015 WL 2126911, at *1 n.1 (E.D. Pa. May 5,
2015); e.g., Butler v. Walsh, 846 F.Supp.2d
324, 327 n.3 (E.D. Pa. 2012) (same). But when contrary
evidence exists-such as cash slips or account
statements-courts will use the date indicated by those
records to determine when the inmate delivered the documents.
See, e.g., Suny v. Pennsylvania, Civ. A.
No. 12-1469, 2014 WL 772439, at *10 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 27, 2014)
(finding a cash slip to be “sufficient proof that
Petitioner gave his PCRA petition to prison authorities on
October 18, 2007”); Nichols v. Coleman, Civ.
A. No. 08-2445, 2008 WL 7631529, at *2 n.4 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 4,
2008) (holding that although the date of petitioner's
signature was May 19, 2008, the date of delivery of the
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to prison authorities was
May 21, 2008, which was “the date of the signature of
the prison accounting official and the date on the inmate
account balance sheet”).
argues in his supplemental briefing that May 19, 2010, should
be the operative date of filing because that is when he had
all the requisite documents completed. (Pl.'s Suppl. Br.
2, ECF No. 81.) And Moody's IFP petition does include a
certificate of service dated May 20, 2010. (Pl.'s Proof
of Service.) But Moody himself has provided contrary evidence
that his IFP motion was delivered to prison authorities on
May 21, 2010. Moody attached a copied version of a cash slip
form, dated May 21, 2010, in which he asks funds to be
withdrawn to pay for the mailing of 10 envelopes. (Pl.'s
Mot. Recons. 13, Ex. C.) Moody also attached an inmate
account statement and highlighted “postage”
transactions dated May 21, 2010. (Id. Ex. D.) Most
importantly, Moody conceded in his motion for reconsideration
that he provided the documents to the prison authorities on
May 21, 2010. (Id. 13.)
three pieces of contrary evidence, proffered by Moody
himself, demonstrate that Moody delivered his IFP motion to
the prison authorities for mailing on May 21, 2010. As a
result, the Court finds that Moody filed his IFP motion one
day after the statute of limitations had run. Accordingly,
the Court will again grant Defendants' motions to
foregoing reasons, the Court grants Defendants' motions
to dismiss. An Order consistent with this ...