Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

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.

Foster v. Robinson

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee

January 18, 2017

RAY A. FOSTER, Plaintiff,



         The Court is in receipt of a pro se prisoner's complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 [Doc. 2] and a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 1]. It appears from the motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis that Plaintiff lacks sufficient financial resources to pay the filing fee. Accordingly, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 1] will be GRANTED. For the reasons set forth below, however, no process shall issue and this action will be DISMISSED for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted under § 1983.

         I. Screening Standard

         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), district courts must screen prisoner complaints and shall, at any time, sua sponte dismiss any claims that are frivolous or malicious, fail to state a claim for relief, or are against a defendant who is immune. See, e.g., 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A; Benson v. O'Brian, 179 F.3d 1014 (6th Cir. 1999). The dismissal standard articulated by the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), and in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554 (2007), “governs dismissals for failure state a claim under [28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A] because the relevant statutory language tracks the language in Rule 12(b)(6).” Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). Thus, to survive an initial review under the PLRA, a complaint “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Courts liberally construe pro se pleadings filed in civil rights cases and hold them to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).

         In order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must establish that he was deprived of a federal right by a person acting under color of state law. Black v. Barberton Citizens Hosp., 134 F.3d 1265, 1267 (6th Cir. 1998); O'Brien v. City of Grand Rapids, 23 F.3d 990, 995 (6th Cir. 1994); Russo v. City of Cincinnati, 953 F.2d 1036, 1042 (6th Cir. 1992); see also Braley v. City of Pontiac, 906 F.2d 220, 223 (6th Cir. 1990) (stating that “Section 1983 does not itself create any constitutional rights; it creates a right of action for the vindication of constitutional guarantees found elsewhere”).

         II. Allegations of the Complaint [1]

         On July 31, 2014, Plaintiff was standing at the front of his garage smoking methamphetamine with several other individuals when he saw a dark sport utility vehicle pull up with a passenger who had “D.T.F.” (presumably Drug Task Force) across his chest [Doc. 2 p. 3]. Plaintiff started to run, but decided not to because his daughter was inside asleep [Id.]. Defendant Freeman then approached Plaintiff and told him that he had heard complaints about Plaintiff selling drugs in the neighborhood. [Id. at 3, 15]. At that point, Defendants Robinson, Freeman, Cherry, and Moore led Plaintiff to believe that because Plaintiff was on parole, he had to sign a document that was a warrant allowing them to search his property [Id. at 3-4, 15-16].

         During this search, Defendants disrupted Plaintiff's property and carried on various conversations with Plaintiff about his property and drugs, specifically who was bringing in drugs, who was selling drugs to whom, and whether Plaintiff could help bring others “down” [Id. at 19-20]. Plaintiff was sure that he was going to jail for the drugs in his pipe, but Defendants told him that they found drugs in a camper on Plaintiff's property, took some of Plaintiff's money and property, and then left [Id. at 19-23]. Plaintiff was arrested for charges stemming from the July 31, 2015, search on September 9, 2015 [Id. at 26].

         In or about March 2016, Amanda, a woman Plaintiff was formerly involved with who lived with him and who was present during the July 31, 2014, search of his property, told Plaintiff that during the search of the house and property, she saw Defendant Moore reach into an outside compartment of his camper, where police alleged they had found drugs, and say “this is only one, where[']s the other one, ” at which point Defendant Cherry said “shhh” and motioned toward Amanda [Id. at 37-38].

         Plaintiff also makes various allegations about alleged negligence/legal malpractice on the part of Defendant Ownby, his attorney in the underlying criminal case against him [Id. at 7-11].

         III. Legal Analysis

         A. Statute of Limitations

          Congress did not provide a statute of limitations for claims arising under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Accordingly, district courts apply state statutes of limitations to those claims. Harris v. United States, 422 F.3d 322, 331 (6th Cir. 2005). In Tennessee, a one-year statute of limitations is applicable to § 1983 actions. Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-104(a)(3); Zundel v. Holder, 687 F.3d 271, 281 (6th Cir. 2012).

         Federal law, however, determines “[t]he date on which the statute of limitations begins to run in a § 1983 action.” Eidson v. State of Tenn. Dept. of Children's Servs., 510 F.3d 631, 634- 35 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing Kuhnle Bros., Inc. v. Cnty. of Geauga, 103 F.3d 516, 520 (6th Cir. 1997)). The Sixth Circuit has held that a cause of action accrues and the statute of limitations begins to run when an event occurs that ...

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.