United States District Court, D. Nebraska
RAFAEL J. PETITPHAIT, Plaintiff,
OFFICER CHRISTENSEN #1632, OFFICER WILLIAMSON #1635, and OMAHA POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RICHARD G. KOPF SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a non-prisoner, has been given leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. (Filing No. 5.) The court now conducts an initial
review of Plaintiff's claims to determine whether summary
dismissal is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
Plaintiff's third attempt to bring a 42 U.S.C. § 1983
action against the Omaha Police Department and two of its
officers stemming from Plaintiff's arrest on June 6,
2006. (Filing 1.) Plaintiff's first case was dismissed
without prejudice on April 6, 2012, for failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted. (No. 8:12CV45,
Filings 8, 9.) Plaintiff's second case was dismissed
without prejudice on the same basis. (No. 8:18CV179, Filings
8, 9.) In the case now before the court, Plaintiff describes
the same factual scenario that was at issue in his prior
cases, but he adds to his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim
state-law causes of action for intentional and negligent
infliction of emotional distress.
STANDARDS ON INITIAL REVIEW
court is required to review in forma pauperis complaints to
determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). The court must dismiss
a complaint or any portion of it that states a frivolous or
malicious claim, that fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or that seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
plaintiffs must set forth enough factual allegations to
“nudge their claims across the line from conceivable
to plausible, ” or “their complaint must be
dismissed.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 569-70 (2007); see also Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”).
essential function of a complaint under the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure is to give the opposing party ‘fair
notice of the nature and basis or grounds for a claim, and a
general indication of the type of litigation
involved.'” Topchian v. JPMorgan Chase Bank,
N.A., 760 F.3d 843, 848 (8th Cir. 2014) (quoting
Hopkins v. Saunders, 199 F.3d 968, 973 (8th Cir.
1999)). However, “[a] pro se complaint must be
liberally construed, and pro se litigants are held to a
lesser pleading standard than other parties.”
Topchian, 760 F.3d at 849 (internal quotation marks
and citations omitted).
length of the statute of limitations for a § 1983 claim
is the same as the length of the statute of limitations
“for personal-injury torts” in “the State
in which the cause of action arose.” Wallace v.
Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 387 (2007). In Nebraska, § 1983
actions are subject to a four-year statute of limitations.
See Montin v. Estate of Johnson, 636 F.3d 409,
412-13 (8th Cir. 2011); Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-207
(Westlaw 2020) (“The following actions can only be
brought within four years: . . . (3) an action for an injury
to the rights of the plaintiff, not arising on contract, and
not hereinafter enumerated . . . .”). Because
Plaintiff's purported civil rights claims accrued more
than four years prior to the filing of this lawsuit, they are
barred by the statute of limitations and must be dismissed with
prejudice. See, e.g., Johnson v.
Mott, 376 Fed.Appx. 641 (8th Cir. 2010) (unpublished)
(§ 1983 claim that was barred by the applicable statute
of limitations was properly dismissed with prejudice under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)); Varner v. Peterson Farms,
371 F.3d 1011, 1016 (8th Cir. 2004) (affirming dismissal with
prejudice because complaint showed statute of limitations had
state-law claims can only be litigated in this action through
exercise of the court's supplemental jurisdiction.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). However, the court
declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction in this case
because Plaintiff's federal claims will be dismissed
without leave to amend. See 28 U.S.C. §
1367(c)(3) (authorizing district court to decline
supplemental jurisdiction where it has “dismissed all
claims over which it has original jurisdiction.”);
Carnegie-Mellon Univ. v. Cohill, 484 U.S. 343, 350
n.7 (1988) (“in the usual case in which all federal-law
claims are eliminated before trial, the balance of factors to
be considered under the pendent jurisdiction
doctrine-judicial economy, convenience, fairness, and
comity-will point toward declining to exercise jurisdiction
over the remaining state-law claims”); Mountain
Home Flight Serv., Inc. v. Baxter Cnty., 758 F.3d 1038,
1045 (8th Cir. 2014) (“After the § 1983 claims
were dismissed, the district court acted within its
discretion in declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction
over the remaining state law claims.”).
claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 are barred by the statute
of limitations, and the court declines to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs state-law claims.
The court will not ...