United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
HENRY M. ROBINSON, JR.
STATE OF LOUISIANA, ET AL
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. Hornsby U.S. Magistrate Judge.
M. Robinson, Jr. (“Plaintiff”), who is
self-represented, commenced this action. It appears that the
only relief he requests is an extension of the limitations or
prescription periods that apply to claims he might assert
against police and other persons associated with his arrest
and pending criminal prosecution in Bossier Parish. For the
reasons that follow, it is recommended that the complaint be
commenced this action by filing a Pro Se 1 complaint form
provided by the court. Plaintiff listed the State of
Louisiana in the caption as the defendant, but he did not
complete any other parts of the form except to refer to
attached papers. Those papers include police reports, court
minutes, and other documents that indicate Plaintiff was
arrested on March 11, 2017 on charges of domestic abuse
battery, disturbing the peace while drunk, and simple
criminal damage to property. The arrests stemmed from a
complaint from Plaintiff's girlfriend that Plaintiff had
physically attacked her and a complaint from the manager of a
Bossier City mo tel that Plaintiff had damaged a television.
Court minutes reflect that, as of when the complaint was
filed, trial was set on the charges for April 11, 2018.
attached to the complaint form a two-page letter that is the
only part of his filing that suggests what relief he is
seeking. Plaintiff wrote in the letter that he is
“filing for extension of time to file his Pro Se
litigate of said charges from all parties in said arrest of
copies attached to this.” Plaintiff stated that he was
“filing for a thirty (30) day to one (1) year extension
to file said complaint - lawsuit.” Plaintiff made
references to several persons, including the sheriff, his
appointed attorney, the Bossier City mayor, the governor, and
the motel manager. It appears that Plaintiff is asking the
court for an extension of the limitations periods to file a
civil action against the several persons associated with his
arrest and criminal charges.
not clear what claims Plaintiff may wish to present, but tort
claims under Louisiana law or federal civil rights violations
under 42 USC § 1983 are the most common claims asserted
in similar settings. Louisiana law allows one year from an
event to file a tort suit. La. Civ. Code art. 3492.
“The statute of limitations for section 1983 is
supplied by state law, so Louisiana's one year
prescriptive period applies.” Heath v. Bd. of
Supervisors for Southern University, 850 F.3d 731, 739
(5th Cir. 2017), citing Elzy v. Roberson, 868 F.2d
793, 794 (5th Cir. 1989). Most such claims (e.g., false
arrest or excessive force) accrue at the time of the arrest,
while a claim such as malicious prosecution may not accrue
until such time as criminal charges are resolved. Winfrey
v. Rogers, 882 F.3d 187, 196-197 (5th Cir. 2018);
Humphreys v. City of Ganado, 467 Fed.Appx. 252,
255-256 (5th Cir. 2012).
are various jurisprudential rules that may delay or toll a
statute of limitations. “State tolling law is
applicable in a § 1983 action if it is not inconsistent
with federal law or policy.” Broussard v.
Brown, 599 Fed.Appx. 188 (5th Cir. 2015). Louisiana law
includes the doctrine of contra non valentem, which provides
that prescription does not run against one who is unable to
act. But it does not apply merely because the plaintiff is in
jail or facing charges. McGuire v. Larpenter, 592
Fed. App'x. 272 (5th Cir. 2014).
tolling principles may be applied if an actual claim is
asserted and a timeliness defense is raised, but a federal
court does not have authority to simply extend a statute of
limitation based on the request of a party. Patron v.
Quarterman, 2008 WL 4449552, *3 (M.D. Tex. 2008) (court
could not extend limitations period to file habeas petition);
Ramirez v. Enviro Tank Equipment, 2009 WL 2143437,
*2 (S.D. Tex. 2009) (court could not extend limitations
period for filing Title VII suit). The court therefore lacks
authority to grant the only relief requested by Plaintiff in
may have already waited too late to file certain claims
related to his arrest and criminal charges. But the court
cannot say so for sure because Plaintiff has not yet
attempted to set forth any actual claim against any
particular defendant. If Plaintiff does so in a future civil
action, he may have to overcome a limitations defense. It is
premature to speculate about such matters at this time, and
the court lacks authority to grant an extension of the
limitations period in advance.
IT IS RECOMMENDED that Plaintiffs complaint