WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEAL, THIRD CIRCUIT,
PARISH OF ST. LANDRY
case, we are called upon to decide whether the false arrest
and false imprisonment claims of Paul Powell are prescribed.
For the reasons that follow, we conclude the action is
prescribed. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the court
of appeal and reinstate the judgment of the district court.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
relevant facts of this case are largely undisputed. On May 4,
2015, the Eunice Police Department arrested Marlon Eaglin,
Paul Powell, and two others and charged them with second
degree murder. Mr. Eaglin and Mr. Powell remained imprisoned
until their release on August 21, 2015.
April 29, 2016, Mr. Eaglin filed the instant suit against the
Eunice Police Department, the City of Eunice, and Chief Randy
Fontenot (collectively referred to hereinafter as
"defendants"), alleging false arrest and false
imprisonment. On May 9, 2016, more than one year following
the arrest, Mr. Eaglin amended his petition to add Mr. Powell
as a party plaintiff.
response to the amended petition, defendants filed an
exception of prescription, alleging Mr. Powell's claims
for false arrest and false imprisonment were prescribed.
Defendants argued Mr. Powell's claims prescribed on May
4, 2016, one year after the date of his May 4, 2015 arrest.
Powell opposed the exception. He argued the amended petition
adding his claim related back to Mr. Eaglin's
timely-filed petition. In addition, Mr. Powell argued his
claim for false imprisonment did not commence until the date
he was released from prison (August 21, 2015), thereby making
his May 9, 2016 claim timely.
hearing, the district court granted defendants' exception
of prescription and dismissed Mr. Powell's claims with
prejudice. The district court initially rejected Mr.
Powell's relation back argument, finding there was no
legal or family relationship which would allow the amended
petition adding Mr. Powell's claim to relate back to Mr.
Eaglin's original claim. The court further reasoned that
prescription on Mr. Powell's false imprisonment claim
commenced to run on the date of his arrest, rather than his
release from custody. Therefore, the court determined the
claim was prescribed.
Powell appealed, and the court of appeal reversed. Eaglin
v. Eunice Police Department, 17-127 (La.App.
3rd Cir. 10/4/17), 228 So.3d 280. The court of
appeal found that Mr. Powell's cause of action for false
imprisonment began to accrue on the date of his release from
prison. Because of this determination, the court of appeal
pretermitted discussion of Mr. Powell's relation back
defendants' application, we granted certiorari to
consider the correctness of this decision. Eaglin v.
Eunice Police Department, 17-1875 (La. 3/9/18), ___
issues are presented for our consideration: (1) whether
prescription for false arrest and imprisonment commences on
the date of the arrest or the date of release; and (2) if
prescription runs from the date of arrest, whether an amended
petition adding a new plaintiff relates back to an original
petition filed within one year of the arrest. We will address
these issues in turn.
argue the suit is prescribed because it was clearly filed
more than one year from Mr. Powell's arrest. However, Mr.
Powell takes the position that prescription did not commence