United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Charleston
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
T. Copenhaver, Jr. United States District Judge.
is defendants J.G. Cline, Shane Woodrum, and Timothy
Browning's Motion to Dismiss for Expiration of the
Statute of Limitations, filed on December 9, 2016 (ECF No.
Factual and procedural background
court recited the pertinent factual allegations in its orders
of April 18, 2016, and July 1, 2016, and only a brief
recapitulation is provided here.
September 29, 2013, plaintiff David Matthew Harvey was
incarcerated at West Virginia's Southwestern Regional
Jail. Defendants J.G. Cline, Shane Woodrum, and Timothy
Browning, as well as now-dismissed defendants Tyler Nelson
and Robert S. Castle (collectively,
“defendants”), worked there as guards. Plaintiff
claims that on September 29 and 30, 2013, defendants
“either physically assaulted [him] . . . or . . .
failed to intervene and prevent the other [d]efendants from
doing the same.” Compl. ¶¶ 23-27.
September 15, 2015, plaintiff, by counsel, sent a certified
letter to various state officials advising them that
plaintiff was considering a civil action, based on the
foregoing allegations. See Id. ¶¶ 9-11.
Thirty days later, on October 15, 2015, plaintiff initiated
this action with the filing of his three-count complaint.
of the complaint seeks redress under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
for violations of plaintiff's Fourth, Eighth, and
Fourteenth Amendment rights. Id. ¶¶ 67-72.
Count 2 alleges violations of analogous rights protected by
the West Virginia constitution. Id. ¶¶
73-80. Count 3 charges the defendants with common law
negligence. Id. ¶¶ 81-84. Plaintiff brings
this action against the defendants in their individual
capacities only. Id. ¶¶ 4-8 (noting that
each defendant “is sued only in his individual
dismissed defendants, Tyler Nelson and Robert S. Castle, both
submitted motions to dismiss. The court granted Nelson's
motion in an opinion entered on April 18, 2016 (ECF No. 37),
and granted Castle's motion in an opinion entered on July
1, 2016 (ECF No. 41). The court granted both motions on the
same grounds, the rulings on which are incorporated herein.
December 9, 2016, the remaining defendants, Cline, Woodrum,
and Browning, jointly filed the pending motion to dismiss,
reiterating the same arguments raised by the two dismissed
defendants. In brief, the pending motion asserts that
Harvey's claims are time-barred because the complaint was
filed more than two years after the conduct is alleged to
have occurred. Plaintiff filed his response on December 22,
2016, reiterating the same objections raised on the previous
motions to dismiss, with the exception of one new argument
regarding statutory interpretation elaborated on below.
Standard governing motions to dismiss
8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that
a pleader provide “a short and plain statement of the
claim showing . . . entitle[ment] to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); see also Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 93 (2007). The required “short and plain
statement” must provide “‘fair notice of
what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
545 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957),
overruled on other grounds, Twombly, 550 U.S. at 563); see
also Anderson v. Sara Lee Corp., 508 F.3d 181, 188 (4th Cir.
2007). Rule 12(b)(6) correspondingly permits a defendant to
challenge a complaint when it “fail[s] to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted. . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P.
of the Rule 12(b)(6) standard requires that the court
“‘accept as true all of the factual allegations
contained in the complaint. . . .'” Erickson, 551
U.S. at 94 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56); see also
S.C. Dept. of Health and Envt'l Control v. Commerce and
Indus. Ins. Co., 372 F.3d 245, 255 (4th Cir. 2004) (same
principle) (quoting Franks v. Ross, 313 F.3d 184, 192 (4th
Cir. 2002)). The court must likewise “draw all
reasonable . . . inferences from th[e] facts in the
plaintiff's favor. . . .” Edwards v. City of
Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 244 (4th Cir. 1999). At minimum, in
order to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, “a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570); see also Monroe v. City
of Charlottesville, 579 F.3d 380, 386 (4th Cir. 2009)
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).