United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
C. Coughenour UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendants' motion to
dismiss (Dkt. No. 5). Having thoroughly considered the
parties' briefing and the relevant record, the Court
finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS the motion
for the reasons explained herein.
Kirk Williams initiated this suit on November 21, 2016. (Dkt.
No. 4 at 1.) He alleges that Defendant King County Detective
Cynthia Sampson forced him to provide a DNA sample pursuant
to a court order that she altered. (Dkt. No. 4 at 2.)
Williams further alleges that this illegally obtained DNA was
used as evidence against him in the criminal proceeding for
which he is currently serving his prison term. (Id.)
Although Williams does not indicate when the DNA was
collected, the order was signed and filed on August 13, 2010.
(Dkt. No. 6 at 5.) Williams was sentenced on August 12, 2011.
(Id. at 47.)
argues that by virtue of this improper DNA collection, he
suffered a violation of his rights under the Fourth
Amendment; the Fourteenth Amendment; article I, section 7 of
the Washington Constitution; and Washington Criminal Rule
4.7. (Dkt. No. 4 at 1.)
now move to dismiss on the grounds of statute of limitations
and improper service. (Dkt. No. 5.)
Rule 12(b)(6) Standard
defendant may move for dismissal when a plaintiff
“fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Although the Court
must accept as true a complaint's well-pleaded facts,
“conclusory allegations of law and unwarranted
inferences will not defeat an otherwise proper motion to
dismiss.” Vasquez v. L.A. County, 487 F.3d
1246, 1249 (9th Cir. 2007) (internal quotes omitted).
“Dismissal for failure to state a claim is appropriate
only if it appears beyond doubt that the non-moving party can
prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would
entitle him to relief.” Id. (internal quotes
claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Court applies the
forum state's statute of limitations for personal injury
actions. See Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 280
(1985). Here, the statute of limitations is three years.
See Wash. Rev. Code § 4.16.080(2). Federal law
governs when the statute of limitations begins to run in a
§ 1983 action. Cabrera v. City of Huntington
Park, 159 F.3d 374, 379 (9th Cir. 1998). For violations
of the Fourth Amendment, the cause of action accrues on the
date of the illegal search and seizure. See Venegas v.
Wagner, 704 F.2d 1144, 1146 (9th Cir. 1983). Under Wash.
Rev. Code § 4.16.190(1), however, the statute of
limitations is tolled when a person is “imprisoned on a
criminal charge prior to sentencing.” The conduct
Williams challenges occurred in August 2010. Thus, per the
three-year statute of limitations, Williams' deadline to
file this suit was in August 2013. Even if the Court applied
the tolling provision under § 4.16.190, Williams was
sentenced in August 2011, meaning his deadline to file suit
was August 2014. Williams did not initiate this suit until
November 2016, over two years later.
maintains that he did file within the limitations period,
citing to a case before Judge Zilly that Williams initiated
in March 2014. (Dkt. No. 8 at 4); see also Williams v.
Sampson, et al., C14-0052-TSZ (W.D. Wash. 2014). But
that case was dismissed in May 2014 for failure to state a
claim. Williams, C14-0052-TSZ (Dkt. No. 13 at 1).
Although the suit was dismissed without prejudice, the
statute of limitations still applied. To make a timely claim
for relief, Williams was required to refile by that August,
which he did not do.
also argues that he is entitled to equitable tolling of the
statute of limitations. (Dkt. No. 8 at 5.) The statute of
limitations may be equitably tolled if a litigant shows that
“despite all due diligence he is unable to obtain vital
information bearing on the existence of his claim.”
Cada v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., 920 F.2d 446, 451
(7th Cir. 1990). Under this doctrine, “the plaintiff is
assumed to know that he has been injured, so that the statute
of limitations has begun to run; but he cannot obtain
information necessary to decide whether the injury is due to
wrongdoing and, if so, wrongdoing by the defendant.”
makes only an unsupported allegation that he “exercised
due diligence to obtain information necessary to decide that
the injury was a . . . violation” and that Defendants
“would not grant me any vital information for my
lawsuit.” (Dkt. No. 8 at 5.) But this allegation is
contradicted by the complaint Williams filed in the Judge
Zilly case, which alleged the same-if not more-facts as to
the challenged conduct. In other words, within the
limitations period, Williams ...