United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE OR AMEND
W. Christel United States Magistrate Judge.
Donald W. Rownan, proceeding pro se, filed this
civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Having reviewed and screened
Plaintiff's Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the
Court finds Plaintiff has failed to state a claim, but
provides Plaintiff leave to file an amended pleading by July
11, 2019, to cure the deficiencies identified herein.
who is incarcerated at Washington Corrections Center, alleges
he was “wrongfully imprisoned” after a Pierce
County Sheriff arrested him for possession of a stolen
vehicle. Dkt. 1-1. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges he had no
knowledge the vehicle was stolen and was wrongfully
incarcerated on the pending charge from December 25, 2015
until April 6, 2016, “when the charge was dismissed
with prejudice without a trial.” Id. Plaintiff
seeks monetary damages for his alleged wrongful imprisonment.
the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, the Court is
required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking
relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee
of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The
Court must “dismiss the complaint, or any portion of
the complaint, if the complaint: (1) is frivolous, malicious,
or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted;
or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief.” Id. at (b); 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2); see Barren v. Harrington, 152
F.3d 1193 (9th Cir. 1998).
Complaint suffers from deficiencies requiring dismissal if
not corrected in an amended complaint.
Statute of Limitations
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges he was wrongfully imprisoned
from December 25, 2015 until April 6, 2016. Dkt. 1-1.
complaint must be timely filed. The Civil Rights Act, 42
U.S.C. § 1983, contains no statute of limitations.
“Thus, the federal courts  apply the applicable
period of limitations under state law for the jurisdiction in
which the claim arose.” Rose v. Rinaldi, 654
F.2d 546, 547 (9th Cir. 1981). In Rose, the Ninth
Circuit determined the three year limitations period
identified in Revised Code of Washington 4.16.080(2) is the
applicable statute of limitations for § 1983 cases in
Washington. 654 F.2d at 547; see R.C.W. §
Court also applies the forum state's law regarding
equitable tolling for actions arising under § 1983.
Jones v. Blanas, 393 F.3d 918, 927 (9th Cir. 2004).
In Washington, courts permit equitable tolling “when
justice requires.” Millay v. Cam, 135 Wash.2d
193, 206 (1998). “The predicates for equitable tolling
are bad faith, deception, or false assurances by the
defendant and the exercise of diligence by the
plaintiff.” Id. Courts “typically permit
equitable tolling to occur only sparingly, and should not
extend it to a garden variety claim of excusable
neglect.” State v. Robinson, 104 Wash.App.
657, 667 (2001) (internal quotations omitted). Washington
State also allows for a tolling period when a person is
imprisoned on a criminal charge prior to sentencing.
See R.C.W. § 4.16.190; see also Williams v.
Holevinski, 2006 WL 216705, *2 (E.D. Wash. July 31,
the statute of limitations is an affirmative defense which
normally may not be raised by the Court sua sponte,
it may be grounds for sua sponte dismissal of an
in forma pauperis complaint where the defense is
complete and obvious from the face of the pleadings or the
Court's own records. See Franklin v. Murphy, 745
F.2d 1221, 1228-30 (9th Cir. 1984).
alleges he was wrongfully imprisoned from December 25, 2015
to April 6, 2016. Dkt. 1-1. As such, based on the allegations
contained in the Complaint, Plaintiff had actual notice of
the facts related to the claims alleged in the Complaint on
December 25, 2015 (or at the latest, April 6, 2016). See
id.; Kimes v. Stone, 84 F.3d 1121, 1128 (9th
Cir. 1996) (a claim accrues when the plaintiff knows or has
reason to know of the injury which is the basis of the
action). Taking the latest date possible, the time for filing
a lawsuit expired on April 6, 2019, three years after
Plaintiff was released from his alleged wrongful
imprisonment. See Dkt. 1-1. Plaintiff signed -
effectively filing - the Complaint on May 23, 2019,
approximately six weeks after the last possible date the
statute of limitations expired. See Id. Plaintiff
has not shown statutory or equitable tolling is applicable in
this case. See Id. Therefore, Plaintiff must show
cause why the Complaint should not be dismissed because it is