Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Rownan v. Oliver

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

August 5, 2019

KATHLEEN OLIVER, et al., Defendants.



         Noting Dated: August 23, 2019 Plaintiff Donald W. Rownan, proceeding pro se, filed this civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. After reviewing Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, the Court finds Plaintiff has failed to state a claim and has failed to adequately respond to the Court's Order to Show Cause. Therefore, the Court recommends this action be dismissed and all pending motions, including the Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Dkt. 1), be denied as moot.

         I. Background

         In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff, who is housed at the Olympic Corrections Center, alleges Defendants - Pierce County Prosecutors Kathleen Oliver, Frank Krall, and Scott Petters - violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process by “wrongfully and unlawfully imprison[ing]” him. Dkt. 8, p. 5. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges Defendants kept him incarcerated despite another person being convicted of the crime Plaintiff was alleged to have committed. Dkt. 8, pp. 4-5. Plaintiff alleges he should have been released “pending investigation” but was instead incarcerated on the charges from December 25, 2015 until April 5, 2016. Id. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages for his alleged wrongful imprisonment. Id. at pp. 5-6.

         On June 11, 2019, the Court screened Plaintiff's Complaint and found it was deficient. See Dkt. 3. The Court ordered Plaintiff to correct the deficiencies in the Complaint by July 11, 2019. Id. After the Court granted Plaintiff an extension of time, Plaintiff filed the Amended Complaint on July 22, 2019. Dkt. 7, 8.

         II. Discussion

         Under 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).

         A. Failure to State a Claim

         In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff named three Pierce County Prosecutors as Defendants. See Dkt. 8, p. 3. Prosecutors are entitled to absolute immunity from liability for damages under § 1983. Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 427 (1976). Prosecutorial immunity protects a prosecutor who “acts within his or her authority and in a quasi-judicial capacity.” Asheleman v. Pope, 793 F.2d 1072, 1076 (9th Cir. 1986) (citing Imbler, 424 U.S. at 430-31). “Such immunity applies even if it leaves ‘the genuinely wronged defendant without civil redress against a prosecutor whose malicious or dishonest action deprives him of liberty.'” Id. (quoting Imbler, 424 U.S. at 427). As Defendants have immunity, Plaintiff has failed to state a claim against them and his claims cannot proceed.

         Further, Plaintiff fails to clearly identify how any of the Defendants allegedly violated his rights, or clearly state the alleged wrongdoing of each Defendant. He provides only generalized statements alleging Defendants unlawfully incarcerated him after another person admitted to a crime and that he “should have been released . . . pending investigation.” See Dkt. 8, p. 5. Without properly alleging actions each Defendant took which violated his rights, Plaintiff has failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted in this action. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (the pleading must be more than an “unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation”); Jones v. Community Development Agency, 733 F.2d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 1984) (vague and mere conclusory allegations unsupported by facts are not sufficient to state section 1983 claims).

         B. Statute of Limitations

         In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges he was wrongfully imprisoned from December 25, 2015 until April 5, 2016. Dkt. 8, p. 5.

         A 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. § 4.16.080(2).

         The 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 ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.