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Sweet v. Doe

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 16, 2018

DEREK I. SWEET, #K98426, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN/JANE DOE 1, JOHN DOE 1, JOHN DOE 2, JOHN DOE 3, JOHN DOE 4, JOHN DOE 6, JOHN DOE 7, and JOHN DOE 8, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          HERNDON, District Judge:

         Plaintiff Derek I. Sweet, an inmate currently housed at Stateville Correctional Center (“Stateville”), filed this pro se action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Following the Court's Severance Order, filed contemporaneously herewith, the only claims remaining in this action are Counts 1 through 6 (“2006/2007 Menard Claims”). The Court designated Counts 1 through 6 as follows:

         2006/2007 Menard Claims

Count 1 - On October 1, 2006, John Doe 2 subjected Plaintiff to excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Count 2 - On October 1, 2006, John Doe 1 failed to intervene in the alleged excessive force (occurring on October 1, 2006) in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Count 3 - John Doe 1, John Doe 2, John Doe 3, John Doe 4, and John/Jane Doe 1 showed deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs resulting from the alleged excessive force (occurring on October 1, 2006) in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Count 4 - On February 7, 2007, John Doe 6 subjected Plaintiff to excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Count 5 - John Doe 6, John Doe 7, and John Doe 8 showed deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs resulting from the alleged excessive force (occurring on February 7, 2007).
Count 6 - John Doe 6 retaliated against Plaintiff for filing a grievance regarding the alleged use of excessive force (occurring on February 7, 2007) by tossing his cell and encouraging Plaintiff's cellmate to assault him.

         Merits Review

         The Court need not delve into the merits of Plaintiff's claims because it is obvious, from the face of the Complaint, that the claims are barred by the statute of limitations. [1]

         The statute of limitations for § 1983 actions arising in Illinois is two years. See Henderson v. Bolanda, 253 F.3d 928, 931 (7th Cir.2001), citing Ashafa v. City of Chicago, 146 F.3d 459, 461 (7th Cir.1998); Farrell v. McDonough, 966 F.2d 279, 280-82 (7th Cir.1992); Kalimara v. Illinois Department of Corrections, 879 F.2d 276, 277 (7th Cir. 1989). In the instant case, even assuming that all of the claims involve continuing violations, Plaintiff's claims would have accrued, at the latest, on March 11, 2007, when Plaintiff was transferred to Stateville Correctional Center. See Heard v. Sheahan, 253 F.3d 316, 318 (7th Cir. 2001) (finding that an Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim for failure to treat an inmate's hernia, a continuing violation, accrued when the inmate left the prison).

         The same is true when the Court considers applicable tolling principles. The Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) requires inmates to exhaust administrative remedies prior to filing suit under § 1983. See 42 U.S.C. § 1997(e)(a). The Seventh Circuit has held that a federal court relying on the Illinois statute of limitations in § 1983 cases must toll the limitations period while a prisoner completes the administrative grievance process. Johnson v. Rivera, 272 F.3d 519, 522 (7th Cir. 2001). However, an inmate's obligation to complete the process ceases when the process becomes unavailable. Dole v. Chandler, 438 F.3d 804, 811-12 (7th Cir. 2006). When an inmate is transferred to another facility, the administrative review process is deemed unavailable and the tolling of limitations period ends. See King v. McCarty, 781 F.3d 889, 895 (7th Cir. 2015).

         Accordingly, in the instant case, Plaintiff had to bring suit no later than March 11, 2009 (two years from the day he was transferred out of Menard). Unfortunately, Plaintiff's suit, which was filed in 2017, is eight years too late. The Court will therefore dismiss this action with prejudice as barred by the statute of limitations. No. strike will be assessed at this time. See Myles v. United States, 416 F.3d 551, 553 (“The ...


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