United States District Court, N.D. Indiana
DEXTER ROGERS, Individually and as Personal Representative of the ESTATE OF CARRIE BELL ROGERS and as Personal Representative of the ESTATE OF PREMIUS ROGERS, Plaintiff,
ALLEN SUPERIOR COURT, JUDGE NANCY ESHCOFF BOYER, JUDGE STANLEY A. LEVINE, JUDGE WENDY DAVIS, PARKVIEW HOSPITAL INC., MICHAEL J. PACKNETT, CEO OF PARKVIEW HEALTH, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN CHIEF JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Motion to Dismiss [ECF No.
16], filed by Defendants Parkview Hospital, Inc., and Michael
J. Packnett, CEO of Parkview Health (Parkview Defendants).
The pro se Plaintiff, Dexter Rogers, Individually and as
Personal Representative of the Estate Carrie Bell Rogers, and
as Personal Representative of the Estate of Premius Rogers,
filed his Complaint on January 28, 2016, against the Parkview
Defendants as well as against various state court judges and
the Allen Superior Court, which is where he is a pursuing a
medical malpractice claim. The Plaintiff's Complaint
invokes Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1962, 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000d et seq. as the grounds for relief. The
statute provides that “[n]o person in the United States
shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be
excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or
be subject to discrimination under any program or activity
receiving Federal financial assistance.” 42 U.S.C.
reasons stated in this Opinion and Order, the Court finds
that the Plaintiff's claims against the Parkview
Defendants are barred because they were not filed within the
applicable statute of limitations, and there is no basis to
toll the limitations period.
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint
must ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Adams v. City of Indianapolis, 742
F.3d 720, 728 (7th Cir. 2014) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Although pro se
complaints are to be liberally construed and held to a less
stringent standard than pleadings drafted by lawyers,
Luevano v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 722 F.3d 1014,
1027 (7th Cir. 2013), the factual allegations in the
complaint must be enough to raise a right to relief above a
speculative level, Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. A
plaintiff can also plead himself out of court if his
allegations clearly establish all the elements of an
affirmative defense, including the defense that the action
was filed after the statute of limitations period expired.
Chi. Bldg. Design, P.C. v. Mongolian House, Inc.,
770 F.3d 610, 613-14 (7th Cir. 2014); see also Logan v.
Wilkins, 644 F.3d 577, 582 (7th Cir. 2011)
(“[W]hen the allegations of the complaint reveal that
relief is barred by the applicable statute of limitations,
the complaint is subject to dismissal for failure to state a
claim.”); United States v. Lewis, 411 F.3d
838, 842 (7th Cir. 2005) (citing exception to the rule that
complaints do not have to anticipate affirmative defenses to
survive a motion to dismiss where “the allegations of
the complaint itself set forth everything necessary to
satisfy the affirmative defense, such as when a complaint
plainly reveals that an action is untimely under the
governing statute of limitations”); Tregenza v.
Great Am. Comm'ns Co., 12 F.3d 717, 718 (7th Cir.
1993) (noting that even though a plaintiff is not required to
a negate statute of limitations affirmative defense in his
complaint, “if he pleads facts that show that his suit
is time-barred or otherwise without merit, he has pleaded
himself out of court”).
12(b) requires that a court treat motions to dismiss as one
for summary judgment under Rule 56 when “matters
outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by
the court.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b). Despite the language of
Rule 12(b), the court may also take judicial notice of
matters of public record without converting a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion into a motion for summary judgment. Henson v. CSC
Credit Servs., 29 F.3d 280, 284 (7th Cir. 1994) (citing
United States v. Wood, 925 F.2d 1580, 1582 (7th Cir.
1991)). A court may also consider facts alleged in a pro se
plaintiff's brief in opposition to a motion to dismiss
when considering the sufficiency of the complaint, as long as
the facts are “consistent with the allegations in the
complaint.” Smith v. Dart, 803 F.3d 304, 311
(7th Cir. 2015); Gutierrez v. Peters, 111 F.3d 1364,
1367 n.2 (7th Cir. 1997).
Plaintiff alleges that the Parkview Defendants violated Title
VI when they denied care and treatment to his mother while
she was a patient at Parkview in 2011. He alleges that the
care she received was inferior to the care that white
patients in similarly circumstances received. (Compl. ¶
83-84, ECF No. 1.) According to the Plaintiff, these actions
resulted in her death on August 23, 2011. (Pl.'s Reply
Br. 9, ECF No. 29.) Moreover, he complains that Parkview
failed to report to the Indiana State Department of Health
that his mother had suffered a fall that led to her death.
(Compl. ¶ 87.) The Parkview Defendants
“purposefully kept material information from the
Plaintiff because of race before his mother died August 23,
2011” (Pl.'s Reply Br. 10) and continued to deny
him access to information concerning his mother's death
before he filed a complaint with the Indiana Department of
Insurance on June 25, 2013 (Id. at 4). On June 25,
2013, the Plaintiff filed a medical malpractice claim in
state court. Dissatisfied with rulings there, he alleges that
the Parkview Defendant have continued to deny material
information to him so that he can advance his claims in state
court. (Compl. ¶ 89.)
Parkview Defendants argue that the Plaintiff's Title VI
claims are time barred. The Plaintiff, insistent that no
statute of limitations applies to Title VI claims, maintains
that he is not barred from proceeding with his claims against
the Parkview Defendants. The Plaintiff is correct that the
statute under which he has sued provides no limitations
period-a common occurrence in federal civil law. Prior to
1990, Congress had not adopted a statute of limitations for
federal claims. The Supreme Court has said that “[i]n
such situations we do not ordinarily assume that Congress
intended that there be no time limit on actions at all;
rather, our task is to “borrow” the most suitable
statute or other rule of timeliness from some other
source.” DelCostello v. Int'l Bhd. of
Teamsters, 462 U.S. 151, 158 (1983). For example, courts
were instructed to borrow the most analogous state statutes
of limitations, both for § 1983 claims against state
actors, Bd. of Regents of the Univ. of the State of N.Y.
v. Tomanio, 446 U.S. 478, 483-86, (1980), and for §
1981 claims against private actors, Johnson v. Ry.
Express Agency, Inc., 421 U.S. 454, 462-66 (1975).
Later, the Supreme Court clarified that the forum state's
personal-injury statute of limitations provided the most
analogous statute of limitations. Goodman v. Lukens Steel
Co., 482 U.S. 656, 660-62 (1987) (§ 1981 claims);
Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 276-79 (1985)
(§ 1983 claims).
December 1, 1990, Congress adopted a four-year statute of
limitations for federal claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1658.
However, this applies only to civil actions “arising
under an Act of Congress enacted after the date of the
enactment of this section.” Id. The Supreme
Court has interpreted § 1658 to apply only “if the
plaintiff's claim against the defendant was made possible
by a post-1990 enactment, ” and to leave “in
place the ‘borrowed' limitations periods for
pre-existing causes of action.” Jones v. R.R.
Donnelley & Sons Co., 541 U.S. 369, 382 (2004).
Title VI was enacted before December 1, 1990. Therefore, the
four-year statute of limitations contained in § 1658
does not apply.
Court finds that the appropriate statute of limitations in
Title VI cases is the same statute of limitations that is
applied in § 1983 cases and in § 1981 cases that
are not governed by § 1658's four-year statute of
limitations. Because Title VI is closely analogous to §
1983 and § 1981, both of which have been characterized
as personal-injury statutes, the same statute of limitations
should apply to Title VI claims. See Egerdahl v. Hibbing
Cmty. Coll., 72 F.3d 615, 618 (8th Cir. 1995) (applying
the reasoning in Wilson v. Garcia to a Title VI
claim and holding that the appropriate statute of limitations
for a Title VI claim is the state's personal injury
statute of limitations); Taylor v. Regents of Univ. of
Cal., 993 F.2d 710, 712 (9th Cir. 1993) (holding that
claims brought under Title VI “are governed by the same
state limitations period applicable to claims brought under
§ 1983”); Baker v. Bd. of Regents of State of
Kan., 991 F.2d 628, 631 (10th Cir. 1993) (holding that
“Title VI claims are best characterized as actions for
injury to personal rights” and, therefore, the
appropriate statute of limitations is the state's
personal injury statute of limitations); Rozar v.
Mullis, 85 F.3d 556, 561 (11th Cir. 1996) (holding that
the state's personal injury statute of limitations
applied to a Title VI claim).
Indiana, the limitations period for personal injury claims is
two years. Ind. Code § 34-11-2-4. Accordingly, all
claims that accrued before January 28, 2014, are time-barred.
Determining when the Plaintiff's claim accrued, i.e.,
when the two-year period began to run, is determined by
federal law. Lawshe v. Simpson, 16 F.3d 1475, 1478
(7th Cir. 1994); Wilson v. Geisen, 956 F.2d 738, 740
(7th Cir. 1992). “Generally, a claim accrues when the
plaintiff knows or has reason to know of the injury giving
rise to the cause of action.” Wilson, 956 F.2d
injuries the Plaintiff complains of are the denial of proper
medical care to his mother, leading to her death in August
2011, the failure to properly report her fall, and a refusal
to provide him with information surrounding her fall and her
death. He claims that these actions were the result of
intentional race discrimination and, ...