United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
KEREL L. SEABROOKS, Plaintiff,
J. RANDALL, et al. Defendants.
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE
Kerel L. Seabrooks has filed a motion to reconsider the
Court's December 14, 2018, Order Screening Complaint in
part, dkt. 8. Specifically, Mr. Seabrooks argues that the
Court improperly dismissed his excessive force claims against
Correctional Officer Stone and the unknown guard based on
statute of limitations. Mr. Seabrooks argues the statute of
limitations were tolled while he first exhausted his
administrative remedies, citing Gonzales v. Hasty,
651 F.3d 318 (2nd Cir. 2011), and when he later litigated
these events in state court. Dkt. 10.
to reconsider orders other than final judgments are governed
by Rule 54(b). “Motions to reconsider serve a limited
function, to be used ‘where the Court has patently
misunderstood a party, or has made a decision outside the
adversarial issues presented to the Court by the parties, or
has made an error not of reasoning but of
apprehension.'” Davis v. Carmel Clay
Schs., 286 F.R.D. 411, 412 (S.D. Ind. 2012) (quoting
Bank of Waunakee v. Rochester Cheese Sales, Inc.,
906 F.2d 1185, 1191 (7th Cir. 1990)) (additional quotations
omitted). A court may grant a motion to reconsider where a
movant demonstrates a manifest error of law or fact; however,
a motion to reconsider is not an occasion to make new
arguments. In re Prince, 85 F.3d 314, 324 (7th Cir.
1996); Granite St. Ins. Co. v. Degerlia, 925 F.2d
189, 192 n.7 (7th Cir. 1991). A motion to reconsider under
Rule 54(b) may also be appropriate where there has been
“a controlling or significant change in the law or
facts since the submission of the issue to the Court.”
Bank of Waunakee, 906 F.2d at 1191 (quoting
Above the Belt, Inc. v. Mel Bohannan Roofing, Inc.,
99 F.R.D. 99, 101 (E.D. Va. 1983)). Motions for
reconsideration in the district courts are generally
disfavored because “a re-do of a matter that has
already received the court's attention is seldom a
productive use of taxpayer resources because it places all
other matters on hold.” Burton v. McCormick,
No. 3:11-CV-026, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50891, 2011 WL
1792849, at *1 (N.D. Ind. May 11, 2011) (quoting United
States v. Menominee Tribal Enters., No. 07-C-317, 2009
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45614, 2009 WL 1373952, at *1 (E.D. Wis. May
dismissing Mr. Seabrooks' excessive force claims, the
The facts plead by Mr. Seabrooks call into question the
timeliness of his excessive force claims against Correctional
Officer Stone and the unknown guard for the incident on March
16, 2016. This action was filed November 20, 2018, more than
two years and eight months after the alleged assault on Mr.
Seabrooks. It is not timely, as plead, under Indiana's
statute of limitations for personal injury actions.
“It is, of course, ‘irregular' to dismiss a
claim as untimely under Rule 12(b)(6). . . . However, . . .
dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) on the basis of a limitations
defense may be appropriate when the plaintiff effectively
pleads [himself] out of court by alleging facts that are
sufficient to establish the defense.” Hollander v.
Brown, 457 F.3d 688, 691 n.1 (7th Cir. 2006) (internal
citations omitted); see also Koch v. Gregory, 536
Fed.Appx. 659 (7th Cir. 2013) (stating that when the language
of the complaint plainly shows that the statute of
limitations bars the suit, dismissal under § 1915A is
appropriate); Brownmark Films, LLC v. Comedy
Partners, 682 F.3d 687, 690 (7th Cir. 2012). This is
what Mr. Seabrooks has done here. Because the statute of
limitations for § 1983 actions in Indiana bars Mr.
Seabrooks' excessive force claims, the claims against
Correctional Officer Stone and the unknown guard are
dismissed as barred by the statute of limitations.
Dkt. 8 at 4.
plaintiff's complaint was brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Suits under § 1983 use the statute of
limitations and tolling rules that states employ for
personal-injury claims. When federal courts borrow a
state's statutes of limitations in §1983 actions,
they must also borrow the state's tolling provisions.
Johnson v. Rivera, 272 F.3d 519, 521 (7th Cir.
Seabrooks argues the statute of limitations were tolled while
he exhausted his administrative remedies, citing
Gonzales, 651 F.3d at 323, which noted that
“the Ninth, Fifth, Seventh, and Sixth Circuits have all
adopted the rule that equitable tolling is applicable to the
time period during which a prisoner-plaintiff is exhausting
his administrative remedies pursuant to the PLRA.”
Id. Gonzales' reference to the Seventh
Circuit's adoption of such a rule referred to
Rivera. In Rivera, which was filed by an
Illinois prisoner, the district court dismissed the complaint
based on the two-year Illinois statute of limitations. The
Seventh Circuit concluded that under the Illinois tolling
statute, the statute of limitations was tolled while a
prisoner completed the administrative grievance process
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). However, this specific
holding is based on Illinois law and is not applicable to
this case, which must apply Indiana law. Indiana does not
allow for tolling the limitations period while a prisoner
exhausts his administrative remedies. In Coghill v.
Badger, 418 N.E.2d 1201, 1207 (Ind. App. 1981), the
court refused to toll the statute of limitations for anything
other than incompetence or a showing of physical and mental
incapacitation. Indiana law provides that the statute of
limitations is tolled for non-resident defendants under
certain circumstances, where the defendant has concealed the
facts from the plaintiff, or if the person was under a legal
disability at the time the cause of action accrued.
See Ind. Code § 34-11-4-1; Ind. Code §
34-11-4-3; Ind. Code § 34-11-5-1; Ind. Code §
34-11-6-1. At one time, imprisonment constituted a legal
disability under Indiana law. Walker v. Memering,
471 N.E.2d 1202, 1204 (Ind. App. 1984). However, that
provision has been repealed and the relevant Indiana statute
now only includes “‘under legal disabilities'
persons less than eighteen (18) years of age, mentally
incompetent, or out of the United States.” Ind. Code
§ 1-1-4- 5(24). Accordingly, under Indiana law, the
statute of limitations was not tolled while the plaintiff
exhausted his administrative remedies. And because the Court
must use Indiana's tolling provisions - and not
Illinois' tolling provisions cited in Rivera,
the statute of limitations were not tolled while Mr.
Seabrooks exhausted his administrative remedies.
Seabrooks also argues that the statute of limitations was
tolled while he litigated the same facts in state court, but
Mr. Seabrooks cites no authority in support of this argument
nor is the Court aware of any such authority. Rather, Mr.
Seabrooks timely filed his state court complaint regarding
the relevant events, and therefore could have timely filed
his federal claims in his state court action or timely filed
a federal court complaint at the same time. Nor has Mr.
Seabrooks explained why he could not have filed his federal
court case before March 2018, or why he waited more than two
months after the dismissal of his state court case on
September 5, 2018, to file his complaint in this action on
November 20, 2018. The Seventh Circuit has held that “a
litigant who learns, or had he been diligent would have
learned, all the facts that he would need in order to be able
to file his claim, while time remains in the limitations
period, must file it before the period ends.”
Yuan Gao v. Mukasey, 519 F.3d 376, 378 (7th Cir.
2008) (internal citations omitted); see also Brademas v.
Ind. Hous. Fin. Auth., 354 F.3d 681, 687 (7th Cir. 2004)
(“When ‘the necessary information is gathered
after the claim arose but before the statute of limitations
has run, the presumption should be that the plaintiff could
bring suit within the statutory period and should have done
Mr. Seabrooks' motion for reconsideration, dkt. , is