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S.M. v. Clash

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

March 10, 2014, Decided

Nos. 13-2842-cv (L), 13-2846-cv (Con), 13-2900-cv (Con)

Opinion

 [*44]  SUMMARY ORDER

UPON DUE CONSIDERATION, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that the judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED.

Plaintiffs-Appellants S.M., Kevin Kiadii, and Cecil Singleton appeal from the district court's judgment dismissing as untimely their complaints seeking damages pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2255(a) for alleged sexual abuse perpetrated by Defendant-Appellee Kevin Clash. We assume the parties' familiarity with the underlying facts, the procedural history of the case, and the specific issues on appeal.

We review de novo the dismissal of a complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).  [**2] See Gatt Commc'ns, Inc. v. PMC Assocs., L.L.C., 711 F.3d 68, 74 (2d Cir. 2013). The applicable statute of limitations provides as follows:

Any action commenced under this section shall be barred unless the complaint is filed within six years after the right of action first accrues or in the case of a person under a legal disability, not later than three years after the disability.

 [*45]  18 U.S.C. § 2255(b) (2006). The plaintiffs in this case concede that they did not file suit within three years after turning eighteen years old (at which point they no longer suffered from a legal disability). The plaintiffs argue, however, that, contrary to the district court's decision, their causes of action accrued when they discovered their injuries, and, according to their complaints, they discovered their injuries in 2012.

Assuming without deciding that a discovery accrual rule applies to § 2255(b), we hold that the district court properly dismissed the actions as time-barred given that the plaintiffs' complaints failed to provide any reason why the plaintiffs were unable to discover their injuries prior to 2012. See Singleton v. Clash, 951 F. Supp. 2d 578, 587-91 (S.D.N.Y. 2013). Under the discovery  [**3] rule, "a plaintiff's cause of action accrues when he discovers, or with due diligence should have discovered, the injury that is the basis of the litigation." Guilbert v. Gardner, 480 F.3d 140, 149 (2d Cir. 2007) (internal quotation marks omitted). The injuries that are the bases of litigation in this case are the alleged occurrences of sexual conduct in violation of a criminal statute enumerated under § 2255(a). The plaintiffs' complaints indicate that they were aware of this alleged conduct at the time that it occurred, which the plaintiffs concede was more than six years before they filed suit. While the plaintiffs assert that they "could not reasonably have been expected to know" that they suffered psychological harm as a result of the alleged abuse prior to 2012, they provide no explanation for this assertion. Because the plaintiffs failed to provide any basis for finding that they exercised "due diligence" in uncovering their injuries, assuming arguendo that the psychological harm constituted the plaintiffs' legal injury for purposes of § 2255(a), the discovery rule cannot apply. Cf. States v. Kubrick, 444 U.S. 111, 123, 100 S. Ct. 352, 62 L. Ed. 2d 259 (1979) (determining that a claim accrued for purposes of  [**4] the discovery rule when the plaintiff, "armed with the facts about the harm done to him," could have discovered his claim by "seeking advice in the medical and legal community").

We have considered all the plaintiffs' arguments relevant to the accrual of their claims under the discovery rule and find them to be without merit. Because we affirm the district court's judgment on the above grounds alone, we decline to address the parties' arguments as to whether a discovery or injury accrual rule applies to § 2255(b). Accordingly, the district court's judgment is AFFIRMED.

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558 Fed. Appx. 44 *; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 4377 **; 2014 WL 903526

S.M., Kevin Kiadii, Cecil Singleton, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. Kevin Clash, Defendant-Appellee.

Notice: PLEASE REFER TO FEDERAL RULES OF APPELLATE PROCEDURE RULE 32.1 GOVERNING THE CITATION TO UNPUBLISHED OPINIONS.

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Koeltl, J.).

Singleton v. Clash, 951 F. Supp. 2d 578, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92088 (S.D.N.Y., 2013)

CORE TERMS

injuries, plaintiffs', complaints, discovery rule, discovery, accrual, accrued cause of action, psychological harm, legal disability, fail to provide, district court, due diligence, three year, file suit, six years, discover, accrued, concede, sexual