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Law School Case Brief

Worthington v. Wilson - 790 F. Supp. 829

Rule:

Even though a state rule may affect the state statute of limitations, a federal court in a civil rights case does not borrow that rule unless there is no similar federal provision.

Facts:

Plaintiff criminal was injured during his arrest by the defendant police officers. He filed a complaint two years later and the defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on statute of limitations grounds and for a failure to state a claim for relief. They also noted that plaintiff’s complaint was not amended on time. The court dismissed the complaint. Plaintiff appealed.

Issue:

Is plaintiff’s complaint barred by the statute of limitation due to his failure to file an amended complaint on time?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The court affirmed and dismissed the criminal's civil rights complaint against the police officers on statute of limitations grounds. Since the amended complaint was not filed until after the expiration of the relevant limitations period, the only way the amended complaint could be found to be timely filed was if it related back to the filing of the original complaint. The court noted that while Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c) permits amendments that change a mistaken name in the original complaint, it did not permit a plaintiff to replace "unknown" parties with actual parties.

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