United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION GRANTING DEFENDANTS'
MOTION TO DISMISS [DKT. 23]
VANESSA L. BRYANT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
October 2, 1998, Plaintiff Hubert Thompson
(“Thompson” or “Plaintiff”) was
wrongfully convicted of kidnapping, sexual assault, and
attempt to commit sexual assault, and he served four years
and three months in prison for these wrongful convictions.
Thompson now sues the City of Hartford, Chief of Police for
the City of Hartford James C. Rovella, Sergeant Liam Pesce,
Officer Tuyen Bergenholtz, Officer Anthony Kozieradzki,
Officers in the Crimes Against Persons (“CAPERS”)
Unit, and Evidence Officers, for damages of $4.5 million
dollars caused by incidents related to his arrest,
prosecution, and incarceration. Thompson asserts four counts
of civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, one
count of intentional infliction of emotional distress
(“IIED”), one count of negligent infliction of
emotional distress (“NIED”), and one negligence
claim. Presently before the Court is Defendants' Motion
to Dismiss, filed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for
failure to timely file suit. For the following reasons, the
Court GRANTS the Motion to Dismiss.
evening of September 23, 1994, a 34 year old woman was
kidnapped and raped in Hartford, Connecticut. [See
Dkt. 1 (Complaint), ¶¶ 22-30]. Shortly after the
incident, the woman was taken to the emergency room and the
hospital performed an examination, which included the use of
a rape kit. [See id., ¶ 38]. The state
laboratory tested the rape kit after receiving it from the
Hartford Police Department (“HPD”) on October 13,
1994, and the results came back negative. [Id.
¶¶ 38-39]. Five months after the incident on
February 23, 2005, the woman examined eight photographs and
positively identified Thompson as the perpetrator.
[Id. ¶ 34]. Thompson was charged in state court
and pleaded not guilty to one count of kidnapping in the
first degree, one count of sexual assault in the first
degree, and one count of attempt to commit sexual assault in
the first degree. [See Id. ¶ 20].
commenced on October 1, 1998, and lasted one day.
[Id. ¶¶ 20, 44]. The jury delivered a
guilty verdict on October 2, 1998. [Id. ¶ 44].
On November 20, 1998, Thompson was sentenced to twelve years
of incarceration, which he did not begin to serve until
December 12, 2007, on account of his incarceration relating
to a ten year federal sentence. [Id. ¶¶
the time when the incident occurred and the start of
Thompson's sentence, substantial improvements were been
made to DNA testing. [Id. ¶ 48]. Notably, in
2006 an incarcerated individual named James Tillman was
exonerated and released from prison due to DNA testing
performed in 2005 and 2006, which excluded Tillman from being
the perpetrator. [Id. ¶¶ 53-55]. On March
10, 2008, Thompson filed an appeal to challenge his
conviction. [Id. ¶ 57]. The Connecticut Supreme
Court denied his petition for certiorari on January 19, 2010,
and Thompson subsequently filed a Petition for a Writ of
Habeas Corpus. [Id. ¶¶ 58-59].
counsel for the habeas petition, William T. Koch, visited the
HPD on January 4, 2011, and he learned the rape kit had been
stored with “old evidence” in a trailer behind
the headquarters. [See Id. ¶¶ 60-62]. Koch
filed a Petition for DNA Testing with the Superior Court in
Hartford and upon reanalysis of the rape kit, it was
determined that the DNA matched a known felon who lived near
the woman and the man had a similar build, complexion, and
facial features as Thompson. [Id. ¶ 65].
Thompson was released from prison on March 12, 2012, a new
trial was ordered, and all charges were dismissed against him
on July 19, 2012. [Id. ¶¶ 66-67].
August 3, 2012, Thompson filed a claim against the State of
Connecticut for wrongful incarceration with the Office of the
Claim Commissioner, and he received compensation in 2014
pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-102uu. [Id.
¶¶ 68, 70]. With respect to the claim before the
Office of the Claim Commissioner, the Office of Attorney
General provided notice to Thompson on January 2, 2014, that
indicated Connecticut would not contest his innocence.
[Id. ¶ 69].
Positions of the Parties
claims are against members of the City of Hartford's
Police Department. His four § 1983 are generally based
on the City of Hartford's failure to adequately identify,
maintain, and process an effective DNA testing system. The
two emotional distress claims are related to Defendants'
conduct leading to and during Plaintiff's arrest,
detention and incarceration. The negligence claim is related
to the officers' duty and failure to disclose exculpatory
move to dismiss this case in its entirety on the basis that
all claims are time-barred by the applicable statute of
limitations. Specifically, Defendants argue (1) there is a
three year statute of limitations for all 42 U.S.C. §
1983 claims for which the cause of action arose on July 19,
2012, when Defendant was exonerated, that ran on July 19,
2015; (2) there is a two year statute of limitations for both
Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress and Negligence of
Municipal Employees for which the cause of action arose on
March 12, 2012, when Defendant was released from prison, that
ran on March 12, 2014; and (3) there is a three year
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress statute of
limitations for which the cause of action arose on March 12,
2012, when Defendant was released from prison, that ran on
March 12, 2015. [See Dkt. 24 (Def. Mot. Dismiss)].
Given that the statute of limitations would have run for
Defendants' posited cause of action dates, Defendants
request that the Court dismiss the case in its entirety.
broadly argues that the Motion to Dismiss should be denied
because the dates in question are disputed, and as such the
dismissal is inappropriate at this stage. [See Dkt.
29-1 (Pl.'s Sur-Reply Brief), at 1-2]. With respect to
the § 1983 claims, Plaintiff disputes Defendants'
proffered cause of action date and instead posits that it was
January 2, 2014, when the Attorney General notified Plaintiff
that his innocence would not be contested, when the cause of
action arose. [See Dkt. 27 (Pl.'s Opp'n Mot.
Dismiss), at 5]. Alternatively, Plaintiff contends that
equitable tolling should apply to this case. [Dkt. 29-1, at