United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C.
Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge
Eloise Bennett has filed a pro se and in forma
pauperis complaint alleging misconduct by defendants in
2008 and 2009. Because the complaint does not allege any
misconduct within the statute of limitations for any federal
constitutional claim, I will dismiss the complaint.
June 29, 2018, Bennett filed this complaint against
defendants Johnathan Williams, who is Bennett's former
landlord, and Ellen Nurse, who is a Hartford constable.
According to the complaint, Bennett entered into a lease
purchase agreement with Williams in July 2008 for a property
on Vine Street in Hartford, Connecticut. Doc. #1 at 2.
Williams allegedly breached the agreement and began to harass
and threaten Bennett in various ways before ultimately
evicting her for not paying rent. Ibid. On the
morning of the eviction in January 2009, Williams, Nurse, and
an unidentified person who claimed to be a police officer
allegedly entered Bennett's home without her permission
and began to remove her belongings. Ibid. Bennett
alleges that the defendants intentionally damaged and
destroyed her property during this process. Ibid.
first count of the complaint alleges a violation of
Bennett's constitutional right to fair treatment and
equal protection under the law. Doc. #1 at 3. The second
count of the complaint alleges fraud and misrepresentation.
Ibid. Bennett seeks $2.2 million in damages.
Id. at 4.
Court has authority to review and dismiss an in forma
pauperis complaint that fails to state a claim for which
relief may be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). As
the Second Circuit has made clear, a dismissal pursuant to
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) may be appropriate not only if a
complaint manifestly fails to state a valid claim for relief
but also if the complaint indisputably alleges a cause of
action that is time-barred by the statute of limitations.
See Pino v. Ryan, 49 F.3d 51, 53-54 (2d Cir. 1995).
plaintiff's federal constitutional claims, assuming that
she has alleged the requisite state action of one or more
local law enforcement officers to allow for a cause of action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, such a claim for relief is
subject to a three-year statute of limitations. See,
e.g., Lounsbury v. Jeffries, 25 F.3d 131, 133
(2d. Cir. 1994). The complaint was filed in June 2018, but it
does not allege any misconduct that occurred more recently
than January 2009. Nor does the complaint allege any facts to
suggest a continuing violation or extraordinary circumstances
since 2009 to warrant the tolling of the limitations period.
See, e.g., Pino, 49 F.3d at 54 (noting that
“a dismissal under section 1915(d) based on the statute
of limitations is especially appropriate where, as in this
case, the injuries complained of occurred more than five
years before the filing of the complaint-well outside the
applicable three-year limitations period, there are no
applicable tolling provisions as a matter of law, and
plaintiff has alleged no facts indicating a continuous or
ongoing violation of his constitutional rights”).
Accordingly, it is clear from the face of the complaint that
Bennett's constitutional claims under § 1983 are
barred by the statute of limitations.
construed, the complaint also alleges state law claims for
fraud, misrepresentation, breach of contract, harassment, and
injury to property. Because these causes of action arise
under state law, the Court may exercise jurisdiction over
them only if Bennett were a citizen of a different state from
Williams and Nurse. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332
(federal diversity jurisdiction statute). The complaint,
however, alleges that all parties have addresses in
Connecticut, and there appears to be no basis to conclude
that any of the parties are citizens of any state other than
Connecticut. Accordingly, the Court has no independent
subject matter jurisdiction over Bennett's state law
claims and otherwise declines to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over these claims. See 28 U.S.C. §
1367(c)(3); see, e.g., Lundy v. Catholic Health Sys. of
Long Island Inc., 711 F.3d 106, 117-18 (2d Cir. 2013).
the reasons set forth above, the complaint is DISMISSED
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) on the grounds
that plaintiff's federal constitutional claims pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 are barred by the statute of
limitations and that the Court otherwise declines to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff's remaining
state law claims.
Clerk of Court shall close this case. If plaintiff has
grounds to allege a cause of action over which this Court has
jurisdiction and that is not barred by the statute of
limitations, then plaintiff may file a ...