United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
A. Gibney, Jr. United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on Ronita Holman's pro se
motion to proceed in forma pauperis. In proceedings
in forma pauperis, "the court shall dismiss the
case at any time if the court determines that ... the action
. . . fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); see
Eriline Co. S.A. v. Johnson, 440 F.3d 648, 656
(4th Cir. 2006). In evaluating whether the plaintiff states a
claim, the court looks for "a short and plain statement
of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). When the plaintiff
appears pro se, although courts should liberally
construe the complaint, Gordon v. Leeke, 51A F.2d
1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978), "[p]rinciples requiring
generous construction of pro se complaints are not . . .
without limits." Beaudett v. City of Hampton,
775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985). Courts need not attempt
"to discern the unexpressed intent of the
plaintiff." Laber v. Harvey, 438 F.3d
404, 413 n.3 (4th Cir. 2006). The Fourth Circuit has stated,
"though [pro se] litigants cannot ... be expected to
frame legal issues with the clarity and precision ideally
evident in the work of those trained in law, neither can
district courts be required to conjure up and decide issues
never fairly presented to them." Beaudett, 775
F.2d at 1276. In other words, "[district judges are not
mind readers." Id. at 1278.
complaint, Holman alleges injuries related to her altercation
with the Richmond City Police on April 27, 2002, and her
subsequent altercation with Richmond City Police and Richmond
Animal Control on April 29, 2002. The altercations allegedly
resulted in physical harm to Holman, and the confiscation of
her three dogs.
filing contains multiple documents titled
"Complaint." Based on the liberal construction
standard for pro se plaintiffs, the Court looks at the entire
filing. One of the documents titled "Complaint"
alleges that the "defendants failed to perform their
duties in the proper manner as set forth by law."
(Compl. 2.) Another document titled
"Complaint" alleges two counts: (1) negligence and
(2) misconduct. (Compl. 7.) Additionally, based on the facts
in the filing, the Court could also construe claims under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 for (1) excessive force by the Richmond
City Police and (2) improper deprivation of property in
violation of her due process rights by the Richmond Animal
of limitations set the deadline for the filing of lawsuits.
Long, Long & Kellerman, P.C. v.
Wheeler, 570 S.E.2d 822, 825 (2002) ("[S]tatute
of limitations prescribes a period of time in which the
person with a cause of actions must file pleadings.").
The statute of limitations begins tolling on the date of the
injury. See Va. Code § 8.01-230. In Virginia,
the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two
years. Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-243. Regarding Holman's
possible § 1983 claims, the Court applies the
state's two-year statute of limitations for personal
injuries. See Hoskin v. Brown, No.
1:14cv759, 2015 WL 5247595, at *3 (E.D. Va. Sept. 8, 2015) (a
§ 1983 procedural due process claim); Shelton
v. Angelone, 148 F.Supp.2d 670, 677 (W.D.Va
2001) (a § 1983 excessive force claim where the Court
holds that "the court must apply the two year limitation
period set forth in § 8.01-243(A) to all § 1983
actions arising in Virginia."). Thus, the applicable
statute of limitations for any of Holman:s
possible claims is two years.
facts alleged in Holman's filing occurred in April
2002. Because she did not file her in forma
pauperis motion and complaint with this Court until June
28, 2016, Holman failed to file her claims within the statute
of limitations period. Thus, her claims are time-barred.
these reasons, even when affording Holman the liberal
construction required for pro se plaintiffs, she fails to
state a claim upon which the Court could grant relief.
Additionally, allowing Holman the opportunity to amend her
complaint would not cure the timeliness defect. Accordingly,
the Court DISMISSESS the complaint WITH PREJUDICE.
Court will enter an appropriate order.
Clerk send a copy of this Opinion to the pro se plaintiff via
For clarity, the Court uses the page
numbers assigned by the CM/ECF system.
Holman's filing also notes events
occurring in 2003 and 2006. Although unclear as to how these
events relate to the claims from the 2002 altercations, the