United States District Court, D. Maryland
Frederick Motz, United States District Judge
is a Motion to Dismiss, filed by Detective Gregory
Alton ECF16. Plaintiff has responded. ECF 24.
Upon review of the papers filed, the court finds a hearing in
this matter unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.
Md. 2016). For the reasons stated below, the dispositive
motion will be GRANTED.
case was instituted upon receipt of a civil rights complaint
filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by plaintiff Terry
Wayne Siford, Jr., who was then confined in the Franklin
County Jail in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. ECF 1. Plaintiff
indicates that on February 9, 2014, he was pulled over in a
traffic stop by Pennsylvania State Troopers. Id., p.
3. Plaintiff maintains that the Pennsylvania police relied
upon a police bulletin entitled "Night Stalker
Burglaries" issued by defendant Detective Gregory Alton
of the Washington County, Maryland Sheriffs Department.
Id. The bulletin listed plaintiff as a possible
suspect in regional nighttime residential burglaries. ECF
21-1. The bulletin indicated that plaintiff sold coins that
were similar to coins stolen in a Virginia burglary and he
had prior arrests for similar burglaries. It identified the
type of car operated by plaintiff. Id. The bulletin
indicated it was for informational purposes only and did not
constitute probable cause to stop or detain plaintiff.
Id. Plaintiff maintains that he was illegally seized
and searched by the Pennsylvania State Police and arrested
based upon the information in the bulletin. ECF 1, p. 3. As a
result of his arrest, plaintiff was ultimately convicted of
burglary. ECF 16-1.
states that the production of the bulletin by Detective Alton
constituted defamation and libel as it was "without the
proper probable cause, nor reasonable suspicion required
under the Fourth Amendment.. This conduct was reckless
indifference to the rights of the plaintiff, and is
malicious, wanton, reckless, willfill [sic] and
oppressive"" ECF 1, p. 4. Plaintiff further alleges
that Alton committed civil conspiracy by producing the
bulletin and forwarding it to the Pennsylvania State Police
who performed an illegal search, seizure, and arrest based
upon the bulletin. Id., p. 4. As a result of the
bulletin, plaintiff states that he was falsely arrested,
denied due process, and falsely imprisoned. Id., p.
5. He also alleges he was deprived of equal protection of the
laws. Id., p. 6.
acknowledges that the statute of limitations for his state
law claims of defamation and libel have expired but argues
that the limitations period should be waived. Id.,
p. 5. Plaintiff claims that although he did not become aware
of the bulletin until July 10, 205,, during a suppression
hearing held in the Court of Common Pleas at the Franklin
County courthouse. Id., pp. 4-5. The
instant complaint is dated January 14, 2016. Id., p.
purpose of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6) is to test the sufficiency of the plaintiffs
complain.. See Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178
F.3d 231, 243 (4th Cir. 1999). The dismissal for failure to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted does not
require defendant to establish "beyond doubt" that
plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim
which would entitle him to relief. See Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly 550 U.S. 544, 561 (2007). Once a claim
has been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing
any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the
complain.. Id. at 563. The court need not however,
accept unsupported legal allegations, see Revene v.
Charles County Comm'rs 882 F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir.
1989), legal conclusions couched as factual allegations,
see Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986), or
conclusory factual allegations devoid of any reference to
actual events, see United Black Firefighters v.
Hirst, 604 F.2d 844, 847 (4th Cir. 1979).
Statute of Limitations
argues that plaintiffs complaint is time barred. ECF 16.
Section 1983 provides a federal cause of action, but in
several respects relevant here, federal law looks to the law
of the State in which the cause of action arose. Because the
alleged defamation allegedly resulted in a false arrest and
false imprisonment,, 1 will assume that Maryland's three
year statute of limitations applies. See MD. Cts
& Jud. Pro. Code § 5-101.
question of when a cause of action has accrued under
§1983 is a federal question. See Nassim v. Md. House
o/Correction, 64 F.3d 951, 955 (4th Cir. 1995)(en bane).
The date of accrual occurs "when the plaintiff possess
sufficient facts about the harm done to him that reasonable
inquiry will reveal his cause of action." Id.
Here the bulletin was issued on December 12, 2013. ECF 21-1.
Plaintiff was pulled over on February 9, 2014. ECF 1,
p. 3. Plaintiff indicates
he learned of the bulletin on July 10, 2015. The complain,,
dated January 14, 2016, was received for filing on February
1, 206.. ECF 1. As such, plaintiffs civil rights complaint is
Civil Rights Complaitt
order to recover damages for an allegedly unconstitutional
conviction or imprisonment or for other harm whose
unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, a
§ 1983 plaintiff must demonstrate that the conviction or
sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by
executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal
authorized to make such a determination, or called into
question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. S 2254."
Heck,512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994); se ...