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Randall v. City of Philadelphia Law Department

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

March 20, 2019

JAMES RANDALL, Appellant
v.
CITY OF PHILADELPHIA LAW DEPARTMENT; JOHN MOUZON, Philadelphia Police Officer Badge #5293; LEON MCKNIGHT, Philadelphia Police Officer Badge #6630

          Submitted Under Third Circuit L.A.R. 34.1(a) on January 25, 2019

          On Petition from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (D.C. No: 2:18-cv-01541) District Judge: Honorable Wendy Beetlestone

          Michael I. McDermott, Esq. Counsel for Appellant

          Jennifer MacNaughton, Esq. Andrew Pomager, Esq. City of Philadelphia Law Department Counsel for Appellees

          Before: SMITH, Chief Judge, and CHAGARES and BIBAS, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          BIBAS, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         When a defendant commits a continuing violation of the law, the limitations period starts running from the defendant's last act, not from when the effects of that violation end. Here, the defendants arrested and prosecuted James Randall in Philadelphia for drug and weapons crimes. As a result of that prosecution, New Jersey and Delaware County, Pennsylvania, lodged detainers against Randall for violating his probation. So he remained in those jurisdictions' custody until December 2015. But the defendants' last act was in August 2015, when they dropped the charges and sent Randall to New Jersey.

         So the clock started to run on Randall's Section 1983 malicious-prosecution claim in August 2015. And that clock ran out in August 2017. But Randall filed this suit in December 2017-four months too late. So we will affirm the District Court's dismissal of this suit as untimely.

         I. Background

         In December 2013, Philadelphia police found drugs, a gun, and money in an apartment that they thought was Randall's. So the police arrested Randall, and the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office charged him with drug and weapons crimes. But it dropped all the charges on August 24, 2015.

         This was not the end of Randall's time in custody. When he was arrested in Philadelphia, he was already on probation in both New Jersey and Delaware County, Pennsylvania. And when they heard about his arrest, both those jurisdictions issued detainers for him. So after dropping the charges, Pennsylvania released Randall into New Jersey's custody. He remained in custody, first in New Jersey and then in Delaware County, until December 24, 2015.

         On December 26, 2017, Randall sued the Philadelphia Law Department and the Philadelphia police officers who had arrested him. His amended complaint alleged several Section 1983 claims and Pennsylvania tort claims. The defendants moved to dismiss based on the statute of limitations. The District Court granted the motion, dismissing Randall's claims with prejudice as time-barred.

         Randall appeals only the dismissal of his Section 1983 malicious-prosecution claim. We review that dismissal de novo. Conrad v. Pa. State Police, 902 F.3d 178, 182 (3d Cir. 2018).

         II. Randall's ...


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