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Myers v. Wood County

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division

July 25, 2019

Craig R. Myers, Plaintiff,
v.
Wood County, Defendant.

          ORDER

          JAMES G. CARR JUDGE

         This is a civil rights case. Pro se plaintiff Craig Myers, a state prisoner, raises constitutional claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state-law tort claims against defendant Wood County, Ohio.[1]

         Myers alleges that the County violated his constitutional rights in connection with two criminal cases in the Wood County Court of Common Pleas, where he was convicted. He also asserts state claims for malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress.[2]

         Background

         In May 2013, a Wood County, Ohio, jury found Myers guilty of abduction and felonious assault. (Doc. 1 at 5.) The trial court sentenced him to three years' imprisonment for the abduction charge and eight years' imprisonment for the felonious assault charge, with the sentences to run concurrently. (Id.) In February 2015, a Wood County jury found Myers guilty of retaliation against one of his trial attorneys in the abduction and assault case. (Id.)

         Myers unsuccessfully appealed both judgments in state courts. He then challenged the judgments in this Court through petitions for writ of habeas corpus, which also were denied. (See No. 3:16 CV 659, Doc. 56; No. 3:17 CV 1008, Doc. 46.)

         Now Myers has filed this civil rights complaint, asserting that prosecutors and the trial court violated his constitutional rights in seeking and obtaining the convictions against him. He alleges that Wood County: (1) violated his due process rights by failing to disclose the assault victim's medical records, which he claims would have been exculpatory; (2) violated his due process rights by failing to meet Ohio's statutory requirements for retaliation; and (3) violated his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of appellate counsel by appointing trial counsel to represent him in his direct appeal. (Doc. 1.) He also raises state claims against the County for malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED).

         Standard of Review

         Pro se pleadings are held to “less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers” and must be liberally construed. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (per curiam). Nevertheless, district courts are required to screen all in forma pauperis actions and dismiss before service any action the court determines is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); see also Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010).

         To state a claim, a complaint must set forth “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Hill, supra, 630 F.3d at 471 (applying the dismissal standard articulated in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), and Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), to dismissals for failure to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)). The “allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . . .” Twombly, supra, 550 U.S. at 555. And they must be sufficient to give defendants “fair notice of what [the plaintiff's] claims are and the grounds upon which they rest.” Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 514 (2002).

         Discussion

         I. The § 1983 Claims A. Myers's § 1983 Claims Are Untimely

         There is a two-year statute of limitations on claims raised under § 1983. See Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 275-276 (1985) (holding that federal courts must apply the state statute of limitations for personal injury actions to § 1983 claims); Browning v. Pendleton, 869 F.2d 989, 991 (6th Cir. 1989) (Ohio's two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims applies to § 1983 actions). Myers filed his complaint outside of the limitations period and, therefore, his § 1983 claims are untimely.

         The state-court judgments that Myers challenges here occurred in May 2013 and February 2015. His first and second appeals concluded in August, 2014 and January, 2016, respectively. Yet Myers did not file this complaint until December 27, 2018, after ...


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