United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Amarillo Division
ORDER OVERRULING OBJECTIONS, ADOPTING REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION, and GRANTING AMENDED RULE 12(b)(6) MOTION TO
LOU ROBINSON, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
JOHNIE RAY THOMAS has initiated a proceeding pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his Constitutional
rights "at the hands of the Defendants." Plaintiff
has sued defendants TERRY EASTERLING, LADONNA REINING, and
DEBBIE GAINES, employees of the Community Supervision and
Corrections Department for Potter, Randall and Armstrong
Counties, in their individual capacities only. In his First
Amended Complaint, plaintiff asserts these defendants
"created, formulated, and/or implemented supervisory and
accounting practices" which resulted in:
1. Plaintiff being denied Equal Protection under the
Fourteenth Amendment, i. e., that defendants
"disparately treated defendants who owed
restitution" and that plaintiff "was treated
differently than defendants who did not owe
2. Plaintiff being denied Procedural Due Process under the
Fourteenth Amendment, i.e., that defendants
"violated [plaintiffs] Procedural Due Process rights by
creating artificial payment deficiencies and invalid legal
burdens, " that defendant's payment policies were
"procedurally unfair, " and that such policies
ultimately resulted in the revocation of plaintiff s
probation and loss of freedom.
3. Plaintiff being denied Substantive Due Process under the
Fourteenth Amendment, i.e., that defendants'
policies directly caused the revocation of plaintiffs
probations, convictions, and sentences in his two state
4. Plaintiff was subjected to an unreasonable seizure under
the Fourth Amendment, i.e., that defendants'
policies "wrongfully caused [plaintiff] to have his
Supervision revoked, " resulting in the seizure of
plaintiff s person.
further alleges defendants EASTERLING and REINING, "as
policymakers for Potter County, Texas and as
"supervisory officials, " 5. Failed to properly
supervise their staff and employees and allowed them to
implement harmful accounting and supervisory policies.
6. Failed to properly train their staff and employees
"to refrain from using supervisory or accounting
practices which created harmful legal burdens for criminal
defendants on Community supervision, including
[plaintiff]." On August 28, 2017, defendants EASTERLING,
REINING and GAINES filed an Amended Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to
Dismiss seeking to dismiss all claims against them as time
barred. Defendants specifically argued that as plaintiff did
not file suit within the two-year limitation period after his
claims accrued, the complaint did not plead a cause of action
upon which relief could be granted. On September 29, 2017,
the United States Magistrate Judge entered a Report and
Recommendation to grant the motion to dismiss. On October 12,
2017, petitioner filed objections to the recommendation.
undersigned United States District Judge has reviewed the
Report and Recommendation of the United States Magistrate
Judge, as well as plaintiffs objections, and has made an
independent examination of the record in this case. The
undersigned District Judge is of the opinion the Magistrate
Judge's recommendation should be, and hereby is, ADOPTED
with the following clarifications:
claims against these particular defendants are set out in
full above. Plaintiffs claims against these
defendants do not challenge the validity of his probation
revocation and underlying conviction in Cause No. 15, 556-C,
nor do his claims allege false arrest or false imprisonment.
Instead, petitioner's claims, construed liberally,
challenge the development, adoption, imposition, and
application of various policies of the Community Supervision
and Corrections Department by its employees, as well as the
failure to properly train or supervise other employees with
regard to these policies.
Court finds plaintiffs cause of action accrued when plaintiff
had reason to know of his injury, i.e., when
plaintiff knew or should have known through the exercise of
due diligence, that the money he was paying in Cause No. 15,
556-C was being misapplied to create artificial deficiencies
in that case, and had a complete and present cause of action,
that is, when plaintiff could have filed suit and obtained
relief. That the full scope of his injury was not known at
that time does not alter the date his cause of action
accrued. Cf. Smith v. Campbell, 782 F.3d 93, 100-02
(2nd Cir. 2015) (construing Wallace v.
Kato, 549 U.S. 384 (2007)).
plaintiffs cause of action accrued, at the latest, on May 3,
2011, when the State moved to proceed to adjudication in
Cause No. 15, 556-C for failure to pay various fees in that
case. Plaintiff was aware of the effects of the alleged
unconstitutional policies as of that date and should have
asserted his claims in a proceeding within two years of May
Heck v. Humphrey 512 U.S. 477 (1994) did not delay
accrual of plaintiff s claims until his conviction was set
aside on March 16, 2016. "Heck only comes into
play potentially to delay accrual of an action when a
resolution of that action in a plaintiffs favor could not be
reconciled with an extant criminal conviction" and
"does not delay the accrual of 'an action which
would impugn an anticipated future conviction.'"
Smith, 781 F.3d at 100-02. Any claims timely
asserted against these defendants could not have undermined a
conviction not yet in existence. Moreover, Heck did
not toll the statute of limitation in this case because
plaintiffs conviction did not occur until after the accrual
of the section 1983 action.
Wallace v. Kato to this case, plaintiffs claims
accrued when he had reason to know of his injury,
specifically, when he became aware or should have become
aware that payments he was making in Cause No. 15, 556-C were
being applied toward restitution in Cause No. 13, 408-C,
creating a delinquency in Cause No. 15, 556-C. As plaintiff
did not timely file suit, his claims against defendants
EASTERLING, REINING and GAINES are now time-barred. The
Amended Rule 12(b)(6) ...