Monday, January 06, 2014

Statute of Limitations for Malicious Prosecution Does Not Begin to Run Until Improper Charges are Dropped

Myers v. Koopman, 2013 WL 6698102 (12/20/13) (Col.) (Published) - A partial statute of limitations win for a ยง 1983 plaintiff. The 10th says the plaintiff's allegations "paint a compelling picture of overzealous police work": a detective falsified an affidavit to get a search warrant for the plaintiff's property; officers found a jar containing a white substance; field tests incorrectly identified the substance as meth; the police hailed the seizure as a "lot of dope"; the media portrayed the plaintiff as a meth manufacturer; the detective fabricated facts to get a warrant to arrest the plaintiff; the plaintiff surrendered pursuant to a deal to immediately post bond and be released; the detective told another officer to detain the plaintiff because he was going to file more charges; the plaintiff was held over the weekend; ultimately further testing revealed the white substance wasn't a controlled substance; the charges were dropped. The statute of limitations did not start to run for the 4th Amendment malicious prosecution claim until the charges were dropped. Such a claim arises after the institution of legal process and does not accrue until criminal proceedings have terminated. On the other hand, the due process claim of false arrest fails because there was an adequate post-deprivation state remedy.