Thursday, April 14, 2011

federal courts - sec. 1983 - statute of limitations

Hynoski v. Columbia Co. Redevelopment Authority - MD Pa. - March 11, 2011




The statute of limitations for an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 corresponds to the local statute of limitations for tort actions seeking recovery for personal injuries. See Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 276, 105 S. Ct. 1938, 85 L. Ed. 2d 254 (1985); Reitz v. County of Bucks, 125 F.3d 139, 143 (3d Cir. 1997).


Hence, Pennsylvania’s two - year statute of limitations for personal injury actions governs § 1983 claims brought in federal court in Pennsylvania. See 42 PA. CONS. STAT. § 5524; see also Sameric Corp. of Del. v. City of Phila., 142 F.3d 582, 599 (3d Cir. 1998) (“In actions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, federal courts apply the state’s statute of limitations for personal injury.”).


Federal law controls the determination as to when a § 1983 claim accrues. See Montgomery v. De Simone, 159 F.3d 120, 126 (3d Cir. 1998); Genty v. Resolution Trust Corp., 937 F.2d 899, 919 (3d Cir. 1991). Under federal law, “[a] section 1983 cause of action accrues when the plaintiff knew or should have known of the injury upon which its action is based.” Sameric, 142 F.3d at 599.


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