272 F.3d 921 (7th Cir. 2001), 00-1004, Robinson v Doe

Docket Nº:00-1004
Citation:272 F.3d 921
Party Name:Ronald Robinson, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. John Doe, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:November 26, 2001
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
 
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Page 921

272 F.3d 921 (7th Cir. 2001)

Ronald Robinson, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

John Doe, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 00-1004

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

November 26, 2001

Submitted October 9, 2001

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. No. 99 C 1073--Joe B. McDade, Chief Judge.

Page 922

Before Posner, Manion, and Rovner, Circuit Judges.

Posner, Circuit Judge.

The plaintiff sued several police officers under 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983, charging that they had used excessive force in arresting him; he was later convicted of a drug offense, partly because of evidence (crack cocaine plus cash) seized in a search that accompanied the arrest. The district court dismissed the suit as barred by the two-year statute of limitations applicable to such claims. The plaintiff had mailed his complaint to the district court within the two-year period but it had been returned to him without being filed, pursuant to Rule 16.3(A)(8) of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, because it was unaccompanied by a filing fee or, in lieu of the fee, a motion to proceed in forma pauperis, that is, without paying the fee.

The statute of limitations in a suit based on federal law, as this one is, stops running when the complaint is filed, e.g., Henderson v. United States, 517 U.S. 654, 657 n. 2 (1996); Williams- Guice v. Chicago Board of Education, 45 F.3d 161, 162 (7th Cir. 1995); Gilardi v. Schroeder, 833 F.2d 1226, 1233 (7th Cir. 1987); Martin v. Demma, 831 F.2d 69, 71 (5th Cir. 1987), though it may resume running later. Williams-Guice v. Chicago Board of Education, supra, 45 F.3d at 164-65; Elmore v. Henderson, 227 F.3d 1009, 1011 (7th Cir. 2000). The complaint is "filed" for purposes of this rule when the court clerk receives the complaint, not when it is formally filed in compliance with all applicable

Page 923

rules involving filing fees and the like, Martin v. Demma, supra, 831 F.2d at 71; for a "clerk shall not refuse to accept for filing any paper presented for that purpose solely because it is not presented in proper form as required by these rules or any local rules." Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(e) (emphasis added). And so the Central District's Rule 16.3(A)(8) could not compress the time within which the plaintiff, once he filed his complaint-- albeit not in proper form, because unaccompanied by the...

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