Evans v. Hebert, Docket No. 139083

CourtCourt of Appeal of Michigan (US)
Writing for the CourtWHITE
Citation513 N.W.2d 164,203 Mich.App. 392
Docket NumberDocket No. 139083
Decision Date07 February 1994
PartiesKevin EVANS, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. William Alford, a Berkley police officer, and Police Officer Champine, a Berkley police officer, Defendants, and Kevin HEBERT, an Oak Park police officer, Keith Graustin, an Oak Park police officer, P.O. Petrides, an Oak Park police officer, Sgt. Cain, an Oak Park police officer, P.O. Heath, an Oak Park police officer, Sgt. Bauer, an Oak Park police officer, P.O. Grindem, an Oak Park police officer, Lt. Rance, an Oak Park police officer, Defendants-Appellees.

Page 164

513 N.W.2d 164
203 Mich.App. 392
Kevin EVANS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
William Alford, a Berkley police officer, and Police Officer
Champine, a Berkley police officer, Defendants,
and
Kevin HEBERT, an Oak Park police officer, Keith Graustin, an
Oak Park police officer, P.O. Petrides, an Oak Park police
officer, Sgt. Cain, an Oak Park police officer, P.O. Heath,
an Oak Park police officer, Sgt. Bauer, an Oak Park police
officer, P.O. Grindem, an Oak Park police officer, Lt.
Rance, an Oak Park police officer, Defendants-Appellees.
Docket No. 139083.
Court of Appeals of Michigan.
Submitted May 12, 1993, at Detroit.
Decided Feb. 7, 1994, at 9:10 a.m.
Released for Publication April 1, 1994.

Page 165

Ernest L. Jarrett, Detroit, for plaintiff-appellant.

[203 Mich.App. 393] Gina U. Puzzuoli, Detroit, for defendants.

Before NEFF, P.J., and MARILYN J. KELLY and WHITE, JJ.

WHITE, Judge.

Plaintiff Kevin Evans appeals a circuit court order granting defendant Oak Park police officers' motion for summary disposition of plaintiff's claims of tortious conduct and violation of his constitutional rights. The trial court concluded that the action is barred by the statute of limitations, rejecting plaintiff's contention that he is entitled to the benefit of the disability provision of M.C.L. § 600.5851; M.S.A. § 27A.5851, because he was in continuous custody from the time his cause of action arose. The trial court adopted the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals interpretation of the disability provision as set forth in Jones v. Hamtramck, 905 F.2d 908 (CA 6, 1990), and held that the provision does not apply to a person held in pretrial detention. Relying on contrary precedent from other jurisdictions and the asserted policy of the provision, plaintiff seeks reversal.

Plaintiff was arrested by defendant Berkley police officers Alford and Champine on March 16, 1987. Plaintiff alleges that after the officers arrested and handcuffed him, they proceeded to beat and vilify him, causing him to attempt escape out of fear for his life. Although he was briefly successful in escaping, he was apprehended by defendant Oak Park police officers, who had been alerted to his escape. Plaintiff alleges that upon his recapture, he was subjected to a second, more severe beating, which, in tandem with the first beating, resulted in serious and permanent injuries. Following his recapture, plaintiff was booked at a Berkley police station, and then transferred to the Oakland County Jail, where he remained until he [203 Mich.App. 394] pleaded guilty of unarmed robbery. After sentencing, plaintiff was transferred to Ionia State Prison.

On December 27, 1989, plaintiff filed an action in federal court alleging claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and under Michigan common law. The complaint named as defendants the City of Berkley, the City of Berkley Police Department, and John Doe and John Roe, City of Berkley police officers. On August 9, 1990, plaintiff filed a motion to amend his complaint to identify defendants Alford and Champine, and to join the Oak Park defendants, among others. The City of Berkley opposed his motion as barred by the statute of limitations. Plaintiff argued that the statute had been tolled by his disability of imprisonment under M.C.L. § 600.5851; M.S.A. § 27A.5851. However, bound by Jones, supra, the federal district court denied plaintiff's motion to amend his complaint.

On December 12, 1990, plaintiff filed the instant action in the Oakland Circuit Court, alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery, deprivation of constitutional rights, and conspiracy to deprive

Page 166

constitutional rights. In response to defendants' motions for summary disposition, the trial court ruled on February 20, 1991, that although it was not bound by federal precedent, it was persuaded by the reasoning of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Jones, supra. In an order dated March 12, 1991, plaintiff's claims against defendant Oak Park police officers were dismissed. His claims against defendant Berkley police officers were dismissed in a separate order. Plaintiff appeals the March 12 order; he does not seek review with regard to the Berkley officers.

The statute in issue provides:

(1) [I]f the person first entitled to make an entry [203 Mich.App. 395] or bring an action is under 18 years of age, insane, or imprisoned at the time the claim accrues, the person or those claiming under the person shall have 1 year after the disability is removed through death or otherwise, to make the entry or bring the action although the period of limitations has run....

* * * * * *

(3) To be deemed a disability, the infancy, insanity, or imprisonment must exist at the time the claim accrues. If the disability comes into existence after the claim has accrued, the disability shall not be recognized under this section for the purpose of modifying the period of limitations. [M.C.L. § 600.5851; M.S.A. § 27A.5851.]

Just as state statutes of limitation apply to § 1983 personal injury claims, so too does the state's disability provision. Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 275-276, 105 S.Ct. 1938, 1946-1947, 85 L.Ed.2d 254 (1985); Hardin v. Straub, 490 U.S. 536, 543, 109 S.Ct. 1998, 2002, 104 L.Ed.2d 582 (1989); Univ. of New York Bd. of Regents v. Tomanio, 446 U.S. 478, 100 S.Ct. 1790, 64 L.Ed.2d 440 (1980). This statute thus applies to all plaintiff's claims.

In Hawkins v. Justin, 109 Mich.App. 743, 311 N.W.2d 465 (1981), this Court sustained the statute's constitutionality with regard to the disability of imprisonment, and also discussed its purpose:

Our review persuades us that the purpose of the statute in question is to recognize that persons in prison are under a disability in that their freedom has been restricted and their access to the judicial process has been impaired and to provide such persons with additional time to assert their legal rights. There is no question that the Legislature had the power to enact this statute and determine the conditions under which a right may accrue and the period in which a right may be asserted. [Id. at 747, 311 N.W.2d 465.]

[203 Mich.App. 396] The Court then observed

Defendant correctly argues that prisoners today are generally less isolated and less restricted than they were historically. Certainly, the increased right to counsel, the right to have transcripts to trial records, and the access to law libraries have rendered prisoners much less isolated and restricted. This fact alone, however, does not render the statute unconstitutional. The Legislature still could have determined rationally that prisoners are more restricted than ordinary citizens and thus in need of the special protection afforded by the statute. The Legislature reasonably could have found that, notwithstanding the ability of prisoners to obtain legal counsel and have access to the judicial process, they still have restraints imposed by their confinement which places them at a disadvantage compared to ordinary citizens. [Id. at 747-748, 311 N.W.2d 465.]

The Court then held that "the statute should be applied generally to all prisoners" rather than case by case, even where the plaintiff brought suit while still in prison. Id. at 749, 311 N.W.2d 465. Finally, the Court said:

We are persuaded that the language of the statute provides for a disability in favor of all who are incarcerated when a cause of action accrues and does not require a showing of a special disability. [Id.]

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5 practice notes
  • Bush v. Shabahang, Docket No. 136617.
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • July 29, 2009
    ...statutory language may reflect an attempt to clarify the meaning of a provision rather than change it. Id.; see also Evans v. Hebert, 203 Mich. App. 392, 403, 513 N.W.2d 164 26. The Boodt Court opined that because no tolling was afforded in the presence of a defect pursuant to § 5856(d), th......
  • Mino v. McCarthy, Docket No. 145508
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • March 7, 1995
    ...should give statutory language a reasonable construction that best accomplishes the purpose of the statute. Id. In Evans v. Hebert, 203 Mich.App. 392, 513 N.W.2d 164 (1994), this Court thoroughly reviewed the law regarding the statutory provision at issue in this case and determined that pr......
  • Fante v. Stepek, Docket No. 177880
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • October 8, 1996
    ...by the time plaintiff discovered his claim, he was in prison and under statutory disability. In Evans [219 Mich.App. 327] v. Hebert, 203 Mich.App. 392, 395, 513 N.W.2d 164 (1994), this Court noted that the purpose of the disability statute is to recognize that prisoners' freedom and access ......
  • Michigan Residential Care Ass'n v. Department of Social Services, Docket No. 151579
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • November 7, 1994
    ...be read into a statute that is not within the manifest intention of the Legislature as gathered from the act itself." Evans v. Hebert, 203 Mich.App. 392, 404, 513 N.W.2d 164 (1994). This Court is precluded from reading into the AFCFLA something not otherwise clearly therein. See Jefferson S......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • Bush v. Shabahang, Docket No. 136617.
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • July 29, 2009
    ...statutory language may reflect an attempt to clarify the meaning of a provision rather than change it. Id.; see also Evans v. Hebert, 203 Mich. App. 392, 403, 513 N.W.2d 164 26. The Boodt Court opined that because no tolling was afforded in the presence of a defect pursuant to § 5856(d), th......
  • Mino v. McCarthy, Docket No. 145508
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • March 7, 1995
    ...should give statutory language a reasonable construction that best accomplishes the purpose of the statute. Id. In Evans v. Hebert, 203 Mich.App. 392, 513 N.W.2d 164 (1994), this Court thoroughly reviewed the law regarding the statutory provision at issue in this case and determined that pr......
  • Fante v. Stepek, Docket No. 177880
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • October 8, 1996
    ...by the time plaintiff discovered his claim, he was in prison and under statutory disability. In Evans [219 Mich.App. 327] v. Hebert, 203 Mich.App. 392, 395, 513 N.W.2d 164 (1994), this Court noted that the purpose of the disability statute is to recognize that prisoners' freedom and access ......
  • Ettinger v. City of Lansing, Docket No. 163866
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • February 13, 1996
    ...statutory language may reflect an attempt to clarify the meaning of a provision rather than change it. Id.; see also Evans v. Hebert, 203 Mich.App. 392, 403, 513 N.W.2d 164 (1994). Here, applying the rule that a modifier relates only to the last antecedent, Rios, supra, we find that both th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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