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Is Judge R. David Proctor Trying to Unlawfully Force Us to Re-file a Civil-rights Complaint That Would Be Outside the Statute of Limitations and Easy to Dismiss?

Posted on the 14 November 2016 by Rogershuler @RogerShuler

Is Judge R. David Proctor trying to unlawfully force us to re-file a civil-rights complaint that would be outside the statute of limitations and easy to dismiss?

R. David Proctor

What is U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor trying to accomplish by denying service by the court, which is required by law for indigent parties such as Carol and me, in a civil-rights lawsuit we've brought over my unlawful incarceration in Shelby County, Alabama? Experience has taught us that it is hard to think along with a corrupt mind. But legal research allows us to make an educated guess about Proctor's motives.
Proctor likely is trying to force us to re-file our case so that it now can be dismissed as untimely, outside the statute of limitations. That will allow him to protect certain defendants (fellow U.S. Judge William H. "Bill" Pryor, GOP operative Rob Riley, etc.) from discovery and a possible trial on the merits, which is likely to yield all sorts of ugly truths about GOP elites in Alabama.
How does this work? Proctor dismissed our case "without prejudice," meaning it can be re-filed (on the same issues) as a new case. Some might say, "Well, just re-file it and get on with things." But it's not that easy. Our original complaint clearly was filed within the two-year statute of limitations -- on March 26, 2016, exactly two years after my release from jail. Proctor has no way, under the law, to sweep that case under the rug as "untimely."
But he stepped in to cut off service by the court, even though he already had taken action to show the claims were not frivolous and required us to pay a $200 partial filing fee. Once Proctor had taken those actions, he no longer had authority over the case, until the court had issued summonses, conducted service on our behalf, and allowed defendants to file answers.
Proctor stepped in and exercised his authority anyway, acting as if the law governing such situations does not exist. What is the law when you re-file a case that has been dismissed without prejudice? It's not easy to provide an answer to that one because the law is less than straightforward, tossing out a number of "ifs, ands, and buts."
A case styled Stein v. Reynolds Securities Inc. 667 F. 2d 33 (11th Cir., 1982), however, suggests a re-filed complaint in our case would be outside the statute of limitations. From Stein:
Stein contends that the period of limitations was tolled by the filing of his initial suit in 1976, despite the fact that the district court subsequently dismissed this action for failure to prosecute. We disagree. The fact that dismissal of an earlier suit was without prejudice does not authorize a subsequent suit brought outside of the otherwise binding period of limitations.

The finding in Stein strongly suggests that Proctor is acting unlawfully to force us to re-file a complaint that will be outside the limitations period. To be sure, some fairly complicated case law suggests a re-filed complaint might be timely in our case. This leads to some fairly arcane legal questions, such as: (1) Would our re-filed complaint "relate back" to the original filing? (2) Would the limitations period in our case be "equitably tolled"?
A sufficient answer to these two questions would make this post unwieldy and much too long. The simple answer is this: Judge Proctor has created  a hoop, out of thin air, that we should not have to jump through. And this hoop enhances the likelihood that our case will be dismissed as untimely.
We think this explains Proctor's actions, and it provides insight into how the mind of a compromised judge works to deny justice for regular folks.
Previously in this series:


Proctor acts way outside his authority in wrongful-incarceration case (Nov. 7, 2016)
Proctor creates bogus legal terms in civil-rights case (Nov. 1, 2016)
Proctor abuses "pauperis" law (Oct. 31, 2016)
Proctor tramples law that governs treatment of indigent litigants (Oct. 27, 2016)
Fighting back in federal court against unlawful incarceration and wrongful foreclosure (Oct. 25, 2016)

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