Monday, April 15, 2024

Continuing Violations Doctrine Does Not Save Civil Rights Claim From Statute of Limitations Defense Under Facts Presented

In the case of Sharr v. City of Scranton, No. 3:23-CV-00826-JFS (M.D. Pa. March 13, 2024 Saporito, C.M.J.), Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph F. Saporito, Jr. granted a Motion to Dismiss in a civil rights action brought by three (3) retirees against their former employer, The City of Scranton, relative to issues surrounding their monthly pension benefit payments that were reduced by The City.

The Plaintiffs had presented a claim that The City had violated their Fourteenth Amendment Due Process and Equal Protection Rights and had presented a 42 U.S.C. §1983 civil rights action.

The Defendant, City of Scranton, moved to dismiss the action for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted under an argument that the Plaintiffs’ claims were barred by the applicable statute of limitations.

The Plaintiffs attempted to argue that the time within which they could file a lawsuit was extended by the continuing violations doctrine. 

The Plaintiff contended that each reduced monthly pension benefit payment paid by The City constituted another in a series of allegedly continuing unlawful acts, all of which, when taking together, comprised an ongoing continuing practice of allegedly violating the Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.
Chief Mag. Judge 
Joseph F. Saporito, Jr.
M.D. Pa.

The court reviewed the law of the continuing violation doctrine and found that the Plaintiffs’ arguments did not meet the requirements of that doctrine. 

 The court found that the Plaintiffs’ claims were instead barred by the statute of limitations because the Plaintiffs were aware of their alleged injury at the time the alleged injury occurred well beyond the two (2) state of limitations applicable to civil rights actions.

As such, the court granted the Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss. Moreover, the court dismissed the action without leave to amend as the court found that it was clear from the facts alleged that any attempt to file an Amended Complaint would be futile as a matter of law.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

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