The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana and Latham & Watkins LLP (“Latham”), on behalf of Anthony Monroe, recently filed an appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Mr. Monroe, an unarmed Black man, was unlawfully beaten by Louisiana State police officers during a traffic stop on his way home from work early in the morning after a “graveyard” shift.
Like in Brown v. Pouncy, the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana dismissed Mr. Monroe’s Section 1983 action against Defendants Terry Conner, Richard Matthews, Lamar Davis, and Chavez Cammon as time-barred under Louisiana’s one-year residual statute of limitations. On appeal, Mr. Monroe argues that the District Court erred in applying this one-year limitations period to his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim.
Before the Fifth Circuit, the ACLU of Louisiana and Latham argued that the application of Louisiana’s one-year limitations period—tied with only two other states for shortest in the nation—impermissibly contravenes Section 1983’s federal interests by (1) discriminating against federal Section 1983 plaintiffs, (2) intentionally closing the door on police brutality claims, and (3) failing to consider the practicalities of federal civil rights litigation. As a result, Louisiana’s restrictively short one-year limitations period should not apply to Mr. Monroe’s civil rights claims.
Under the Supreme Court’s decision in Burnett v. Grattan, courts are instructed to only adopt a state’s statute of limitations if it is consistent with Section 1983’s federal interests. Thus, the ACLU of Louisiana and Latham next argued that, because Louisiana’s one-year limitations period fails the instruction set forth in Burnett, Louisiana’s two-year limitations period for crimes of violence under La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 3493 is more suitable for Mr. Monroe’s civil rights claims. In the alternative, the ACLU of Louisiana and Latham argued that the four-year limitations period set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1658 is another suitable period for Mr. Monroe’s civil rights claims.
Mr. Monroe is represented by Nora Ahmed at the ACLU of Louisiana and the Latham team of Jason Ohta, Eric Rivas, Emily Orman, Helen Klein, Adam Herrera, and Blake Stafford.
The Defendant—Appellees in the case are:
Louisiana State Police Officer, Terry Conner
Louisiana State Police Officer, Richard Matthews
Louisiana State Police Superintendent, Lamar Davis
Louisiana State Police Custodian of Records, Chavez Cammon