Owens v. Okure

PETITIONER: Javan Owens and Daniel G. Lessard
RESPONDENT: Tom U. U. Okure
LOCATION: State University of New York Albany

DOCKET NO.: 87-56
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1988-1990)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 488 US 235 (1989)
ARGUED: Nov 01, 1988
DECIDED: Jan 10, 1989
GRANTED: Mar 21, 1988

ADVOCATES:
Kenneth Kimerling - on behalf of the Respondent
Peter H. Schiff - on behalf of the Petitioners

Facts of the case

Tom Okure was arrested for disorderly conduct, and while under arrest, was beaten by the police officers Javan Owens and Daniel Lessard. He sustained multiple injuries, including broken teeth and a sprained finger, and claimed to have suffered great mental anguish and distress as a result of the arrest and actions of the police. Twenty-two months after the incident occurred, Okure sued the two State University of New York (SUNY) police officers under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The officers moved to dismiss the case on the grounds that the statute of limitations for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution is one year under New York Civil Practice Law and Rules. The trial court denied the motion by stating that New York's general statute of limitations for personal injury actions is three years. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the denial of the motion to dismiss.

Question

Should courts uphold a state's general statute of limitations for personal injury suits under 42 U.S.C 1983 over the individual statute of limitations of intentional torts?

Media for Owens v. Okure

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 01, 1988 in Owens v. Okure

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - January 10, 1989 in Owens v. Okure

William H. Rehnquist:

Justice Marshall has two opinions of the Court to announce.

Thurgood Marshall:

In the first, Owens against Okure 8756, is on writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

In this case, we hold that thoughts entertaining claims brought under 28 USC 1983 should borrow the frestoral of general personal injuries state statute of limitations and the Court of Appeals judgment is thereby affirmed.