CHANCE MARCUS CLYCE, and on behalf of all those similarly situated; DONNA JILL CLYCE, and on behalf of those similarly situated; MARK CLYCE, and on behalf of all those similarly situated, Plaintiffs - Appellants
NADINE BUTLER, individually and in her official capacity; LESLY JACOBS, Investigator for TJJD, individually and in his official capacity; KEVIN DUBOSE, individually and in his official capacity; CONRAD JONES, individually and in his official capacity; UNKNOWN STAFF AT THE HUNT COUNTY JUVENILE DETENTION CENTER, in their official and individual capacities; TEXAS JUVENILE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT, in their official and individual capacities, formerly known as Texas Juvenile Probation Commission Texas Youth Department; UNKNOWN STAFF AT THE TEXAS JUVENILE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT, in their official and individual capacities; FREDERICK FARLEY, Investigator and Supervisor for Hunt County Juvenile Detention Center, individually and in his official capacity; KENNETH WRIGHT, individually and in his official capacity; SHANIGIA WILLIAMS, individually and in her official capacity; HUNT COUNTY JUVENILE DETENTION CENTER; DAVID REILLY, Interim Executive Director; UNKNOWN TEXAS JUVENILE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT DIRECTOR, individually and in his official capacity; ANY OTHER UNKNOWN JUVENILE DETENTION EMPLOYEES, in their official and individual capacities, Defendants - Appellees
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Texas
BARKSDALE, DENNIS, and CLEMENT, Circuit Judges.
Clyce appeals the district court's dismissal of his
claims as barred by Texas's statute of limitations. The
district court held that when a minor's parents bring a
lawsuit on his behalf as next friends, the statute of
limitations for those claims is not tolled during his period
of minority if they were aggressively litigated through the
prior lawsuit. Because we hold that the district court
improperly created this exception to Texas's tolling
provision to its statute of limitations, we reverse the
district court's dismissal and remand for further
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
2008, when he was thirteen years old, Chance suffered serious
and sustained injuries while detained at Hunt County Juvenile
Detention Center. Though some of the details are disputed,
the parties agree that when Chance was released from the
Detention Center only sixteen days after he arrived, he had
lost several pounds, sustained bruises and a fractured arm,
and contracted a life-threating methicillin-resistant
staphylococcus aureus ("MRSA") infection. Due to
this severe infection, Chance required multiple extensive
surgeries on his joints and heart. He asserts that he
continues to suffer chronic pain and will require future
2009, Chance's parents filed suit both individually and
as his next friends against multiple defendants affiliated
with the Detention Center, bringing claims under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and the Texas Torts Claims Act. The district
court dismissed claims against two of the defendants without
prejudice for improper service and granted summary judgment
in favor of the remaining defendants. Chance's parents
appealed to this court, and we affirmed. Clyce v. Hunt
Cty., 515 Fed.Appx. 319, 321 (5th Cir. 2013).
24, 2014, Chance, then nineteen years old, filed the instant
claims pro se against multiple defendants from the Detention
Center and the Texas Juvenile Justice
Department. Of these defendants, only one of them,
Shanigia Williams, was also named as a defendant in 2009,
when the claims against her were dismissed without prejudice
for lack of service.
second lawsuit, Chance brought some of the same claims his
parents brought in the first lawsuit, as well as a number of
additional claims. He asserted that the defendants subjected
him to inhumane conditions, denied him required medical
treatment, participated in a civil conspiracy by failing to
report systematic abuse at the detention center, violated his
due process and equal protection rights, and discriminated
against him based on his diagnosed mental illness in
violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the
filed multiple motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), asserting, inter alia, expiration of the
statute of limitations period and res judicata. Chance
obtained legal counsel and filed a brief opposing all pending
motions to dismiss. He argued in relevant part that the
claims were timely because they were brought within two years
of his reaching the age of majority, and that they were not
barred by res judicata because none of the defendants, other
than Ms. Williams, was named in the 2009 lawsuit. The
district court subsequently dismissed all of Chance's
claims as untimely, declining to address whether res judicata
barred any or all of his claims. Chance timely appeals
dismissal of his claims against three individual defendants:
Frederick Farley, Kenneth Wright, and Shanigia Williams.
review a district court's dismissal of claims under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) de novo. Taylor
v. City of Shreveport, 798 F.3d 276, 279 (5th Cir.
2015). Civil rights claims brought under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 are governed by the forum state's statute of
limitations for tort claims. See Helton v. Clements,
832 F.2d 332, 334 (5th Cir. 1987). In Texas, the statute of
limitations is two years, but this period is tolled for a
person under age eighteen so that "the time of [legal]
disability is not included in a limitations period."
Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §§ 16.001 &
16.003. Together, these two sections require someone to file
suit for personal injuries suffered as a minor before he
reaches age twenty. Weiner v. Wasson, 900 S.W.2d
316, 321 (Tex. 1995).
district court held that there is an exception to this
"tolling provision" when a next friend, represented
by counsel, aggressively prosecutes a minor's claims on
his behalf. Accordingly, the court held, the prior proceeding
that Chance's parents brought in 2009 remedied
Chance's legal disability and forfeited the protection of
the tolling provision.
law, however, does not support this judge-made exception. The
Texas code itself gives no indication that a next-friend
lawsuit affects the tolling provision. See Tex. Civ.
Prac. & Rem. Code §§ 16.001 & 16.003;
Tex.R.Civ.P. 44. Similarly, though case law demonstrates that
a next friend can bring suit on behalf of a minor and make
litigation decisions that bind him, it does not establish
that such a suit waives the protection of the tolling
provision. Indeed, there is no support for ...