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Benitez v. Wallace

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

June 4, 2019

RUBEN ORLANDO BENITEZ APPELLANT
v.
JOEL WALLACE APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/03/2018

          RANKIN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. STEVE S. RATCLIFF III

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: RUBEN ORLANDO BENITEZ (PRO SE)

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: DANIEL BURNHAM SMITH

          BEFORE BARNES, C.J., TINDELL AND McCARTY, JJ.

          McCARTY, J.

         ¶1. In this case, we must determine whether the one-year statute of limitations under Mississippi Code Annotated section 11-46-11(3)(a) (Rev. 2012) applies to bar a claim against a government employee. Finding the one-year limitation applicable, we affirm.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. In 2011, Ruben Orlando Benitez was arrested and charged with the murder of Stacey Wright. This Court affirmed his conviction and sentence in Benitez v. State, 139 So.3d 134, 143 (¶40) (Miss. Ct. App. 2014).

         ¶3. On June 29, 2017, Benitez sued Joel Wallace under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act (MTCA), alleging that Wallace committed several torts against him during the investigation into Wright's murder. At the time of the investigation Wallace was a detective with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.

         ¶4. Wallace was served with process on November 1, 2017, but did not file his answer and affirmative defenses until December 8, 2017. On December 4, 2017, Benitez filed a motion for default judgment. Soon after, Wallace filed a motion to dismiss and a response to the motion for default judgment.

         ¶5. The trial court granted Wallace's motion to dismiss, finding that the alleged tortious conduct occurred in 2011, and therefore the one-year statute of limitations barred Benitez's claim.

         ¶6. Benitez now appeals, asserting that the trial court erred in ...


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