When Personal Injury Rules Conflict

by David Cosgrove

Earlier this week, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the tolling provision in a state Tort Claims Act would not apply in order to save a claim from the statute of limitations for state personal injury claims. The case is DeVries v. Drisen, et al., 2014 WL 4435856 (C.A.8 (Iowa)). Therefore, because Section 1983 claims are governed by the state’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims, the federal claim against two Iowa State Patrol Officers was time barred as well. The Court of Appeals so held despite the fact that the Plaintiff had withheld on a Federal 1983 filing until he had exhausted his state administrative remedies under the State’s Torts Claims Act. In sum, it appears that, had the Plaintiff filed in Federal Curt before his pending Tort Claim had been resolved administratively, he would have filed too soon, but the alternative he choose was too late. The message here is obvious: Too soon can be fixed. Too late can not. Food for thought.