The Plaintiff in Shalabi v. City of Fontana alleged the city’s police officers shot and killed his father in violation of 42 U.S.C. 1983. Civil actions brought under Section 1983 are subject to the forum states statute of limitations. In California, the statute of limitations period is 2 years for wrongful death relating to a wrongful act or neglect. However, the limitation period is tolled for minors, until they reach the age of majority. (Code Civ. Proc., §352(a).)
In this case, Shalabi was a minor when his father was killed. His 18th birthday was on December 3, 2011. His lawsuit was filed on December 3, 2013. The Defendants and
The trial court determined that Shalabi had filed the lawsuit one day too late.
The Court of Appeal reversed and found that the statute of limitations period accrued one day after Shalabi’s 18th birthday, and that December 3, 2013 was the last possible day to file the lawsuit.
The California Supreme Court granted review. (Shalabi v. Fontana (2021) 11 Cal.5th 482.). The question presented was whether the plaintiff’s 18th birthday–the day after the tolling period ended–should be included or excluded in calculating the plaintiff’s final date to file suit.
The Supreme Court held that Code of Civil Procedure Section 12 applied to this situation, and that the first day Shalabi reached the age of majority was excluded from the calculation period. Section 12 states: “[t]he time in which any act provided by law is to be done is computed by excluding the first day, and including the last, unless the last day is a holiday, and then it is also excluded.” (Ibid)