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16 Seton Hall L. Rev. 831 (1986)
Civil Rights - Statute of Limitations - State Limitation Period for Personal Injury Actions Applies to All Section 1983 Claims

handle is hein.journals/shlr16 and id is 847 raw text is: CIVIL RIGHTS-STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS-STATE LIMITATION
TION 1983 CLAIMS-Wilon v. Garcia, 105 S. Ct. 1938 (1985).
Few areas of the law stand in greater need of firmly defined, easily
applied rules than does the subject of periods of limitations. *
When enacting new legislation, Congress often fails to provide
for a specific statute of limitations.' Consequently, the task of deter-
mining the appropriate limitation period is relegated to the courts.2
One issue that has caused uncertainty and confusion among the
Federal circuit courts is the applicable statute of limitations for ac-
tions brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which was originally part of
the Reconstruction Civil Rights Act.3 Recently, however, the United
States Supreme Court resolved this issue in Wilson v. Garcia.4 In Wil-
son, the Court held that because section 1983 claims are best char-
acterized as personal injury actions, courts should apply the
appropriate state statute of limitations for actions of this nature.5
The Wilson litigation arose on January 28, 1982, when Gary
Garcia brought an action in the United States District Court for the
District of New Mexico against Richard Wilson, a New Mexico State
Police officer, and Martin Vigil, Wilson's superior officer.6 Garcia
claimed that on April 27, 1979, he had been unlawfully arrested,
brutally and viciously beaten, and sprayed in the face with tear gas
by Wilson.7 Garcia further alleged that Vigil had failed to supervise
* Wilson v. Garcia, 105 S. Ct. 1938, 1942 (1985) (quoting Chardon v. Fumero
Soto, 462 U.S. 650, 667 (1983) (Rehnquist, J., dissenting)).
I See id. (citing Board of Regents v. Tomanio, 446 U.S. 478, 483 (1980)).
2 See id.
3 See Act of Apr. 20, 1871, ch. 22, § 1, 17 Stat. 13, 13 (current version at 42
U.S.C. § 1983 (1982)). Section 1983 provides that
[e]very person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation,
custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia,
subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or
other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws,
shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or
other proper proceeding for redress. For the purposes of this section,
any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia
shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.
42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1982); see also infra notes 30-33 and accompanying text (discuss-
ing history of § 1983).
4 105 S. Ct. 1938 (1985).
5 Id. at 1949.
6 Id. at 1940.
7 Id. Garcia claimed that Wilson committed these acts while under the color of
state law. Id.

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