Cretacci v. Call, No. 20-5669 (6th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Cretacci, a Coffee County Jail detainee, claims he was injured during a 2015 inmate protest, that the jail failed to distribute essential supplies after that protest, and that he was injured again in 2017 when he did not comply with an order to get on the ground. Cretacci's attorney, Justice, intended to file his 42 U.S.C. 1983 complaint electronically. On the evening before the limitations period expired on Cretacci’s claims stemming from the 2015 incident, Justice realized he was not admitted to practice law in the district encompassing the jail. The next day, Justice drove to the Winchester courthouse. That courthouse does not have a staffed clerk’s office; documents cannot be filed there. Justice took the complaint to Cretacci at the jail and told him to deliver it to an officer immediately because he could take advantage of the prison mailbox rule, which assesses the timeliness of inmate filings on the day they are handed to jail authorities. Cretacci did so.
The Sixth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of the defendants, finding that two claims were barred by the statute of limitations and that there were no constitutional violations underlying the remaining claims. The prison mailbox rule does not apply to prisoners who are represented by counsel; that rule is premised on the relaxed procedural requirements traditionally afforded to pro se prisoners who have no choice but to rely on the prison authorities to file their pleadings.