Case Caption: Jensen Alexander v. Julius C. Wilson, Basil Richards, and Shawn MorrisCase Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2019-0008Date: 08/17/2020Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: 2020 VI 13Summary: In a prisoner’s pro se complaint pleading a civil rights cause of action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, because the defendants appeared by counsel before any witness or party was sworn to give evidence in the small claims trial, under 4 V.I.C. § 112 and Rule 2 of the Virgin Islands Small Claims Rules the case was automatically transferred on that date to the Civil Division, and the Small Claims Division thereafter lacked authority to enter judgment. Whether notice, filing and service requirements under the Virgin Islands Tort Claims Act are jurisdictional or claims-processing rules which may be waived, the magistrate judge erred in questioning sua sponte whether plaintiff complied with them without providing him an opportunity to respond to that concern. Under federal § 1983, a cause of action for deprivation of rights under the Constitution or laws of the United States may be prosecuted in either federal or state court, and local law provisions which impose notice, service, or filing requirements as a prerequisite to suing a government official for a constitutional violation are preempted, since such requirements impermissibly burden the federal right created by that statute. Finally, because the statute of limitations is an affirmative defense subject to waiver if not timely asserted, the Superior Court committed error in invoking that defense sua sponte for the first time on appeal. The January 10, 2019 order of the Appellate Division is reversed, February 16, 2018 judgment of the Magistrate Division is vacated, and it is directed that the Superior Court reinstate this complaint in the Civil Division.Attachment: Open Document or Opinion