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Goodwin v. Clark

United States District Court, D. Maine

August 29, 2014

ROBERT GOODWIN, Plaintiff,
v.
BILL CLARK, et al., Defendants.

ORDER ADOPTING THE AMENDED RECOMMENDED DECISION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

JOHN A. WOODCOCK, Jr., Chief District Judge.

Robert Goodwin, an inmate at the Maine State Prison serving a nine year sentence for heroin trafficking, filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that three law enforcement officials violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution when they required him to pass contraband into a metal trash can in the secure holding area of the Hancock County Jail. The Magistrate Judge considered the merits of Mr. Goodwin's claims and recommended that summary judgment issue in favor of all Defendants. The Court, after de novo review of the Recommended Decision and Mr. Goodwin's objection, adopts the Recommended Decision.

The Court separately addresses the somewhat tangled procedural state of this case and the merits of Mr. Goodwin's objection to the Recommended Decision. The Court also grants the motion by Defendants Troy Bires and Patrick Larson to strike Mr. Goodwin's own late-filed motion for summary judgment against them, and sua sponte, strikes Mr. Goodwin's separate, late-filed motion for summary judgment against Defendant Bill Clark.

I. LEGAL STANDARD

The Court reviews de novo "those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The Court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." Id.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND[1]

On November 25, 2010, Thanksgiving Day, Mr. Goodwin acquired between 16 and 18 grams of heroin in Bangor, Maine, and later placed the drugs in his rectum before being stopped by police. Am. Recommended Decision on Mots. for Summ. J. and Order on "Mot. Challenging Qualifications" at 2 (ECF No. 51) ( Rec. Dec. ). During the stop of a motor vehicle in which Mr. Goodwin was travelling, a drugdetection canine reportedly detected drugs on Mr. Goodwin. Id. With this information, law enforcement officers obtained a warrant for a hospital x-ray. Id. Troy Bires, an agent with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency (MDEA), transported Mr. Goodwin to the hospital. Id.

The x-ray revealed that Mr. Goodwin had drugs in his body. Id. Agent Bires accompanied Mr. Goodwin to the Hancock County Jail, where Mr. Goodwin remained until he passed the drugs with the assistance of laxatives. Id. At the jail, Mr. Goodwin was placed in a secure holding cell, which consisted of a small room with a glass door and two sets of windows. Id. at 2-3. Agent Bires, Corey Bagley, and Shawn Wardwell, all MDEA personnel, watched Mr. Goodwin, who remained fully clothed while he was in the cell. Id. at 3. When Mr. Goodwin indicated that he was ready to pass the contraband, Agent Bires retrieved a metal trash can lined with a plastic bag, which he provided to Mr. Goodwin in the booking area cell. Id. Agent Bires also provided Mr. Goodwin with a blanket to cover himself while passing the contraband. Id. Mr. Goodwin then lowered his pants, sat on the trash can, and passed the heroin. Id. Because he had his head down, Mr. Goodwin does not know whether anyone observed him. Id.

Defendant William Clark is the Sheriff of Hancock County. Id. Sheriff Clark did not have any on-site involvement, by participation, direction, or direct supervision, in the events that occurred on November 25, 2010. Id. In fact, Sheriff Clark was not at the jail on November 25, 2010. Id.

Defendant Patrick Larson is an Assistant Attorney General who prosecutes drug offenses. Id. Attorney Larson was not present at the jail when Mr. Goodwin was there and had no supervisory authority over anyone present. Id. In addition, Attorney Larson was not in charge of the agents who arrested Mr. Goodwin. Id.

Mr. Goodwin is serving a nine-year sentence for heroin and aggravated trafficking at the Maine State Prison. Id. Although the Hancock County Jail maintains a prison grievance policy that includes final review by the Maine Department of Corrections, Mr. Goodwin did not file a grievance. Id.

III. PROCEDURAL POSTURE

Mr. Goodwin filed a civil complaint in this Court on June 20, 2013. Compl. (ECF No. 1). Sheriff Clark answered on August 15, 2013, Def. William Clark's Answer and Affirmative Defenses (ECF No. 14), and Agent Bires and Attorney Larson answered on September 4, 2013. Answer of Defs. Troy Bires and Patrick Larson (ECF No. 17). The following day, the Magistrate Judge issued a scheduling order. Scheduling Order (ECF No. 18) (Sept. 5, 2013). This Order set a deadline of February 6, 2014 to complete discovery and February 27, 2014 to file all dispositive motions. Id. at 2. On February 5, 2014, the Magistrate Judge extended the discovery deadline to March 6, 2014 and the dispositive motion deadline to March 27, 2014. Report of Tel. Conference and Order (ECF No. 38).

On March 27, 2014, all three Defendants filed motions for summary judgment. Def. Clark's Mot. for Summ. J. (ECF No. 39); Mot. for Summ. J. by Defs. Troy Bires and Patrick Larson (ECF No. 42). Each Defendant also filed a statement of material facts, in compliance with District of Maine Local Rule 56(b). Def. Clark's Statement of Material Facts (ECF No. 40); Statement of Material Facts by Defs. Troy Bires and Patrick Larson (ECF No. 43).

Mr. Goodwin did not move for a further extension of the pretrial deadlines. However, on the day of the deadline for dispositive motions, Mr. Goodwin filed a document, dated March 24, 2014, entitled Challenges to Lack of Qualifications of Supporting Memoranda (the Warrant) (ECF No. 44). On April 21, 2014, he filed a document entitled Dispositive Motion Challenging Lack of Qualification (ECF No. 47) ( Qualification Challenge ). On April 23, 2014, Agent Bires and Attorney Larson filed an opposition brief to the Qualification Challenge. Resp. to Pl.'s "Dispositive Mot. Challenging Lack of Qualification" by Defs. Troy Bires and Patrick Larson (ECF No. 48).

On May 14, 2014, the Magistrate Judge issued a recommended decision on the motions for summary judgment, Recommended Decision on Mots. for Summ. J. and Order on "Mot. Challenging Qualifications" (ECF No. 49), which he amended the next day.[2] Rec. Dec. Mr. Goodwin filed an objection to the Recommended Decision on May 23, 2014. Mot. to Object (ECF No. 52) ( Objection ). Also on May 23, 2014, he filed two documents purporting to be motions for summary judgment, along with two statements of material facts. Pl. Goodwin's Mot. for Summ. J. (ECF No. 53) ( First Goodwin Mot. ); Pl. Goodwin's Statement of Material Facts (ECF No. 54); Pl. Goodwin's Mot. for Summ. J. (ECF No. 55) ( Second Goodwin Mot. ); Pl. Goodwin's Statement of Material Facts (ECF No. 56).

Agent Bires and Attorney Larson filed a response to Mr. Goodwin's objection on June 4, 2014, Resp. to Pl.'s "Mot. to Object" to Report and Rec. Dec. by Defs. Troy Bires and Patrick Larson (ECF No. 58), and Sheriff Clark filed his response on June 6, 2014. Def. Clark's Resp. to Pl.'s Objection to Rec. Dec. (ECF No. 59). Shortly thereafter, Agent Bires and Attorney Larson also moved to strike the Second Goodwin Motion.[3] Mot. to Strike Pl.'s Late Mot. for Summ. J. by Defs. Troy Bires and Patrick Larson (ECF No. 60) ( Mot. to Strike ) (June 9, 2014). On June 12, 2014, Mr. Goodwin filed a reply to Agent Bires and Attorney Larson's response to his objection ...


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