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Stile v. Somerset County

United States District Court, D. Maine

February 17, 2015

JAMES STILE, Plaintiff,
v.
SOMERSET COUNTY, et al. Defendant.

ORDER AFFIRMING THE RECOMMENDED DECISION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

JOHN A. WOODCOCK, Jr., District Judge.

In performing a de novo review of the Magistrate Judge's recommended decision in this case, the Court clarifies that documents outside a complaint generally may not be considered in ruling on a motion to dismiss, that the parties must give the Magistrate Judge all relevant information before the recommended decision is issued, and that Local Rule 72.1 disallows reply memoranda without prior permission of the Court. Turning to the merits, assuming the truth of the allegations in the amended complaint and drawing reasonable inferences from those allegations, the Court overrules the Jail Administrator's objections and affirms the Magistrate Judge's Recommended Decision to deny the Defendant's motion to dismiss the supervisory liability claim in the Plaintiff's Amended Complaint Final.

I. BACKGROUND

On July 1, 2013, James Stile, acting pro se, filed suit against Somerset County, Maine, David Allen, the Somerset County Jail Administrator, and a host of Somerset County Corrections Officers. Compl. (ECF No. 1). On August 14, 2014, Mr. Stile filed what he called an Amended Complaint Final. Am Compl. Final (ECF No. 92). In that Amended Complaint Final, Mr. Stile pursued his lawsuit against Mr. Allen under two theories: (1) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, he claimed that the Defendants violated a number of his constitutional rights; and (2) pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), he claimed that the Defendants discriminated against him due to his disability. Id. at 24-25.

On September 22, 2014, Defendant David Allen moved to dismiss Mr. Stile's Amended Complaint Final.[1] Def. David Allen's Mot. to Dismiss (ECF No. 105). Mr. Stile responded on October 10, 2014. Pl.'s Resp. to Def. David Allen's Mot. to Dismiss (ECF No. 117). Mr. Allen replied on October 24, 2014. Def. David Allen's Reply Mem. of Law in Support of Mot. to Dismiss (ECF No. 119). On December 30, 2014, the Magistrate Judge issued a recommended decision in which he recommended that Mr. Allen's motion to dismiss be granted in part and denied in part. Recommended Decision on Mot. to Dismiss at 6-7 (ECF No. 127). Specifically, the Magistrate Judge recommended that Mr. Allen's motion to dismiss the supervisory liability count under 18 U.S.C. § 1983 be denied and that his motion to dismiss the ADA claim be granted. Id.

On January 16, 2015, Mr. Allen objected to the portion of the recommended decision in which the Court recommended that the § 1983 claim not be dismissed. Def. David Allen's Partial Objection to Recommended Decision on Mot. to Dismiss (ECF No. 149) ( Allen Objection ). Mr. Stile responded to Mr. Allen's objection on January 29, 2015, urging the Court to affirm the recommended decision. Objection to Def.[']s Objection to Magistrate[']s Recommended Decision to Def. David Allen's Mot. for Dismissal (ECF No. 153) ( Stile Resp. ). On February 2, 2015, Mr. Allen replied to Mr. Stile's response to his objection to the recommended decision. Def. David Allen's Resp. to Pl.'s Objection to Recommended Decision on Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss (ECF No. 158) ( Allen Reply ).

II. JAMES STILE'S OBJECTION

When Mr. Stile filed his response to Mr. Allen's objection, he requested that the Court "allow for the Plaintiff to enter into evidence, video documentation and documentary paper evidence that supports the Plaintiff's position that Defendant Allen had more than a casual relation to the assaults upon the Plaintiff and that there was much more than, conduct that amounted to condonation or tacit authorization, ' of which was a minimum requisite." Stile Resp. at 2 (emphasis in original). Mr. Stile attached to his response three exhibits: (1) Answers to Interrogatories, (2) a document dated January 14th, 2012 and Bate-stamped 1064, and (3) a portion of a document titled, "Somerset County Jail Policy and Procedure 8.7. Use of Force" and Bate-stamped 687-88. Id. Attachs. A-C. He claims the right to present these additional documents to the Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). Id. at 1. He is wrong.

The Court may not consider these documents. See Recommended Decision at 4 n.2. The motion to dismiss challenges the legal sufficiency of the allegations in a complaint and a court must determine "whether, construing the well-pleaded facts of the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff[], the complaint states a claim for which relief can be granted." Ocasio-Hernández v. Fortuño-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 7 (1st Cir. 2011). The law allows the Court to consider a limited set of documents in ruling on a motion to dismiss, including documents attached to the complaint or any other documents "integral to or explicitly relied upon in the complaint, even though not attached to the complaint." Trans-Spec Trust Serv., Inc. v. Caterpillar Inc., 524 F.3d 315, 321 (1st Cir. 2008) (quoting Shaw v. Digital Equip. Corp., 82 F.3d 1194, 1220 (1st Cir. 1996)). It is questionable whether the documents Mr. Stile attached to his response to Mr. Allen's objection fit within this narrow exception. See Recommended Decision at 4 n.2.

Even if the Court could consider the Jail's use of force policy, there is another reason it may not do so at this stage. Mr. Stile did not attach them to his original response to the motion to dismiss. See Pl.'s Resp. to Def. David Allen's Mot. to Dismiss (ECF No. 117). Accordingly, as Mr. Stile did not present them to the Magistrate Judge, he did not give the Magistrate Judge an opportunity to consider them. See Recommended Decision at 4 n.2 ("The location of the policy on the record... is not readily apparent"). Instead, Mr. Stile waited for the Magistrate Judge to issue his recommended decision and he is now attempting to present to this Court what he did not present to the Magistrate Judge. This he may not do. "Parties must take before the magistrate, not only their best shot' but all of their shots." Borden v. Sec'y of Health and Human Servs., 836 F.2d 4, 6 (1st Cir. 1987) (per curiam) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); Flanders v. Mass. Resistance, 1:12-cv-00262-JAW, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71517, at *6 (D. Me. May 21, 2013).

III. DAVID ALLEN'S REPLY

On February 2, 2015, Mr. Allen filed a reply to Mr. Stile's response to his objection to the recommended decision. Allen Reply at 1-4. This Mr. Allen may not do except by prior order of the court. Objections to recommended decisions are controlled by Local Rule 72.1. D. ME. LOC. R. 72.1. Local Rule 72.1 allows a party objecting to a recommended decision to file an objection within 14 days after being served with a copy of the decision, and it allows the responding party to file a response within 14 days after being served with an objection. Id. It allows a reply to the response only by prior order of the court: "Except by prior order of the court, no reply memorandum shall be filed." Id. Mr. Allen did not move for an order allowing him to file a reply and therefore the Court has not considered his reply under Local Rule 71.2.

IV. THE MERITS

A. David Allen's ...


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