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Hooker v. United States Marshals Service

United States District Court, D. Maine

March 12, 2015

Samuel Hooker
v.
United States Marshals Service et al.[1]

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

ANDREA K. JOHNSTONE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Samuel Hooker brings this action, pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), against individually named employees of the United States Marshals Service for the District of Maine ("USMS"). Before the court for a report and recommendation as to disposition is the defendants' motion for summary judgment (doc. no. 68) filed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and 56(b).[2] Hooker objects (doc. no. 77).

Also before the court is Hooker's motion for default judgment (doc. no. 72), to which defendants object (doc. no. 74); Hooker's motion for entry of default (doc. no. 73); and the defendants' objection thereto (doc. no. 75). For the reasons that follow, the court recommends that the defendants' motion for summary judgment be granted and the plaintiff's motions for default be denied.

Discussion

I. Summary Judgment Motion

A. Standard

"Summary judgment is appropriate only if there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Flood v. Bank of Am. Corp., No. 14-1068, ___ F.3d ___, 2015 U.S.App. LEXIS 3090, *10 (1st Cir. Feb. 27, 2015) (citing Fed. R. Civ. 56(a)). "A genuine dispute is one that a reasonable fact-finder could resolve in favor of either party and a material fact is one that could affect the outcome of the case." Id. "In deciding whether there is a genuine dispute about a material fact, we view the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, drawing all reasonable inferences in that party's favor.'" Id. (quoting Martinez-Burgos v. Guayama Corp., 656 F.3d 7, 11 (1st Cir. 2011)).

"The object of summary judgment is to pierce the boilerplate of the pleadings and assay the parties' proof in order to determine whether trial is actually required.'" Tobin v. Fed. Express Corp., 775 F.3d 448, 450 (1st Cir. 2014) (citation omitted). "[A] judge's function' at summary judgment is not to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Tolan v. Cotton, 134 S.Ct. 1861, 1866 (2014) (citation omitted).

"The nonmovant may defeat a summary judgment motion by demonstrating, through submissions of evidentiary quality, that a trialworthy issue persists.'" Rockwood v. SKF USA Inc., 687 F.3d 1, 9 (1st Cir. 2012) (quoting Iverson v. City of Boston, 452 F.3d 94, 98 (1st Cir. 2006)). "However, a conglomeration of conclusory allegations, improbable inferences, and unsupported speculation is insufficient to discharge the nonmovant's burden.'" Rockwood, 687 F.3d at 9 (quoting DePoutot v. Raffaelly, 424 F.3d 112, 117 (1st Cir. 2005)).

B. Local Rule 56 Compliance

Pursuant to Rules 56(b) and (f) of the Local Rules for the United States District Court for the District of Maine ("LR"), the moving party must support a motion for summary judgment with a statement of material facts that is supported by a record citation. The nonmovant "must then submit a responsive separate, short, and concise' statement of material facts in which it must admit, deny or qualify the facts by reference to each numbered paragraph of the moving party's statement of material facts[.]'" Bernier v. Unicco Serv. Co., No. 04-280-P-C, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21778, *3 (D. Me. Apr. 19, 2006) (quoting LR 56(c)), report and recommendation accepted in relevant part by 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34385, *3 (D. Me. May 26, 2006). "Facts contained in a supporting or opposing statement of material facts, if supported by record citations as required by this rule, shall be deemed admitted unless properly controverted.'" Bernier, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21778, at *4 (quoting LR 56(e)); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2).

Here, defendants accompanied their summary judgment motion (doc. no. 68) with a statement of material fact (doc. no. 69), supported by six affidavits and other documentary exhibits, filed pursuant to LR 56(b). Hooker filed an objection to the motion (doc no. 77) and provided the court with his own affidavit (doc. no. 78). Although Hooker did not file an opposing statement of material facts as required under LR 56(c), the court construes Hooker's affidavit liberally as an opposing statement of material fact. Defendants have also filed a Reply Statement of Material Facts (doc. no. 84), accompanied by three affidavits, and a declaration of Edith Woodward (doc. no. 85). Hooker filed an unsworn Response to Defendants' Reply Statement of Material Facts (doc. no. 88), which does not comply with the requirements of LR 56(c).

The court deems all properly supported statements of fact provided by defendants in support of the motion for summary judgment (doc. nos. 69, 84 and 85) to be admitted by Hooker, except to the extent they are disputed by the facts set forth in Hooker's affidavit (doc. no. 78). See LR 56(b), (c), and (f). The following facts relevant to the court's consideration of the motion for summary judgment ...


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