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Widi v. McNeil

United States District Court, D. Maine

August 16, 2016

DAVID J. WIDI, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
PAUL MCNEIL, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS’ CLARK AND LYON’S MOTION FOR FINAL JUDGMENT

          JOHN A. WOODCOCK, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Finding no genuine dispute of material fact as to the legality of a search of David Widi’s home in November 2005, the Court granted summary judgment on Count XIII to Probation Officers Denis Clark and Michael Lyon. Probation Officers Clark and Lyon now move for entry of final judgment pursuant to Rule 54(b). The summary judgment order has the requisite finality as to the movants, but Count XIII remains pending as to a third Defendant: Detective Kevin Curran. Given (1) the substantial overlap between the pending claims against Detective Curran and the dismissed claims against Probation Officers Clark and Lyon and (2) the movants’ failure to convince the Court of their exigent need for final judgment, the Court denies the request to enter final judgment as to Defendants Clark and Lyon on Count XIII.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On September 24, 2013, the Court dismissed without prejudice Defendants Denis Clark and Michael Lyon’s (the Defendants’) first motion for summary judgment based on the limitations period for actions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Order Denying Mot. for Summ. J. by Defs. Clark and Lyon (ECF No. 169). On April 21, 2014, the Court granted the Defendants’ second motion for summary judgment. Order Granting Mot. for Summ. J. by Defs. Clark and Lyon (ECF No. 236) (Summ. J. Order). On May 12, 2014, David Widi filed a motion for reconsideration of the Court’s order granting summary judgment to the Defendants. Mot. for Recons. of Order Granting Summ. J. to Defs. Clark and Lyon (ECF No. 242). On July 25, 2014, and August 14, 2014, Mr. Widi filed a supplemental motion for reconsideration and a second supplemental motion for reconsideration, respectively. Suppl. Mot. for Recons. under Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e) and 60(b) with Accompanying Req. for Disc. Order (ECF No. 246); Second Suppl. Mot. for Recons. under Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e) and 60(b) (ECF No. 248). The Court denied all three motions on October 7, 2014. Order Denying Pl.’s Mots. for Recons. (ECF No. 257) (Recons. Order).

         On December 9, 2015, Defendants Clark and Lyon moved for entry of final judgment. Mot. for Entry of Final J. (ECF No. 326) (Defs.’ Mot.). Mr. Widi filed a response on December 21, 2015, Obj. to Mot. for Entry of Final J. (ECF No. 332) (Pl.’s Resp.), and the Defendants filed a reply on December 30, 2015. Reply to Opp’n to Mot. for Entry of Final J. (ECF No. 333) (Defs.’ Reply).

         II. THE PARTIES’ POSITIONS

         A. The Defendants’ Motion

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), the Defendants move for entry of final judgment as to the claims against them. Defs.’ Mot. at 1 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b)). According to the Defendants, “the court must carefully compare the dismissed and unadjudicated claims for indications of substantial legal or factual overlap to ensure that an appellate court is not confronted with successive appeals with common issues of law and fact.” Id. (citing Kersey v. Dennison Mfg. Co., 3 F.3d 482, 487 (1st Cir. 1993)). While Mr. Widi brought claims related to his arrest and the search and seizure of his property in November 2008, the Defendants explain that Mr. Widi’s claims against Probation Officers Clark and Lyon related to an allegedly illegal entry into his apartment in November 2005-i.e., “three years before his arrest and subsequent prosecution in 2008” and “completely unrelated to the 2008 arrest and prosecution from which all of his other claims arise.” Id. at 2 (emphasis in original). Accordingly, the Defendants argue there is “no danger that the results of an adjudication of the remaining claims without the involvement of Clark and Lyon would possibly present an appellate court with successive appeals having common issues of law and fact” as the claim against them is “temporally, factually, and legally distinct . . . .” Id.

         B. David J. Widi, Jr.’s Response

         Mr. Widi objects on the ground that although the Court granted summary judgment with regard to Probation Officers Clark and Lyon, “the claim relating to them remains pending against Defendant Curr[a]n and, therefore, is an issue of successive appeals with common issues of law and fact.” Pl.’s Resp. at 1. Although the Court has rejected Mr. Widi’s contention that the Probation Officers required reasonable suspicion to enter his home in November 2005, “Mr. Widi has the opportunity to argue against Defendant Curr[a]n that the Consent to Random Drug or Alcohol Testing and to Searches Based on Reasonable Suspicion was the controlling condition” and “this Court may conclude on second-thought that the claim against Defendant[s] Clark and Lyon should be restored under Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b) at that time.” Id. at 2.

         C. The Defendants’ Reply

         The Defendants emphasize that the Court has already determined as a matter of law, and confirmed its ruling upon reconsideration, that the Probation Officers’ entry into Mr. Widi’s home in November 2005 was lawful under the operative probation conditions. Defs.’ Reply at 1. Thus, they conclude, “[i]t appears unlikely that the court might decide to restore the claims against Clark and Lyon if and when it hears from defendant Curran on this issue.” Id.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. ...


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