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Mutty v. Department of Corrections

Supreme Court of Maine

January 12, 2017

DANIEL E. MUTTY
v.
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

          Submitted On Briefs: October 13, 2016

          Daniel E. Mutty, appellant pro se

         The Department of Corrections did not file a brief

          Panel: ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HUMPHREY, JJ.

          PER CURIAM.

         [¶1] This appeal concerns whether a petition to review a disciplinary decision by the Department of Corrections was timely filed and whether the court properly dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction.

         [¶2] Daniel E. Mutty appeals from a judgment of the Superior Court (Kennebec County, Marden, J.) dismissing his Rule 80C petition for failure to state a claim and an order (Murphy, J.) denying his motion to set aside the judgment pursuant to M.R. Civ. P 60(b). We conclude that the court erred in dismissing the petition and vacate the judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         [¶3] On July 21, 2015, Daniel E. Mutty filed a petition in the Superior Court challenging a disciplinary decision by the Department of Corrections that resulted in a deprivation of good-time credit and the imposition of monetary sanctions. At the same time, Mutty moved to proceed without payment of the filing fee and service costs and submitted supporting documentation.[2]

         [¶4] On September 10, 2015, the court (Marden, J.) issued a written order that stated:

Petitioner fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted. The court cannot determine its jurisdiction in the absence of its determination of the date of the final agency action. This matter will be dismissed unless the petition is amended within 15 days of receipt of this order.

         Muttys petition was dismissed on October 21, 2015. The docket entry stated "Case dismissed per 9/10/15 Order."

         [¶5] In a letter dated the same day as the dismissal, the clerk informed Mutty that correspondence he had attempted to submit to the court had been rejected as an ex parte communication and would not be accepted until he complied with the applicable civil rules. According to Mutty, the clerk enclosed with the letter an amended petition that he had mailed on September 17, 2015, in an attempt to comply with the courts September 10 order.

         [¶6] On November 4, 2015, Mutty attempted to file a notice of appeal and an amended petition that alleged a final agency action date: July 20, 2015. Mutty also attempted to file a motion to reconsider. The notice of appeal and motion to reconsider were rejected on November 21, 2015, for Muttys failure to include a filing fee or an application to waive the fee. On December 2, 2015, Mutty filed a motion pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 60(b) to set aside the order dismissing his petition, together with a motion to ...


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