United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
LEVY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
2016, Mark Pantermoller was arrested by Town of Fairfield
Police Officer Casey Dugas and Police Sergeant Matthew Wilcox
after he refused to comply with their orders to leave the
office of the Town Manager Michelle Flewelling, located in
the Town Hall. He brings this civil action challenging the
legality of his arrest against the Town of Fairfield, Town
Manager Flewelling, Officer Dugas, Sergeant Wilcox, and Chief
of Police Thomas Gould (collectively, “the
Town”). See ECF No. 3-3 at 1.
Complaint dated May 23, 2017, (ECF No. 3-3) asserts sixteen
separate constitutional and tort claims. Since the filing of
the Complaint, Pantermoller has voluntarily dismissed two
counts, see ECF Nos. 30, 31, and the Town has moved
for summary judgment on the fourteen remaining counts (ECF
No. 35). Pantermoller has not opposed the Town's motion.
summary judgment record establishes the following undisputed
material facts: Flewelling first met Pantermoller in December
2015, shortly after she became the Town Manager. Pantermoller
came to her office to discuss his belief that the Town of
Fairfield was involved in a series of Facebook pages that
featured nude or revealing photos of unsuspecting women and
girls, each titled “Purge of Maine.” See
ECF No. 36-1 at ¶ 6. Flewelling assured him that she had
no knowledge of the Town having any involvement with the
later, Pantermoller returned to Flewelling's office and
accused her and the Fairfield Police Department of covering
up the Town's involvement with the Purge of Maine pages.
Flewelling brought Police Chief Gould into the meeting so
that they could jointly assuage Pantermoller's concerns.
When Pantermoller became increasingly argumentative,
Flewelling told him that she was uncomfortable and would no
longer meet with him in her office.
9, 2016, Pantermoller disrupted a Town Council meeting with
similar accusations. In the midst of the meeting,
Pantermoller suddenly approached the stage where Flewelling
was seated with the council members, yelling that Flewelling
knew about the Police Department's involvement with the
“Purge of Maine” pages. See Id. at
¶ 8. After several warnings to cease the disruption, the
Fairfield police escorted Pantermoller out of the meeting.
See id., ECF No. 36-2 at ¶ 7. The next day,
Pantermoller came to the Police Station and accused Chief
Gould and other police officers of having been involved with
the “Purge of Maine” pages. See ECF No.
36-2 at ¶ 8. Chief Gould spoke with Pantermoller, but
the discussion became heated and Chief Gould asked
Pantermoller to leave the station. See id. Later
that day, Chief Gould received a call from a Town Hall
employee asking for assistance in removing Pantermoller from
the premises because he was being disruptive. See
returned to the Town Hall on June 30, 2016. See ECF
No. 36 at ¶ 11. While there, Pantermoller entered
Flewelling's office and sat down in a chair, explaining
that he needed to speak with her. See Id. at
¶¶ 12-13. Flewelling agreed to talk with
Pantermoller, but only if they spoke in the hallway rather
than in her office. See Id. at ¶ 15.
Nonetheless, Pantermoller stayed in Flewelling's office.
See Id. at ¶ 16. Another employee in the Town
Hall soon called the Fairfield Police Department, which
dispatched Officer Dugas and Sergeant Wilcox in response.
See Id. at ¶¶ 18-19. Officer Dugas - who
was wearing a body camera at the time - went to
Flewelling's office first. See Id. at
¶¶ 20-21. At that point, Flewelling was in the
hallway and Pantermoller was in her office. See Id.
at ¶ 21. Officer Dugas asked Pantermoller to leave and
Pantermoller refused. See Id. at ¶¶ 22-25.
Officer Dugas twice warned Pantermoller that if he refused to
leave, he would be arrested for criminal trespass. See
Id. at ¶¶ 26, 28. After the second warning,
Pantermoller said “arrest me, ” and Officer Dugas
placed Pantermoller under arrest. See Id. at
Dugas proceeded to handcuff Pantermoller. See Id. at
¶ 32. Sergeant Wilcox, who arrived on the scene during
Officer Dugas' and Pantermoller's interaction,
assisted Officer Dugas in escorting Pantermoller out of the
building and placing him in a police vehicle. See
Id. at ¶¶ 31, 33. Officer Dugas drove
Pantermoller to the Somerset County Jail, where he was
transferred to the custody of correction officers. See
Id. at ¶ 34.
the arrest, Wilcox briefed Chief Gould regarding
Pantermoller's arrest. See Id. at ¶¶
39, 41. Chief Gould, when asked by members of the press,
confirmed that Pantermoller was arrested for criminal
trespass, explained that Pantermoller refused to leave the
Town Hall voluntarily, and described Pantermoller's
conduct as disruptive. See Id. at ¶¶
42-44. Flewelling, Officer Dugas, and Sergeant Wilcox never
spoke with the press regarding Pantermoller's arrest.
See Id. at ¶ 45.
does not claim to have suffered any physical injury or to
have sought mental health treatment due to his arrest.
See Id. at ¶¶ 37, 62.
filed his Complaint (ECF No. 3-3) in the Skowhegan District
Court on June 6, 2017. ECF No. 1 at 1. Soon thereafter, on
June 15, the Town removed the case (ECF No. 1) to this Court.
December 2017, the parties attended a pre-filing conference
in anticipation of the Town's Motion for Summary
Judgment. See ECF No. 30. At the conference,
Pantermoller voluntarily dismissed Count V of his Complaint,
alleging violations of the Fourth Amendment of the United
States Constitution and the corresponding provision of the
Maine Constitution. See Id. at 2. He also
voluntarily dismissed the Fairfield Police Department as a
defendant. See Id. Additionally, Pantermoller agreed
to reconsider the following counts and confirm - via a
memorandum to be submitted to the Town's counsel - the
existence of a legal basis and sufficient proof to establish
a prima facie case with respect to each count: Negligence and
Abuse of Process (Count IX), Intentional Infliction of
Emotional Distress (Count X), Negligent Infliction of
Emotional Distress (Count XI), and violations of the Maine
Unfair Trade Practices Act (Count XV). See Id. at 2.
December 29, 2017, Pantermoller voluntarily dismissed Count
XV, alleging violations of the Maine Unfair Trade Practices
Act. See ECF No. 31. On January 19, 2018, the Town
filed its Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 35). Because
Pantermoller failed to timely submit a memorandum with
respect to Counts IX, X, and XI, on January 22, 2018, an
Order to Show Cause issued (ECF No. 38) which required him to
voluntarily dismiss those counts or to file a verified
response showing cause as to why they should not be
dismissed. Four days later, Pantermoller filed his
“Response to Order to Show Cause” (ECF No. 39),
which asserted, without additional explanation, that he
believed Counts IX, X, and XI were “legitimate
claims.” See ECF No. 39.
response to the Town's Motion for Summary Judgment was
due on February 2, 2018. See ECF No. 30 at 2, ECF
No. 35. To date, he has not filed a response to the Motion.
Summary Judgment Standard
motion for summary judgment is filed, the opposing party has
21 days to file a written objection, otherwise “the
opposing party shall be deemed to have waived
objection.” D. Me. LR 7(b). The First Circuit Court of
Appeals has interpreted the requirements of Rule 7(b)
“so as to preserve [its] scope and validity without
running afoul of the requirements of Rule 56 [of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure].” NEPSK, Inc. v. Town of
Houlton, 283 F.3d 1, 8 (1st Cir. 2002) (quoting
Jaroma v. Massey, 873 F.2d 17, 20 (1st Cir. 1989)
(per curiam)). Under Rule 56 courts cannot automatically
grant summary judgment, even if “no opposing
evidentiary matter is presented.” Id. at 7
(quoting Jaroma, 873 F.2d at 20). Thus, I must
determine whether summary judgment is appropriate by
discerning whether there is a genuine issue as to any
material fact. Id. at 8. In doing so, I will
“accept as true all material facts set forth by the
moving party with ...