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Stile v. Cumberland County Sheriff

United States District Court, D. Maine

July 13, 2018

JAMES STILE, Plaintiff,
v.
CUMBERLAND COUNTY SHERIFF, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER ON OBJECTION TO ORDER ON MOTION TO EXTEND TIME

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

         I. BACKGROUND

         On October 14, 2014, James Stile filed a civil complaint against Cumberland County and twenty Cumberland County corrections officers pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the Defendants violated various of his constitutional rights by means including using excessive force against him while he was a pretrial detainee. Compl. (ECF No. 1). The case has inched along for over three and one-half years; progress has been incremental at best.

         The dispositive motion deadline became a moving target, and on July 18, 2016, the Magistrate Judge ordered that the dispositive motion deadline be thirty days after the Defendants completed Mr. Stile's deposition. Am. Scheduling Order at 1 (ECF No. 55); Order (ECF No. 103); Report of Telephone Conf. and Order at 4 (ECF No. 135). On August 15, 2017, the Magistrate Judge issued an order establishing September 15, 2017 as the deadline for filing dispositive motions. Order Removing Stay/Establishing Mot. Deadline (ECF No. 195). On September 19, 2017, this deadline was extended to December 1, 2017. Order (ECF No. 200).

         On October 6, 2017, the Defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings and for summary judgment. Defs.' Mot. for J. on the Pleadings and for Summ. J. (ECF No. 204). Mr. Stile's responses were initially due by October 27, 2017, but on February 15, 2018, the Magistrate Judge allowed an extension until March 23, 2018. Procedural Order at 1 (ECF No. 221). Then on March 5, 2018, Mr. Stile moved for another extension and made other motions. Mot. for Extension of Time to Resp. to Summ. J. Mot. and for Court to Issue Writ to the United States Marshals Serv./U.S. Att'y General for Transfer of Pl. to Danbury Conn. F.C.I. (ECF No. 223); On May 29, 2018, the Magistrate Judge extended his response deadline to June 15, 2018. Order Granting Pl.'s Mots. for Order Regarding Disc., to Extend Time to File Resp. to Mot. for Summ. J., and for Transfer (ECF No. 231). Mr. Stile has yet to respond to the dispositive motions now pending over nine months. As part of the Magistrate Judge's May 29, 2018 order, he addressed Mr. Stile's motion for transfer and his motion for an order regarding the production of discovery. The Magistrate Judge denied the motion for order of transfer. Id. at 3. He also denied Mr. Stile's motion for discovery, stating that he was “satisfied that the documents produced by Defendants were forwarded to Plaintiff's current facility and are available to Plaintiff.” Id. at 2.

         II. JAMES STILE'S OBJECTION

         On June 11, 2018, Mr. Stile objected to the May 29, 2018 order of the Magistrate Judge. Pl.'s Obj. to Magistrate's Order as Concerns Pl.'s Mots. for Order Regarding Disc., to Extend Time to File Resp. to Mot. for Summ. J., and for Transfer (ECF No. 235). In his motion to extend time, Mr. Stile recited a history “beginning in November of 2017” of what he claims has been “obstruction of the Plaintiff in meeting the Court deadlines in complet[]ing his responses to the summary judgment motions filed by the Defendants.” Id. At the end, Mr. Stile says that he “anticipates a need for 90 days to complete the responses to the remaining dispositive motions allowing he can get reasonable access to laptop computer to review the CD/DVD/s.” Id. at 6. Mr. Stile admits that “[w]ithout that access, it does not matter how long the Court grants in extensions, the responses will not get done.” Id. Mr. Stile stresses that he “MUST have access to the DC/DVD's as they are a necessary element to responding to the dispositive motions especially as voluminous as these are.” Id.

         Finally, Mr. Stile reiterates his continued demand that the Court order the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to transfer him to Strafford County Jail in New Hampshire where he would have “unimpeded access to a computer, LEXIS NEXIS, postage and copies and would thereby be better equipped to expeditiously finish the responses to the dispositive motions.” Id. Mr. Stile claims that this “can be done in the interests of justice.” Id.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standard

         The standard for reviewing a non-dispositive order of a Magistrate Judge is that the order must be either “clearly erroneous” or “contrary to law.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a). The Court reviews the Magistrate Judge's May 29, 2018 order based on a clearly erroneous or contrary to law standard. “A finding is ‘clearly erroneous' when although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the entire evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” United States v. United States Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948); United States v. Urban Lot St. G. 103, 819 F.3d 1, 3 (1st Cir. 2016); Bennett v. Kent Cnty. Mem. Hosp., 623 F.Supp.2d 246, 250 (D.R.I. 2009). “A finding is contrary to law if the magistrate judge has misinterpreted or misapplied applicable law.” Gunter v. Ridgewood Energy Corp., 32 F.Supp.2d 162, 164 (D.N.J. 1998).

         B. Judicial Transfer Authority

         Turning to the last issue first, Mr. Stile is simply incorrect in asserting that this Court has the authority to transfer him to Strafford County Jail in New Hampshire or the Danbury, Connecticut F.C.I. The United States Supreme Court has written that Congress has given the BOP “plenary control, subject to statutory constraints, over ‘the place of the prisoner's imprisonment.'” Tapia v. United States, 564 U.S. 319, 331 (2011) (quoting 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b)).

         Federal law permits a court to make a recommendation to the BOP, “[b]ut decisionmaking authority rests with the BOP.” Id. at 331. The applicable ...


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