United States District Court, D. Maine
David J. Widi, Jr.
Paul McNeil, et al.
A. DiClerico, Jr. United States District Judge.
J. Widi, Jr., proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis,
brought civil rights claims against federal and state
defendants, most of whom have been dismissed from the
case.The remaining defendants, Kevin Curran,
Kevin Cady, Robert Brown, Elliott Moya, and Theodore Short,
who are or were officers in the Town of Eliot, Maine, Police
Department, move for sanctions against Widi for failing to
comply with the court's discovery orders. Widi did not file
a response to the motions.
motions for sanctions, the defendants describe in detail
Widi's failure to provide discovery and to abide by the
court's discovery orders in this case. See doc.
nos. 578, 579, & 580. The court has addressed the issues
in a series of orders. See doc. nos. 540, 543, 553,
560, 569, 573, & 574. The court held a sixth telephone
conference with Widi and the defendants on August 3, 2018, to
address the continuing discovery issues. The court ordered
that motions for sanctions were due by August 24, 2018, and
the response deadline was set for September 14, 2018.
defendants filed their motion for sanctions within the time
allowed. Widi did not file a response to the defendants'
motion by the deadline.
defendants ask the court to dismiss the claims against them,
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(b)(2)(A), as a
sanction against Widi for his failure to comply with his
discovery obligations and the court's orders. The
defendants also argue that the claims should be dismissed
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) because of
Widi's failure to prosecute his claims. Alternatively,
the defendants ask that the court impose other lesser
sanctions allowed under the rule and order Widi to pay the
expenses they have incurred because of his conduct.
courts' authority to dismiss an action as a sanction for
noncompliance with a discovery order is well
established.” Vallejo v. Santini-Padilla, 607
F.3d 1, 7 (1st Cir. 2010). That is because dismissal
“is an essential tool for district courts'
effective exercise of their right to establish orderly
processes and manage their own affairs.” Id.
at 8 (internal quotation marks omitted). While dismissal is a
harsh sanction and courts “should not be too quick to
resort to dismissal, . . . disobedience of court orders, in
and of itself, constitutes extreme misconduct (and thus
warrants dismissal).” Id. (internal quotation
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure “reinforce and augment
the inherent power of district courts to dismiss cases for
disregard of judicial orders.” Young v.
Gordon, 330 F.3d 76, 81 (1st Cir. 2003). Rule 41(b)
provides that “[i]f the plaintiff fails to prosecute or
to comply with these rules or a court order, a defendant may
move to dismiss the action or any claim against it.” In
addition, under Rule 37(b)(2)(A)(v), the court may dismiss
the action if a party “fails to obey an order to
provide or permit discovery.”
filed his complaint in June of 2012. After initial review and
subsequent amendments, the case proceeded against federal and
local defendants on a range of civil rights claims. The
claims against all defendants, except the Eliot Police
Department defendants, were previously dismissed.
Eliot Police Department defendants then proceeded with
discovery. The court set April 30, 2018, as the deadline for
Widi to respond to the defendants' discovery requests.
Widi provided some discovery documents through email. He did
not provide direct responses to the defendants' requests
or answers to interrogatories within the time ordered by the
court. During a second conference call, the court explained
Widi's discovery obligations and set May 29, 2018, as the
deadline for his compliance. The court then extended the
deadline as requested by Widi to June 14, 2018.
did not provide the outstanding discovery by the June 14,
deadline. The court set a third conference call, but Widi
failed to participate. A fourth conference call was held on
June 29, but Widi again failed to participate despite the
court's order that he do so and having received notice of
court set a fifth conference call for July 20 and required
the defendants to physically serve Widi with notice. The
court notified Widi that if he again failed to participate,
the court would impose sanctions, including dismissal of his
claims. The defendants attempted to physically serve Widi
with notice of the July 10 call but were unable to do so.
did participate in the July 20 call. The court set July 30 as
the deadline for Widi's discovery responses and warned
Widi that sanctions would be imposed if he continued to be
unavailable and unresponsive. The court also scheduled a
sixth telephone conference for August 3, 2018.
for the defendants continued to experience difficulty
communicating with Widi. While Widi again provided documents
by email, he did not properly respond to the defendants'
discovery requests as he was directed to do by the court. ...