D. Warren Justice.
the court is a motion by defendants STJ Inc. and Gorham Sand
& Gravel Inc. (GSG) for a Spickler
order against plaintiff Dale Holman and a
cross-motion by Holman, who is representing himself in this
action, contending that defendants are in contempt of court.
outset, Holman's cross-motion for contempt against
defendants is frivolous. Holman does not claim that
defendants have violated any court order, nor is there any
possible basis for a claim that defendants have engaged in
any disorderly or insolent behavior that has obstructed the
administration of justice or diminished the court's
request for a Spickler order initially raises the
question whether, given the entry of final judgment on
November 14, 2018, the court retains jurisdiction to consider
defendants' motion. Assuming that the court does have
jurisdiction, the appropriateness of a Spickler
order in this case presents a close question.
claims against STJ and GSG in this action were dismissed by
order dated November 9, 2018 and docketed November 14, 2018.
The dismissal was based in part on Holman's failure to
oppose defendants' motion to dismiss, in part on the fact
that most of the allegations related to actions that had
occurred more than 10 years earlier, and in part on the fact
that this appeared to be repetitive litigation on issues that
had already been decided.
Holman, who was at that time represented by counsel, had
filed a lawsuit against STJ and GSG in 2007 that sought
damages and injunctive relief based essentially on the same
allegations in his complaint in this action. That action was
dismissed with prejudice by stipulation on April 15, 2008.
Holman v. STJ Inc. et al., RE-07-188 (Superior Court
10 years later, in January 2018, Holman served a complaint on
STJ and GSG containing allegations that were in many respects
the same as those in his 2007 complaint. Holman v. STJ
Inc. et al., CV-18-97 (Superior Court Cumberland). In
May 2018 that complaint was dismissed pursuant to M.R.Civ.P.
3 because, although served, the complaint was never filed. In
addition, attorney's fees were assessed against Holman
because the court (Walker, J.) found that Holman did not
intend to file the complaint and the action was therefore
failed to file the complaint in CV-18-97, Holman then turned
around and on July 2, 2018 filed the complaint in this case,
along with a motion for a preliminary injunction.
has thus commenced three actions against STJ and GSG on
essentially the same claims. The first, RE-07-188, resulted
in a stipulation of dismissal with prejudice, although the
court does not know whether that was part of a settlement.
The second was dismissed on procedural grounds with a finding
of vexatiousness. This action was resolved against Holman on
the merits based on an unopposed motion to dismiss.
GSG have also offered evidence that Holman has made threats
to file criminal complaints against defendants and threats to
file further litigation against them, most recently by email
on November 2, 2018. He has filed a bar complaint against
defendant's counsel and has threatened to bring
litigation against defendants' law firm. He has also sued
neighboring property owners on related claims involving the
alleged diversion of water onto his property. Holman v.
Johnson, CV-18-68 and CV-18-143 (Superior Court
Cumberland). The latter cases were settled and a
Spickler order was included in the settlement
precluding Holman from suing the neighboring property owners
without first petitioning the court for approval. However,
the Spickler order in Holman v. Johnson was
entered by agreement.
position is not helped by the fact that in several instances,
after commencing legal action, he has been apparently
unwilling to litigate on the merits (failing to file the
complaint in CV-18-97, failing to brief his appeal in
Cum-18-316, and failing to oppose the motion to dismiss in
this action). This tends to support an inference that
Holman's litigiousness does not constitute a good faith
assertion of what he believes to be his legal rights but is
instead intended as a form of harassment or protest. On this
record the court cannot conclude that Holman's 2007
action was frivolous, but his two attempted reiterations of
that action in 2018 (the complaint not filed and the
complaint dismissed in this case) and the other behavior
outlined above begin to approach the pattern of abusive and
frivolous litigation necessary to justify a Spickler
the court concludes that jurisdiction to issue a
Spickler order may be lacking in this case, it will
dismiss defendants' motion. Given Holman's repetitive
lawsuits, Justice Walker's Finding that Holman's
action in CV-18-97 was vexatiously commenced, and the other
points noted above, Holman is on notice that any future
similar behavior on his part could result in the imposition
of a Spickler injunction against him.
The entry shall be:
court doubts that it has jurisdiction to consider
defendants' motion for a Spickler order, and
accordingly that motion is dismissed. Plaintiffs cross-motion
for contempt is denied. The clerk is directed to ...