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Goguen v. Waxman

Superior Court of Maine, Cumberland

February 28, 2019

ROBERT GOGUEN, Plaintiff
v.
MICHAEL WAXMAN, Defendant

          ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Nancy Mills Justice

         Before the court is defendant Michael Waxman's motion for summary judgment and plaintiff Robert Goguen's motion for summary judgment. For the following reasons, defendant's motion is granted and plaintiff's motion is denied.

         Factual Record

         The background of this case derives from defendant's statement of material fact. Some of plaintiff's opposing statements of material fact do not include record citations in violation of Rule 56(h)(2). M.R. Civ. P. 56(h)(2). "Facts contained in supporting or opposing statement of material facts, if supported by record citations as required by this rule, shall be deemed admitted unless properly controverted." M.R. Civ. P. 56(h)(4). Plaintiff's record citations include his declaration or his 137-paragraph supplement. (See, e.g., Opp'g S.M.F. ¶ 18.)

         Plaintiff Robert Goguen filed a civil rights lawsuit on a pro se basis against several corrections officers at Somerset County Jail in 2011 and alleged civil rights violations. (Def.'s S.M.F.¶ 2.) The case was removed to federal court on February 6, 2012. (Def.'s S.M.F.¶ 3.) The initial discovery deadline was July 26, 2012. (Def.'s S.M.F. ¶ 4.) The deadline was extended to March 7, 2013, the final extension. (Def.'s S.M.F. ¶ 6.) Defendant Waxman is an attorney in good standing in the State of Maine. (Def.'s S.M.F. ¶ 1.) He filed a notice of appearance on behalf of Goguen on July 5, 2013, four months after the discovery deadline. (Def.'s S.M.F. ¶¶ 8-9.)

         Plaintiff survived a motion for summary judgment in the civil rights suit based on a report and recommended decision by a magistrate. (Def.'s S.M.F. ¶ 7.) Defendant Waxman responded to the objection to the report and decision filed in the civil rights suit. (Def.'s S.M.F. ¶ 10.) Defendants in the civil rights case appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and the appeal was denied. (Def.'s S.M.F. ¶¶ 11-12.)

         Jury trial in the case was held in the United States District Court for the District of Maine before a magistrate on October 6, 2015 through October 9, 2015. (Def.'s S.M.F.¶ 13.) Judgment was entered in favor of defendants and against plaintiff Goguen. Goguen v. Gilblair, No. 1:12-cv-00048-JCN, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16539 (D. Me. Feb. 1, 2018).

         On March 13, 2017, plaintiff Goguen filed his complaint for legal malpractice based on defendant's representation of plaintiff in the civil rights suit. (Compl.) Plaintiff alleges that the parties argued over the direction of the case, introduction of certain evidence, and whether additional discovery was required in the civil rights case. (Compl.¶¶ 8, 10, 12-19.)

         On February 16, 2018, defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint[1] and plaintiff's first motion to amend the complaint were denied. On June 7, 2018, plaintiff's second motion to amend complaint was denied. On December 20, 2018, plaintiff's third motion to amend complaint, filed on June 18, 2018, was denied.

         On June 19, 2018 defendant moved for summary judgment, supported by a statement of material facts. Plaintiff filed his opposition to summary judgment on July 2, 2018 and complained that defendant had not responded to plaintiff's discovery requests. After a conference call, on November 28, 2018, the court ordered defendant to provide certain discovery and extended the deadline for plaintiff to file any supplemental response to defendant's motion for summary judgment.

         On December 7, 2018, plaintiff filed an amendment to the pleadings of the complaint. On December 12, 2018, plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment. On December 20, 2018, those motions were denied. On December 26, 2018, plaintiff's request to extend the deadline to file a supplemental response to defendant's motion for summary judgment was granted and the deadline was extended to January 11, 2018. On December 28, 2018, plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration or clarification of the court's order denying amendments. On January 10, 2019, that motion was denied.

         On January 9, 2019, plaintiff filed a "Request for Summary Judgment." On the same date, plaintiff filed an opposing statement of material fact, a declaration, and a "Supplement to Plaintiff's Opposition of Summary Judgment." In support of his motion for summary judgment, plaintiff relies on his opposing statement of material fact, which, as stated, does not include record citations in violation of Rule 56(h)(2). Defendant filed no response to those filings.

         Standard of Review

         Summary judgment is proper where there is "no genuine issue as to any material fact" and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Stanley v. Hancock County Comm'rs,2004 ME 157, ¶ 13, 864 A.2d 169; M.R. Civ. P. 56(c). "Summary judgment is appropriate ... if the non-moving party rests merely upon conclusory allegations, improbable inferences, and unsupported ...


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