United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON MOTION TO AMEND A JUDGMENT
A. WOODCOCK, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
debtor in a long-closed bankruptcy proceeding who is
appealing the denial of her request to reopen her bankruptcy
case files a motion seeking to have the caption of this case
changed, documents deleted from the public docket, her filing
fee transferred from this appeal to a new appeal that she has
filed, and for the transcript of the bankruptcy proceeding in
which her motion was denied to be transferred to her new
bankruptcy appeal. Because the Court has already changed the
caption of this now-dismissed case at the debtor's
request, will not delete documents from the public record, is
without authority to transfer a filing fee from one case to
another, and does not control the filing of transcripts on
its docket, the Court denies the debtor's motion.
procedural history of this bankruptcy appeal is described
through October 18, 2019, in the Court's order of
November 25, 2019, Order on Mot. to Withdraw and Discard
the Disfigured Record (ECF No. 14) (Order), and
the Court assumes familiarity with that order. On November
25, 2019, the Court issued an order on Eva Julia
Szillery's motion to withdraw and discard what she
referred to as the “disfigured record, ”
construing it as a request for voluntary dismissal pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(2) and granting
dismissal while denying Ms. Szillery's request for return
of her filing fee. Id. at 2-3. The Clerk of Court
entered judgment on that same day. J. (ECF No. 15).
November 26, 2015, Ms. Szillery filed a motion seeking
clarification of the Court's judgment because the
“Pace[r] Monitor still list[ed] the case [as] Eva
Szillery v. University of Maine System, even though the
University of Maine System has not been creditor in the
original Bankruptcy case.” Mot. for Clarification
for Correct Listing of the Appeal in the Pace Monitor
(ECF No. 16). The Court granted this motion for clarification
on that same day, Order Granting Mot. for
Clarification (ECF No. 17), and an amended judgment
issued. Am. J. (ECF No. 18).
December 5, 2019, Ms. Szillery filed a new bankruptcy appeal.
Bankruptcy Appeal, In re Eva J. Szillery,
(D Me.) (No. 1:19-cv-00554-JAW), ECF No. 1. On December 10,
2019, Ms. Szillery filed a motion to amend the amended
judgment in this case, No. 1:19-cv-00422-JAW. Mot. to
Amend a J. (ECF No. 19) (Pet'r's Mot.).
In this order, the Court addresses Ms. Szillery's motion
in this case.
POSITION OF EVA JULIA SZILLERY
Szillery states that the Court has made an error, and thus
she is entitled to a second amended judgment under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). Pet'r's Mot.
at 2. She states that her attorneys in her bankruptcy case
did not tell her that an attorney for the University of Maine
filed a baseless claim on the University's behalf on
September 30, 2005, and that if she had known, she would have
opposed the claim. Id.at 2-3. She states that one of
the attorneys involved in this case is conflicted as he
represents her and simultaneously represents an administrator
of the University of Maine, id. at 3, and that
University of Maine attorneys have improperly not withdrawn
from the case. Id. All of this, according to Ms.
Szillery, has caused her to suffer deteriorating physical and
mental health, as well as lost income. Id. Ms.
Szillery proceeds to describe the procedural history of this
case. Id. at 4.
Szillery states that relief under Rule 59(e) “may only
be granted for (1) to accommodate an intervening change in
controlling law; (2) to account for new evidence not
available at trial; or (3) to correct a clear error of law or
prevent manifest injustice.” Id. at 5. She
says that it is this third justification for relief that
applies to her. Id. Ms. Szillery argues that
“[i]t is a clear error of law in the case of an
unopposed order to enter the name of Appellee”
because “[a]ltering Appellant's Notice of Appeal to
a different one, leaving on the record and dismissing her
real Notice of Appeal is clearly results manifest
injustice . . ..” Id. at 5-6 (emphasis in
original). Ms. Szillery asks that the Court “delete the
complete Disfigured Notice of Appeal and file Appellant's
Notice of Appeal as shown on EXHIBIT 3 from the Bankruptcy
Court Transmittal Shee[t]” and “[a]pply the
already paid filing fee and us[e] the existing transcript
already paid by Appellant for her Appeal of Judge
Fagone's Minute Order of July 25, 2019.”
Id. at 6.
the Court can interpret Ms. Szillery's motion, she is
requesting four separate things: (1) first, that the caption
displayed on PACER in this case be altered to reflect that
there is no appellee; (2) second, that the Court delete all
the documents in this docket which state that the University
of Maine is the appellee; 3) third, that the filing fee she
paid for this case be applied to her new bankruptcy appeal;
and (4) fourth, that the transcript she already paid for be
used in her new bankruptcy appeal.
Court seeks to reassure Ms. Szillery about the caption of
this now dismissed bankruptcy appeal. While PACER may reflect
that the appeal is titled Szillery v. University of Maine
System, this is no longer the case. The amended judgment
in this case (and now this order) reflects that the caption
is now In re: Eva Julia Szillery, see Am.
J., and it is the judgment that controls, rather than
the docket sheet. See Burke v. Comm'r of Internal
Revenue, 301 F.2d 903, 903 (1962) (stating that what is
determinative is not the docket, but rather “the action
of the court”). Additionally, the docket sheet reflects
that the University of Maine was terminated from this appeal
on September 12, 2019. Furthermore, this case has been
dismissed at Ms. Szillery's request, and all further
proceedings will take place in docket number
1:19-cv-00554-JAW, which Ms. Szillery does not contend has an
incorrect caption. Therefore, as the requested change to the
caption of this appeal has already been made and as this case
has been dismissed at Ms. Szillery's wish, the Court
regards Ms. Szillery's further request to change a
caption that has already been changed as moot.
the Court cannot delete documents from the public docket on
which they reside. Once a document has been filed on the
public docket, it becomes a public record and the Court is
not authorized to delete it absent compelling reasons.
See United States v. Kravetz, 706 F.3d 47, 59 (1st
Cir. 2013). There are no such compelling reasons here,
particularly as the source of Ms. Szillery's upset-the
incorrect caption on her dismissed appeal-has been corrected
by the amended judgment.
the Court has no authority to use the filing fee Ms. Szillery
paid in this bankruptcy appeal for Ms. Szillery's new
bankruptcy appeal. As the Court stated in its November 25
Order, “[i]t was Ms. Szillery who filed in this Court
and her later decision not to proceed does not affect the
filing fee, which is due and payable at filing.”
Order at 2. Similar logic applies to transferring
the filing fee. Ms. Szillery chose to open a new bankruptcy
appeal, and the filing fee for that new case “is due
and payable at filing.” Id. The Court is aware
of no provision of law that would permit it to transfer a
filing fee from one case to another. The Court notes that in
the underlying bankruptcy case, Ms. Szillery filed a petition
to waive her filing fee for her new bankruptcy appeal,