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Day v. State

United States District Court, D. Maine

December 20, 2019

ROY A. DAY, Plaintiff
v.
STATE OF MAINE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER ON MOTION TO LIFT STAY AND MOTION FOR CLERK TO SERVE PARTIES

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

         A litigant files his third lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Maine against a Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, the state of Maine, two individuals, their insurance company, an attorney who represented the insurance company in a prior dismissed lawsuit, and his own insurer, alleging claims arising out of a 2016 car crash. The Court reviews his suit under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (iii), and after concluding that the action is frivolous or seeks monetary relief against defendants immune from such relief, dismisses it. Three of the defendants, the state of Maine, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, and the Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, are immune from suit; three others of the defendants, the two individuals and their insurance company, are protected by the doctrine of res judicata; the seventh, the attorney who represented the individual's insurance company, is not a state actor subject to liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; and the eighth, the litigant's insurer is also not a state actor. Additionally, to the extent that the litigant brings state law claims against his insurer, after the dismissal of his civil rights claims, the Court is without supplemental jurisdiction to hear those state law claims and venue in the District of Maine is improper. Now that the plaintiff has filed three unsuccessful lawsuits in this District and one unsuccessful lawsuit in the state of Maine court system, the Court asks the plaintiff to consider carefully before filing another lawsuit because filing restrictions may be in the offing under Cok v. Family Court of Rhode Island, 985 F.2d 32 (1st Cir. 1993).

         I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         A. The 2016 Federal Lawsuit

         On April 29, 2016, Lorna R. Grey was involved in a motor vehicle accident with Roy A. Day's motor vehicle in the parking lot of the Hudson Library in the town of Hudson, county of Pasco, state of Florida. See Day v. Grey, 2:16-cv-275-JAW, Compl., Attach. 2, Florida Traffic Crash Report (Apr. 29, 2016) (ECF No. 1). After the accident on June 3, 2016, Mr. Day filed a lawsuit against Lorna R. Grey, the driver; Kenneth Grey, her husband and a passenger in the Grey vehicle; GEICO General Insurance Company (GEICO), the Greys' automobile insurer; and 21st Century Centennial Insurance Company (21st Century), Mr. Day's automobile insurer. Day v. Grey, 2:16-cv-275-JAW, Compl. (ECF No. 1). On March 29, 2017, the Magistrate Judge recommended that the Court dismiss Mr. Day's Complaint without prejudice because he failed or refused to provide the Clerk of Court with the addresses for two of the Defendants in that case. Recommended Dismissal (ECF No. 23). Mr. Day objected to the recommended dismissal on April 4, 2017, Pl.'s Obj. to the Recommended Dismissal Order & Mot. to Vacate the March 29, 2017 “Thinly Disguised Final-Default Order” (ECF No. 24), and on July 28, 2017, the Court affirmed the Magistrate Judge's dismissal without prejudice. Order on Mot. to Stay and Affirming Dismissal of Compl. (ECF No. 27). Mr. Day appealed that dismissal to the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, Pl.-Appellant's Notice of Appeal (ECF No. 29) and on December 4, 2017, the First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal. J. (ECF No. 36). On December 27, 2017, the First Circuit issued its mandate. Mandate (ECF No. 37).

         B. The 2017 Federal Lawsuit

         On July 31, 2017, while his appeal of his 2016 lawsuit was pending, Mr. Day filed a second lawsuit in this Court. Day v. Grey, 2:17-cv-00286-JAW, Compl. (ECF No. 1). This 2017 lawsuit named the same defendants as the first and was based essentially on the same allegations. Id. On September 5, 2017, the Magistrate Judge stayed this case while Mr. Day's appeal of the dismissal of his 2016 lawsuit was pending in the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Order Staying Case (ECF No. 12). After the First Circuit issued its judgment and mandate affirming the dismissal of the 2016 lawsuit, the Magistrate Judge issued a report and recommended decision on February 8, 2018, in which he granted Mr. Day's motion for in forma pauperis status and recommended that Mr. Day be allowed to proceed with service of the Complaint upon each Defendant. Order on Mots. for In Forma Pauperis Status and Serv. of Process and Recommended Decision on 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) Review (ECF No. 14). On February 26, 2018, the Court affirmed the Magistrate Judge's recommended decision, allowing Mr. Day's lawsuit to proceed against all four Defendants. Order Affirming the Recommended Decision of the Magistrate Judge (ECF No. 16).

         On May 1, 2018, 21st Century, Mot. of Def., 21st Century Centennial Ins. Co., to Dismiss Pl.'s Compl (ECF No. 30) (21st Century Mot. to Dismiss), and GEICO, Lorna Grey and Kenneth Grey moved to dismiss Mr. Day's Complaint. Defs. Lorna Grey, Kenneth Grey, and GEICO General Ins. Co.'s Mot. to Dismiss Pl.'s Compl. (ECF No. 32) (Grey/GEICO Mot. to Dismiss). On June 15, 2018, Mr. Day filed a motion for summary judgment against Defendants Lorna Grey, Kenneth Grey and GEICO. Pl.'s Mot. for Summ. J. against Def. Lorna R. Grey, Def. Kenneth Grey, Def. GEICO General Ins. Co. (Counts One, Two Three, Four) (ECF No. 40). The Grey/GEICO motion to dismiss was premised on the argument that Mr. Day had already unsuccessfully litigated this same claim in state of Maine court. The Court turns to that litigation.

         C. The 2016 State of Maine Lawsuit

         When the Greys and GEICO moved to dismiss Mr. Day's Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), they attached evidence of a lawsuit Mr. Day filed in Maine state court that the state court had dismissed with prejudice. On November 7, 2016, Roy A. Day, proceeding pro se, filed suit against Lorna and Kenneth Grey, GEICO General Insurance Company, and 21st Century Centennial Insurance Company in Cumberland County Superior Court. Mot. to Dismiss, Attach 2, Ex. 1 at 1 (ECF No. 32) (Compl. in State Action). In his state court Complaint, Mr. Day alleged “negligence (with an overlay of fraud), ” and claimed that he suffered damages from a motor vehicle accident involving the Greys that “arose out of a[] vehicle accident which occurred on April 29, 2016, in Pasco County, Florida, ” that the accident took place “in the Hudson Library parking lot, ” and that the vehicles involved were his “2015 Chevrolet Spark” and the Greys' motor vehicle. Id. ¶¶ 1-8. In his state court Complaint, Mr. Day alleged that one of the Greys “was driving a vehicle in a willful, intentional, malicious, and ‘cunning, deceptive, and misleading' (fraudulent) conduct at a high rate of speed . . . with a ‘fit of rage,' to willfully, intentionally, and maliciously cause damage to ‘specific vehicles' as a ‘target.'” Id. ¶ 7. He also alleged that 21st Century insured his motor vehicle and that GEICO insured the Greys' motor vehicle. Id. ¶¶ 1, 2. On June 2, 2017, Lorna Grey, Kenneth Grey, and GEICO filed a motion to dismiss Mr. Day's state action. Id., Attach. 3, Ex. 2 (ECF No. 32) (Mot. to Dismiss in State Action).

         On July 11, 2017, [1] then-Superior Court Justice Lance Walker granted the Defendants' motion and ordered “that all of the Plaintiff's claims as against Defendants Lorna Grey, Kenneth Grey, and GEICO General Insurance Company are Dismissed with Prejudice.” Id., Attach 4, Ex. 3 (ECF No. 32) (Order in State Action).[2]On March 15, 2018, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgments against Mr. Day. Day v. Grey, Law Court Docket No. Mem. 18-18 (Mar. 15, 2018).

         D. The 2017 Federal Lawsuit (Cont.)

         With this background, on January 31, 2019, the Court granted the Grey/GEICO motion to dismiss, concluding that his 2017 federal lawsuit against the Greys and GEICO was barred by the doctrine of res judicata. Order Granting Mots. to Dismiss at 1 (ECF No. 76). The Court also granted 21st Century's motion to dismiss because there was no legal basis for Mr. Day to proceed against 21st Century on either the breach of contract or fraud claims. Id. The Court dismissed as moot Mr. Day's motion for summary judgment. Id. at 5 n.4. On January 31, 2019, Mr. Day appealed this judgment to the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, Pl.-Appellant's Notice of Appeal (ECF No. 78), and on October 28, 2019, the First Circuit affirmed the Court's January 31, 2019, order, dismissing the Day lawsuit. J. (ECF No. 86). On December 12, 2019, the Court received the First Circuit's mandate. Mandate (ECF No. 87).

         E. The 2018 ...


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