STILE v. CUMBERLAND COUNTY SHERIFF et al
ORDER ON MOTION FOR JUDICIAL INTERVENTION AND FOR EXTENSION OF TIME AND ON MOTION TO ACCEPT PARTIAL RESPONSES AND TO ALLOW THE RECORD TO REMAIN OPEN, AND MOTION FOR COURT TO OBTAIN BATE STAMPED MATERIALS FROM DEFENDANTS THAT PLAINTIFF CITED IN HIS RESPONSES TO DISPOSITIVE PLEADINGS denying 242 Motion for Judicial Intervention, Motion to Extend Time for Filing Remaining Responses and Supplements; denying 247 Motion for Court to Obtain Bate Stamped Materials By JUDGE JOHN A. WOODCOCK, JR. (CCS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MAINE
SOMERSET COUNTY, et al.,
CUMBERLAND COUNTY, et al.
ORDER ON MOTION FOR JUDICIAL INTERVENTION AND FOR
EXTENSION OF TIME AND ON MOTION TO ACCEPT PARTIAL
RESPONSES AND TO ALLOW THE RECORD TO REMAIN OPEN, AND
MOTION FOR COURT TO OBTAIN BATE STAMPED MATERIALS FROM
DEFENDANTS THAT PLAINTIFF CITED IN HIS RESPONSES TO
The Court denies a Plaintiff’s demand that he be allowed to respond fully to
long-pending dispositive motions only when the Bureau of Prisons releases certain
evidence to him that depicts what happened to him. The Plaintiff is a competent
witness of his own lived experience and it is not necessary to obtain documentation
from other sources in order to respond to factual allegations about his own experience.
The procedural history of these motions began simply enough, but quickly
became complicated due to James Stile’s unorthodox filings. To begin, on July 17,
2018, James Stile filed identical motions for judicial intervention in his lawsuits
against Somerset and Cumberland Counties. Mot. for Judicial Intervention (ECF No.
242) (No. 2:14-cv-00406-JAW); (ECF No. 568) (No. 1:13-cv-00248-JAW) (Pl.’s Mot.).
On August 1, 2018, the Cumberland County Defendants filed their response. Obj. to
Pl.’s Mot. for Judicial Intervention (Document No. 242) (ECF No. 244) (Cumberland
On July 30, 2018, only in the Somerset County case, Mr. Stile filed a motion to
accept partial response and to allow the record to remain open. Mot. to Accept Partial
Resp. to Defs.’ Mot. for Summ. J. and Allow Record to Remain Open Without Ruling
on Dispositive Mot. Until Remaining Resp. and Supplemental Listing of Missing Bate
Stamped Exs. are Filed with Court (ECF No. 573) (Pl.’s Second Mot.). From August
1 through August 7, 2018, all Somerset County Defendants filed responses to Mr.
On August 1, 2018, the Somerset County Defendants (except
Somerset County, Sheriff Barry DeLong, Jail Administrator David Allen, Corrections
Officer Mayhew, Corrections Officer Welch, Corrections Officer Jacques, and Deputy
Sheriff Kline) filed an objection to Mr. Stile’s motion for judicial intervention and to
accept partial response. Defs.’ Obj. to Pl.’s Mot. for Judicial Intervention (Document
No. 568) and Mot. to Accept Partial Resp. (Document No. 573) (ECF No. 579)
(Somerset I Resp.).
On August 2, 2018, Somerset County and former Somerset
County Sheriff Barry DeLong filed an objection to Mr. Stile’s motion for judicial
intervention. Defs.’ Somerset County and Former Somerset County Sheriff Barry
DeLong’s Obj. to Pl.’s Mot. for Judicial Intervention (ECF No. 580) (Somerset II Resp.).
On August 3, 2018, Corrections Officers Plourd and Jacques filed a consolidated
response to the motion for judicial intervention and to Mr. Stile’s motion to accept
partial response. Opp’n by Defs. Keith Plourd and Jeffrey Jacques to Pl.’s Mot. for
Judicial Intervention and Mot. to Accept Partial Resp. (ECF No. 581) (No. 1:13-cv00248-JAW) (Somerset III Resp.). On August 7, 2018, Defendant David Allen, the
Somerset County Jail Administrator, filed a response to Mr. Stile’s motions for
judicial intervention and to accept partial response. Def. David Allen’s Objs. to Pl.’s
Mot. for Judicial Intervention (ECF No. 568) and Mot. to Accept Partial Resp. (ECF
No. 573) (ECF No. 584) (Allen Resp.).
On August 6, 2018, Mr. Stile filed a reply in both cases, which he titled “Notice
of Case Status.” Pl.’s Reply (ECF No. 245) (No. 2:14-cv-00406-JAW); (ECF No. 582)
(No. 1:13-cv-00248-JAW) (Pl.’s Reply). On August 27, 2018, Mr. Stile filed an affidavit
in support of his motion for judicial intervention in both the Somerset and
Cumberland County cases, attaching exhibits. Aff. Attachs. 1-15 (ECF No. 246) (2:14cv-00406-JAW); (ECF No. 590) (No. 1:13-cv-00248-JAW).
On August 31, 2018, Mr. Stile filed yet another motion, essentially demanding
the same relief he demanded in the other motions. Pl.’s Mot. for Court to Obtain Bate
Stamped Materials from Defs. that Pl. Cited in his Resps. to Dispositive Pleadings
(ECF No. 247) (2:14-cv-00406-JAW); (ECF No. 593) (No. 1:13-cv-00248-JAW) (Pl.’s
Bate Stamp Mot.). 1
THE PARTIES’ POSITIONS
James Stile’s Motions
The July 17, 2018 Motion for Judicial Intervention and
In James Stile’s July 17, 2018 motion for judicial intervention, he describes his
ongoing difficulty gaining access to necessary information so that he may respond to
the pending dispositive motions in his cases against Somerset and Cumberland
Counties. Pl.’s Mot. at 1-2. Surprisingly, Mr. Stile places blame for his troubles with
the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) squarely on the Court. Id. at 2. Mr. Stile makes several
demands to the Court. First, stating that the dispositive motion by Defendants Keith
Plourd and Jeffrey Jacques omitted “most of the referenced Exhibits that are referred
to by Bates Stamp number” and he “insists this Court not rule on the Defendants[’]
dispositive motion without having access to said Exhibits as there would be a serious
prejudice to the Plaintiff if this were done.” Id.
Next, he complains that the Court failed to schedule a telephone conference to
discuss this issue and he says the Court denied his request for such. Id. Mr. Stile
says that he has been left “with no understanding of how the Court will be able to
make a fair and unbiased ruling on this dispositive motion, if the Court does not have
The Court is issuing this order on Mr. Stile’s August 31, 2018 Bate stamp motion even though
the Defendants have not responded because he raises no new issues in his newest motion.
access to the Exhibits and the Plaintiff is unable to even quote the Bates Stamp
Mr. Stile writes that he has asked the Court “to at least communicate with the
BOP Allenwood facility legal department to explain the need of Plaintiff to have
access to these discs in order to do his legal work responsibilities in responding to the
dispositive motions.” Id. He blames the Court for rejecting “the Plaintiff’s requests
for assistance”, and he says the Court “has refused to intervene.” Id.
Mr. Stile criticizes the Court for repeatedly imposing “deadlines of which the
Plaintiff could not possibly meet even if he was an attorney with modern day
resources such as computer and internet and copier and printer.” Id. He notes that
the BOP transferred him from F.C.I. Fort Dix to F.C.I. Elkton and that from
November 2017 to January 2018, he did not have his legal files and, when received,
they were “in complete disarray.” Id. at 3. It took him, he says, thirty days “to sort
out and assess the losses which Plaintiff communication to this Court the need for
replacement of a number of pleadings that BOP lost on the Plaintiff.” Id. Mr. Stile
acknowledges that the Clerk of Court “replaced a number of those pleadings”, but he
reiterates that he did not have the “necessary legal files” until the end of February,
Mr. Stile continues to complain that he did not have access to the CD/DVDs
“that are necessary to respond to the dispositive motions” and even so, the “Court
continues to set deadlines for the Plaintiff that cannot be met.” Id. As of July 10,
2018, Mr. Stile says he received only ten of the seventy-five discs. Id. Mr. Stile
“insists that the Court communicate with the [BOP] on facilitating access to the
remaining discs in a more expedit[i]ous manner so that the Plaintiff can provide to
the Court a comprehensive and understandable pleadings to the dispositive motions.”
Mr. Stile says that he has mailed the Court “his responses to Defendant
Somerset County and Defendant Delong’s dispositive motions but lacking the Bates
Stamped numbers to direct the Court and Defendants to the appropriate Exhibits to
support Plaintiff’s responses.” Id. at 4. Again, he insists that the Court take action
by “communicating with BOP to assisting the Plaintiff with access to the CD/DVDs’
that contain the Bates stamped materials.” Id. Mr. Stile also says that he mailed
the Court “his response to Defendant David Allen’s dispositive motions but lacking
the Bates Stamped numbers to direct the Court and Defendants to the appropriate
Exhibits to support Plaintiff’s responses.” Id. Mr. Stile acknowledges that he has not
responded to the dispositive motion from the “Majority of Defendants” in the
Somerset County case and he has not responded to the dispositive motions in the
Cumberland County case. Id. He states that he is working on a response in the
Somerset County case, but “still lacking the CD/DVDs.” Id. He warns that he will
“have to file supplements to all responses that will contain the Bates Stamped Exhibit
numbers and the locations to be inserted.” Id. Mr. Stile moves the Court to grant an
extension for an unspecified period of time and that the Court communicate with the
BOP at Allenwood. Id.
The July 30, 2018 Motion to Accept Partial Response and
to Allow the Record to Remain Open
In his second motion, the one he filed only in the Somerset County case, Mr.
Stile characterizes one of this Court’s rulings as a “threat” and an “ultimatum.” Pl.’s
Second Mot. at 1. He says that he is “forced to file partial pleading with the threat
that is hanging over his head of being foreclosed from arguing due to circumstances
that precluded Plaintiff from filing his responses expediently such as the BOP
withholding the 75 CD/DVD’s that contain the discovery materials necessary to file
appropriate responses to the pending dispositive motions, since November 2017.” Id.
Mr. Stile says that as of July 30, 2018, he has received only twelve of the
CD/DVDs and that he is “totally at the mercy of the decisions of BOP as to when and
how many of the CD/DVD’s the Plaintiff may have to review that are absolutely
necessary to respond to the dispositive motions.” Id. at 2. He again complains that
“this Court refuses to grant leave to extend and to cause judicial intervention with
BOP or even recommend to the legal department of L.S.C.I. Allenwood to assist in
making the discovery materials available to Plaintiff.” Id. At the same time, he notes
that the Court “has access to the Defendant’s Video Exhibits 1-35 and numerous other
materials that have been filed with the Court.” Id. Therefore, he says that the
Defendants “are incorrect when they claim that the Plaintiff ‘has failed to show that
there is any genuine issue of material fact in dispute.’” Id. He asks the Court to
accept “a partial response to the Defendants’ dispositive motion and to grant leave to
extend and allow the record to remain open for receipt of supplemental filing.” Id.
The August 31, 2018 Bate Stamp Motion
On August 31, 2018, Mr. Stile filed yet another motion, essentially asking for
the same relief he is requesting in his July 17 and 30 motions. Pl.’s Bate Stamp Mot.
at 1-2. Mr. Stile reiterates that BOP is allowing him only six discs every two weeks.
Id. at 1. Mr. Stile describes difficulty he is having with a woman he calls Counselor
Brown in obtaining the CD/DVDs. Id. at 1-2. Mr. Stile repeats his demand that the
Court schedule a telephone conference and again complains that the Court has
“refused to assist Plaintiff.” Id. at 2. Mr. Stile reiterates his request that the Court
order the Defendants to supply him with the contested CD/DVDs and extend the time
for his responses to the pending motions. Id.
The Cumberland County Response
On August 1, 2018, the Cumberland County Defendants filed an objection to
Mr. Stile’s motion for extension. Cumberland Resp. at 1-2. They note that their
motion for summary judgment has been pending since October 2017 and Mr. Stile
has received numerous extensions. Id. at 2. They say that Mr. Stile admits he had
access to the necessary materials before November 13, 2017, “over one month after
Defendants filed their Motion for Summary Judgment.” Id. They assert that Mr.
Stile admits that upon his transfer to F.C.I. Elkton, he had access to the materials
beginning the last week of January 2018. Id. Finally, they maintain that upon
transfer to F.C.I. Allenwood, Mr. Stile arrived with “documents and discovery related
to this case.” Id. Finally they note that Mr. Stile “has demonstrated the ability to
participate in this lawsuit by filing numerous motions in this case and in Stile v.
Somerset County, 1:13-cv-00248-JAW.” But, they say, he “still has not filed any
response at all the Defendants’ dispositive motion.” Id. They urge the Court to deny
Mr. Stile’s motion for extension given “the extraordinary amount of time the Plaintiff
has had to respond to the Motion for Summary Judgment.” Id.
The Somerset County I Response
The Somerset County I Defendants note that they filed their motion for
summary judgment on September 13, 2017, and since then, the Court has granted
Mr. Stile numerous extensions to time to file his response. Somerset I Resp. at 2.
They note that Mr. Stile last moved for an extension in April 2018 and the Court
ordered him to file a response “on or before May 25, 2018.” Id. (quoting Order on Mot.
to Extend Time at 2 (ECF No. 540)). They say this deadline “has not been enlarged.”
Id. They point out that it was not until July 30, 2018, that Mr. Stile filed an untimely
response to their motions for judgment on the pleadings and summary judgment. Id.
The Somerset County I Defendants state that Mr. Stile has had access to the
materials “at various times over the last ten months.” Id. They say he admitted that
he had access to the materials before November 13, 2017, “which is over two months
after these Defendants filed their Motion for Summary Judgment.” Id. They also
contend that he acknowledged that he had the material “beginning the last week of
January 2018.” Id. They note that he arrived at F.C.I. Allenwood the last week of
May 2018 with the material. Id. Finally, they observe that he has been able to file
numerous motions in this case and in his Cumberland County case during this same
The Somerset County I Defendants say that the Court set August 13, 2018, as
the date for them to file their replies to Mr. Stile’s response to their dispositive
motions. Id. at 3. They fear that if Mr. Stile is granted an extension, they will be
required to file supplemental replies to his extended responses, and they object to his
being allowed to file his responses in a “piecemeal fashion.” Id.
The Somerset County II Response
Joining the Somerset County I Defendants, the Somerset County II
Defendants also object for the same reasons to Mr. Stile’s motion for judicial
intervention. Somerset II Resp. at 1-2. They note that on July 16, 2018, Mr. Stile
filed “an untimely and nonconforming Response to the County’s Dispositive Motion.”
Id. at 1. The Somerset County II Defendants filed their reply on July 30, 2018. Id.
They say that it would be “highly prejudicial to Defendants to permit Plaintiff to
supplement his response at this stage of the litigation, after the County has already
filed its Reply.” Id. They contend that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the
Local Rules do not contemplate an unending stream of pleadings.” Id. They say that
allowing Mr. Stile to supplement his filings would “only further delay resolution and
likely require the County to seek leave to file a sur-reply.” Id.
The Somerset County III Response
Joining the responses of the Somerset County I and II Defendants, the
Somerset County III Defendants note that they filed a motion for summary judgment
on September 13, 2017 and that Mr. Stile filed an opposing statement of material fact
on December 7, 2017, but that he did not file a responsive memorandum until June
22, 2018, even though his last deadline was May 25, 2018. Id. at 1. Even so, the
Somerset County III Defendants note that they filed a reply on June 29, 2018. Id.
They say that at this point, “the summary judgment record as to Defendants Plourd
and Jacques should have been closed.” Id.
The Somerset County III Defendants object to Mr. Stile’s request to file
additional materials after the summary judgment record is closed. Id. at 1-2. If he
is allowed to do so, they say they will request leave to file an additional reply to any
additional responses by Mr. Stile. Id. at 2. They ask the Court to deny Mr. Stile’s
motions and to rule on their pending motion. Id.
David Allen’s Response
On August 7, 2018, joining in the responses of Somerset County Defendants I,
II and III, Jail Administrator David Allen filed an objection to Mr. Stile’s motions.
Allen Resp. at 1-2. Mr. Allen points out that he filed a motion for summary judgment
on September 15, 2017, and Mr. Stile did not timely oppose the motion. Id. at 1. Mr.
Stile did not file his opposition until July 16, 2018. Id. Mr. Allen filed a reply
memorandum and reply statement of material facts on July 26, 2018. Id. at 2. Mr.
Allen contends that the summary judgment record should be deemed closed and the
matter fully briefed. Id. Mr. Allen argues that Mr. Stile has failed to demonstrate
that any of the missing materials relate to his case against Mr. Allen. Id.
James Stile’s Reply
In Mr. Stile’s August 6, 2018 reply, he reiterates his earlier contentions. Stile
Reply at 1-4. Mr. Stile states that the BOP at F.C.I. Allenwood will release only six
CD/DVDs to him every two weeks. Id. at 2. Mr. Stile says that he has received only
twelve of the CD/DVDs and that BOP Allenwood Unit Manager Rothermel has
refused to expedite the process for approval of the remaining CD/DVDs. Id. at 2-3.
Mr. Stile again complains that the Court has failed to take “proactive action” on his
behalf by contacting the legal department at F.C.I. Allenwood. Id. at 11. He notes
that at the present approval rate, “it will take 6 months to complete the review
process by BOP.” Id.
The Allenwood Legal Department
The Court rejects Mr. Stile’s repeated demand that it intervene in his dispute
with the BOP by contacting the Legal Department at F.C.I. Allenwood. The Court
does not act as Mr. Stile’s legal advisor and for the Court to contact and attempt to
influence in-house BOP attorneys on behalf of a litigant would violate the Code of
Conduct for United States Judges.
JUDGES, CANON 2 (“A Judge Should Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of
Impropriety in All Activities”); CANON 3 (“A Judge Should Perform the Duties of the
Office Fairly, Impartially and Diligently”). The Court refuses to do so, because it may
not do so. The Court has previously informed Mr. Stile of this judicial restriction and
yet Mr. Stile impugns the Court for failing to take action he knows it may not ethically
undertake. See Order on Mot. for Judicial Intervention at 2 (ECF No. 463) (1:13-cv00248-JAW); (ECF No. 210) (2:14-cv-00406-JAW) (“For this Court to intervene on
behalf of a litigant in the fashion proposed by Mr. Stile would be highly inappropriate
and would violate several provisions of the Code of Conduct for United States
The Demanded Telephone Conference
The Court will not schedule a telephone conference with Mr. Stile and defense
counsel because it would be a waste of time. Mr. Stile has been at pains to explain
his dilemma to the Court and the Court understands it. It would serve no useful
purpose to have Mr. Stile reiterate orally what he has already said in writing. It
would only delay this much-delayed case.
The Extension Demand
Mr. Stile insists that the Court delay addressing the dispositive motions that
have been pending for nearly a year in order to allow him to obtain all of the CD/DVDs
in this case. Mr. Stile says that there are seventy-five CD/DVDs and that the BOP
at Allenwood is releasing only six CD/DVDs to him every two weeks. This means that
Mr. Stile will not have all seventy-five CD/DVDs available to him until some point in
February 2019. He claims he is unable to respond adequately to the dispositive
motions until he has all seventy-five CD/DVDs in his possession.
The Court disagrees. First, Mr. Stile filed his Complaint against Somerset
County on July 1, 2013, and his Complaint against Cumberland County on October
14, 2014. Compl. (ECF No. 1) (No. 1:13-cv-00248-JAW); Compl. (ECF No. 1) (No.
2:14-cv-00406-JAW). This means his case against Somerset County has been pending
for over five years and his case against Cumberland County for nearly four years.
Mr. Stile’s civil actions are the second and third oldest cases on the Court’s docket,
the oldest being a complicated environment action involving the clean-up of mercury
contamination of the Penobscot River. See Maine People’s Alliance v. Mallinckrodt,
Inc., No. 00-cv-00069-JAW. The next oldest case on this Judge’s docket was filed on
June 12, 2015, just over three years. Mr. Stile’s cases have become outliers in this
Court’s efforts to provide speedy justice to civil litigants.
The expeditious resolution of civil actions is not merely desirable, it is essential
to civil justice. Civil actions rarely age well. Witness memories fade after four or five
years, documents go missing, parties change jobs, become ill, and occasionally pass
away. Moreover, Mr. Stile is not the only party in the lawsuit. He elected to file
claims against thirty-seven Defendants in the Somerset County case and twenty-one
in the Cumberland County case. Although a handful are institutional defendants,
almost all are individuals who are entitled to have the civil actions filed against them
resolved promptly so that they may go on with their lives.
The Court disagrees with Mr. Stile’s premise: to adequately respond to the
dispositive motions, he must have actual possession of the CD/DVDs. First, at least
as regards the CD/DVDs at Somerset County Jail, the Court carefully and
painstakingly viewed many, if not all, of them. See Stile v. United States, Order
Affirming the Recommended Decision of the Magistrate Judge on 28 U.S.C. § 2255
Mot. at 21-28, 1:11-cr-00185-JAW (ECF No. 692), 1:17-cv-00159-JAW. Mr. Stile
acknowledges that the Court itself has access to Defendant’s Video Exhibits 1-35, Pl.’s
Second Mot. at 2, and it is the Court’s recollection that the video exhibits contain
numerous distinct episodes. Mr. Stile has not clarified what exists in the CD/DVDs
that the Court has not already viewed or that the Court does not have access to.
Second, Mr. Stile merely asserts that there are seventy-five CD/DVDs he needs
to possess in order to file adequate responses. Pl.’s Mot. at 1 (“Plaintiff arrived here
at Allenwood with (75) seventy-five CD/DVD’s that are necessary resources to
compose and file his responses to dispositive motions in the above docketed cases”)
(emphasis in original). Mr. Stile does not say precisely what these seventy-five
CD/DVDs reveal or why they are necessary to present his defense to the dispositive
motions. He should know. He has possessed all seventy-five CD/DVDs at various
times since the early fall of 2017. But the Court is left to speculate what these
CD/DVDs contain that is so critical to Mr. Stile’s cases.
Third and most important, to the extent the CD/DVDs reveal actions within
each of the Jails concerning Mr. Stile (and it would be odd if they did not), Mr. Stile
was present and can posit through his own memory what occurred. He is a competent
witness of his own lived experience, and the CD/DVDs merely document what Mr.
Stile experienced. Put differently, if there were no CD/DVDs (as typically there are
not), if Mr. Stile was misused as he claims in the cell extractions, he could still testify
as to what happened to him. So the so-called missing CD/DVDs are not necessary to
resolve whether there are genuine issues of material fact that would preclude the
issuance of a judgment in favor of one or more of the Defendants.
In short, the Court will not delay its decisions on the pending dispositive
motions because of a dispute not relevant to the resolution of the motions that Mr.
Stile is having with the BOP.
The Court DENIES James Stile’s Motion for Judicial Intervention (ECF No.
242) (No. 2:14-cv-00406-JAW); (ECF No. 568) (No. 1:13-cv-00248-JAW) and his
Motion to Accept Partial Response to Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment
and Allow Record to Remain Open Without Ruling on Dispositive Motion Until
Remaining Response and Supplemental Listing of Missing Bate Stamped Exhibits
Are Filed with Court (ECF No. 573) (No. 1:13-cv-00248-JAW), and Plaintiff’s Motion
for Court to Obtain Bate Stamped Materials from Defendants that Plaintiff Cited in
his Responses to Dispositive Pleadings (ECF No. 247) (No. 2:14-cv-00406-JAW); (ECF
No. 593) (No. 1:13-cv-00248-JAW).
/s/ John A. Woodcock, Jr.
JOHN A. WOODCOCK, JR.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 4th day of September, 2018
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