United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
STEPHANIE DAWKINS DAVIS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
AND ORDER (I) DENYING DEFENDANTS' OBJECTIONS TO
MAGISTRATE JUDGE DAVIS'S JUNE 16. 2016 ORDER FECF NO.
167). (2) AFFIRMING THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S JUNE 16. 2016
ORDER. (3) DEEMING PHASE I OF DISCOVERY COMPLETE AND
AUTHORIZING STATE FARM TO ISSUE THE REQUESTED THIRD PARTY
BANK SUBPOENAS AND (4) SETTING STATUS CONFERENCE FOR TUESDAY.
NOVEMBER 1.2016 AT 2:00 P.M.
D. BORMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendants Amale Bazzi and Pointe Physical
Therapy, LLC's Partial Objection to Magistrate Judge
Davis's June 16, 2016 Order Denying Motion for Leave to
Issue Subpoenas Under Phase I Discovery. (ECF No. 169,
Objections; ECF No. 167, 6/16/16 Order.) Plaintiff State Farm
Mutual Automobile Insurance Company ("State Farm")
filed a Response to the Partial Objection (ECF No. 171) and
Defendants filed a Reply (ECF No. 173). Having reviewed the
Order and the Objections pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a) and
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), the Court concludes that
Magistrate Judge Davis's rulings were neither clearly
erroneous nor contrary to law and therefore DENIES
Defendants' Partial Objection and AFFIRMS the Magistrate
Court further Orders that Phase I of the discovery schedule,
as contemplated by Magistrate Judge Hluchaniuk's October
5, 2015 Order (ECF No. 138), is sufficiently complete and
authorizes the parties to immediately proceed with full
discovery without further "phasing." With respect
to specific individual patient information, discovery shall
continue to be limited to the original 209 patients listed in
State Farm's Complaint. The Court further Orders that
State Farm may proceed to issue the third-party bank
subpoenas as requested in their Motion for Clarification (ECF
No. 147). Finally, the Court sets a status conference for
Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. to finalize the
remaining scheduling order dates in this matter.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 72(a) both provide that a district judge must
modify or set aside any portion of a magistrate judge's
non-dispositive pretrial order found to be "clearly
erroneous or contrary to law." 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(A); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a). The United States Supreme
Court and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals have stated that
"a finding is 'clearly erroneous'when although
there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the
entire evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction
that a mistake has been committed." United States v.
U.S. Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948) (explaining
the clearly erroneous standard under Rule 52(a)); Hagaman
v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue, 958 F.2d 684, 690
(6th Cir. 1992) (quoting U.S. Gypsum Co.). See also
United States v. Mandycz, 200 F.R.D. 353, 356 (E.D.
Mich. 2001) (explaining the standard under Rule 72(a)).
standard does not empower a reviewing court to reverse the
Magistrate Judge's finding because it would have decided
the matter differently. Anderson v. City of Bessemer
City, N. C, 470 U.S. 564, 573 (1985) (interpreting the
clearly erroneous standard in Rule 52(a)). The Sixth Circuit
has noted that: "[t]he question is not whether the
finding is the best or only conclusion that can be drawn from
the evidence, or whether it is the one which the reviewing
court would draw. Rather, the test is whether there is
evidence in the record to support the lower court's
finding, and whether its construction of that evidence is a
reasonable one." Heights Cmty. Cong. v. Hilltop
Realty, Inc., 774 F.2d 135, 140 (6th Cir. 1985).
'clearly erroneous' standard applies only to the
magistrate judge's factual findings; his legal
conclusions are reviewed under the plenary 'contrary to
law' standard. . . . Therefore, [the reviewing court]
must exercise independent judgment with respect to the
magistrate judge's conclusions of law." Haworth,
Inc. v. Herman Miller, Inc., 162F.R.D.289, 291
(W.D.Mich. 1995) (citing Gandee v. Glaser, 785
F.Supp. 684, 686 (S.D. Ohio 1992)). '"An order is
contrary to law when it fails to apply or misapplies relevant
statutes, case law, or rules of procedure."'
Mattox v. Edelman, No. 12-13762, 2014 WL 4829583, at
*2 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 29, 2014) (quoting Ford Motor Co. v.
United States, No. 08-12960, 2009 WL 2922875, at *1
(E.D. Mich. Sept. 9, 2009)).
initial matter, the Court notes that the Defendants'
"partial objection" is really not an objection at
all. As Defendants concede in their Reply, "[b]y
partially objecting to Magistrate Judge Davis's Order,
defendants simply hoped to educate the Court on the issues
yet to be resolved in Phase One." This is an improper
objection and served only to convince the Court, as discussed
below, that any further "phasing" of discovery in
this case will result in an inefficient expenditure of both
the parties' and the Court's time and resources.
Accordingly, the Court AFFIRMS Magistrate Judge Davis's
June 16, 2016 Order Denying Motion for Leave to Issue
Subpoenas Under Phase I Discovery and issues the following
party filed objections to Magistrate Judge Hluchaniuk's
October 5, 2015 Order phasing discovery in this matter, and
the parties proceeded to engage in discovery under the terms
of that Order for approximately eight months before State
Farm filed the Motion for Clarification that is the subject
of these Objections. From a review of Defendants'
responses to State Farm's First Sets of Interrogatories
and Document Requests, see, e.g., ECF No. 171, State
Farm's Response to Objections Exs. 3-7, which nearly
uniformly object that each request seeks information outside
the scope of Magistrate Judge Hluchaniuk's Order, it is
clear to the Court that further "phasing" will no
longer serve to facilitate discovery and streamline the
progress of this case.
the Court agrees with Magistrate Judge Davis that it is time
for the "next phase" of discovery and concludes
that "Phase I" is satisfactorily complete. The
Court ORDERS that full discovery may commence immediately,
still limited with respect to specific patient information to
the 209 patients identified in State Farm's Complaint.
as Defendants have not objected to that portion of Magistrate
Judge Davis's Order concluding that the third-party
subpoenas that State Farm seeks to issue are relevant and not
unduly burdensome, and therefore appropriate for the
"next phase" of discovery, the Court ORDERS that
State Farm may proceed with issuance of the ...