United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER
T. NEFF United States District Judge
before the Court are the parties' objections to an
October 27, 2016 Report and Recommendation (R&R, Dkt 285)
and a November 1, 2016 Report and Recommendation (R&R,
Dkt 286) of the Magistrate Judge. In accordance with 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3), the Court
has performed de novo consideration of those portions of the
Reports and Recommendations to which objections were made.
For the reasons that follow, the Court denies the objections
and approves and adopts both Reports and Recommendations.
filed this case on April 11, 2014, alleging that Defendant
Chad Curtis sexually assaulted Plaintiffs while Curtis was a
substitute teacher and worked in Lakewood High School's
weight room. Defendant Curtis was convicted by a jury of six
charges of criminal sexual conduct involving three of the
four Plaintiffs and is currently serving a 7-15 year prison
sentence (Dkt 1, Compl. ¶ 3). Against Defendant Curtis,
Plaintiffs allege Battery (Count I) and Intentional
Infliction of Severe Emotional Distress (IIED) (Count II).
Against Defendant Lakewood Public Schools and Defendant
Lakewood Public Schools Board of Education, whom the
Magistrate Judge collectively references as “the
Lakewood Defendants, ” Plaintiffs allege a Violation of
the Educational Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), 20 U.S.C.
§ 1981 et seq. (Count III). Last, against
Defendant Lakewood Public Schools, Defendant Lakewood Public
Schools Board of Education and “James Roes 1-10,
” Plaintiffs allege a violation of Plaintiffs'
constitutional rights, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(Count IV). The Lakewood Defendants and the ten unidentified
individuals, in turn, filed a Third-Party Complaint against
Defendant Professional Contract Management, Inc. (PCMI) (Dkt
September 18, 2015, Plaintiffs filed a “Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment Against Defendant Curtis on
Liability” (Dkt 122), arguing that Curtis'
“criminal convictions established certain facts beyond
a reasonable doubt which also establish each and every fact
necessary to prove liability against Defendant Curtis on
these [civil] claims, leaving only damages and the extent of
Plaintiffs' emotional distress to be resolved by
trial” (Dkt 123 at 2-3). On December 8, 2015, the
Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation,
recommending that this Court grant Plaintiffs' motion as
to their Battery claims but deny the motion as to their IIED
claims (R&R, Dkt 190 at 9). This Court subsequently
denied Plaintiffs' objections and adopted the Magistrate
Judge's Report and Recommendation (Op. & Order, Dkt
March 2016, the parties filed the following three dispositive
motions: Third-Party Defendant PCMI's Motion for Summary
Judgment (Dkt 214), the Lakewood Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment (Dkt 215), and Plaintiffs' Motion for
Summary Judgment (Dkt 217). On October 27, 2016, the
Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation (R&R,
Dkt 285), recommending that Third-Party Defendant PCMI's
motion be granted. On November 1, 2016, the Magistrate Judge
issued another Report and Recommendation (R&R, Dkt 286),
recommending that the Lakewood Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment be granted in part and denied in part, and
Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment be denied. Now
pending before the Court are the Lakewood Defendants'
November 10, 2016 objections (Dkt 287), to which PCMI filed a
response (Dkt 295); Plaintiffs' November 15, 2016
objections (Dkt 289), to which the Lakewood Defendants filed
a response (Dkt 296); and the Lakewood Defendants'
November 15, 2016 objections (Dkt 290), to which Plaintiffs
filed a response (Dkt 297).
A. Standard of Review
judge may designate a magistrate judge to hear and determine
any pretrial matter pending before the court, ” with
certain exceptions, including “a motion ... for summary
judgment.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). “[A]
judge may also designate a magistrate judge to conduct
hearings, including evidentiary hearings, and to submit to a
judge of the court proposed findings of fact and
recommendations for the disposition, by a judge of the court,
of any motion excepted in subparagraph (A). . .” 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B).
fourteen days after being served with a copy, any party may
serve and file written objections to such proposed findings
and recommendations as provided by rules of court.” 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). See also Fed. R. Civ. P.
72(b)(2) (Objections). “Any party may respond to
another party's objections within fourteen (14) days
after being served with a copy thereof.” W.D. Mich.
LCivR 72.3(b) (Review of case-dispositive motions). “A
judge of the court shall make a de novo determination of
those portions of the report or specified proposed findings
or recommendations to which objection is made. A judge of the
court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
findings or recommendations made by the magistrate
judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). See also
Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3) (Resolving Objections).
October 27, 2016 Report and Recommendation (Dkt 285)
Magistrate Judge recommends that this Court grant Third-Party
Defendant PCMI's motion for summary judgment of the
Third-Party Complaint. The Magistrate Judge reasoned that to
the extent that the Lakewood Defendants face liability in
this matter under Title IX for failure to properly respond to
Curtis' misconduct, their liability is the result of the
wrongful acts by the District, its employees or agents, and
the express terms of the parties' indemnification
agreement renders the promise of indemnity inapplicable to
liability that results from wrongful acts by the District or
its employees or agents (Dkt 285 at PageID.4835).
their objections, the Lakewood Defendants assert that the
Magistrate Judge erred in failing to “construe
broadly” the contract language (Dkt 287 at
PageID.4871-4872). The Lakewood Defendants assert that their
wrongful conduct, if any, is, in fact, “related
to” Curtis' misconduct inasmuch as but for
Curtis' misconduct, the Lakewood Defendants “would
not have had to take any steps to investigate or rectify his
misconduct” (id. at
Lakewood Defendants' objection is properly denied.
Magistrate Judge considered the Lakewood Defendants'
contract construction arguments, which were thoroughly
presented in the underlying motion papers. The Lakewood
Defendants' objection demonstrates only their
disagreement with the Magistrate Judge's analysis, and
not any factual or legal error by the Magistrate Judge.
Accordingly, the objection supplies no basis for rejecting
the Magistrate Judge's recommendation to grant PCMI's
November 1, 2016 Report and Recommendation (Dkt 286)