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Jones v. Barnhart

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

June 8, 2017

John W. Jones, Plaintiff,
v.
Patricia Barnhardt, Defendant.

          ANTHONY P. PATTI U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE .

         ORDER OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTION TO MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STRIKE DEFENDANT'S ANSWER TO AMENDED COMPLAINT [170]; ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [174]; GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [140]; DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [141]; OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTION TO THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [175]

          Arthur J. Tarnow Senior United States District Judge.

         Defendant Barnhart filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on February 13, 2017 [140]. Plaintiff filed a response on March 7, 2017 [161] and Defendant replied on March 21, 2017 [166]. Plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on February 13, 2017 [141]. Defendant responded on March 6, 2017 [157]. A hearing was held before the Magistrate Judge on April 19, 2017. The Magistrate issued a Report and Recommendation (R&R) on May 11, 2017 [174], recommending that the Court grant Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and dismiss Plaintiff's case in its entirety on the bases of failure to exhaust administrative remedies and qualified immunity.

         Plaintiff filed an objection on May 14, 2017 [175], stating that their objection was based on the arguments presented in their Appeal of the Order denying Plaintiff's Motion to Strike the Answer and Affirmative Defenses [170] filed on May 2, 2017. Plaintiff concedes that, if the Appeal is not granted the Court should affirm the R&R. Defendant did not file a response to the objection to the Magistrate's Order to Strike or to the objection to the R&R. For the reasons stated below, Plaintiff's objection is OVERRULED and the Court ADOPTS the R&R, GRANTING Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [140] and dismissing Plaintiff's case in its entirety on the bases of failure to exhaust administrative remedies and qualified immunity.

         1. Plaintiff's Objection to the Magistrate's Order Denying Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Defendant's Answer to Amended Complaint [170]

         Procedural History

         The Magistrate Judge summarized the background of the case as follows:

In relevant part, Plaintiff filed his initial complaint on May 26, 2010 and was granted leave to file an amended complaint on August 22, 2013. (DE 59.) On December 3, 2013, Defendant Barnhart-at one time the acting Warden of Thumb Correctional Facility-filed her first motion for summary judgment, incorporating by reference the motion for summary judgment previously filed by the other Defendants in the action, which asserted that Plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under the Eighth Amendment, improperly asserted individual liability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and that Defendants were entitled to qualified immunity. (DE 63.) The Court denied the motion on September 15, 2014 because it was filed in response to Plaintiff's initial complaint and not the active pleading. (DE 81.) Defendant Barnhart, with Court approval, filed a second motion for summary judgment on March 25, 2014, asserting the same arguments as her previous motion, which was denied on March 26, 2015. (DE 70 and 97.) She filed her third motion for summary judgment on February 16, 2016, and withdrew the motion on July 26, 2016, following the order of assignment of counsel issued on May 4, 2016, appointing attorney Daniel E. Manville as counsel for Plaintiff. (DE 109, 118, and 122.) Defendant Barnhart filed her fourth motion for summary judgment on February 13, 2017 and it awaits the Court's review. (DE 140.) She argues that the case is barred by the applicable statute of limitations, that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, that she is entitled to qualified immunity, and that there is no personal liability under the ADA.
On February 17, 2017, Plaintiff filed a request for clerk's entry of default and motion for default judgment, asserting that Defendant Barnhart had failed to file an answer in this matter. (DE 145 and 146.) Later that day, Defendant Barnhart filed an answer and the clerk denied the entry of default. (DE 147 and 151.) Plaintiff withdrew his motion for default judgment on February 18, 2017. (DE 150.)

[169 at 1-2].

         Standard Of Review

         When a litigant objects to a magistrate judge's ruling on a non-dispositive pretrial matter, the court may “modify or set aside any part of the order that is clearly erroneous or is contrary to law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a). The “clearly erroneous” standard does not permit a district court to reverse the magistrate judge's finding simply because it would have decided the issue differently. Anderson v. City of Bessemer, N.C., 470 U.S. 564, 573 (1985). Rather, a “finding is ‘clearly erroneous' when, although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the ...


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