United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Steven Whalen United States Magistrate Judge
OPINION AND ORDER AFFIRMING MAGISTRATE JUDGE
WHALEN'S MAY 5, 2017 ORDER  AND OVERRULING
PLAINTIFF'S AND DEFENDANTS' OBJECTIONS [38,
Gershwin A. Drain United States District Court Judge
matter came before the Court on Plaintiff's and
Defendants' May 22, 2017 objections to Magistrate Judge
R. Steven Whalen's May 5, 2017 Order Granting In Part And
Denying In Part Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery.
See Dkt. Nos. 34, 38, 39. Defendants Henry Ford
Health System and Henry Ford Hospital filed a response to
Plaintiff's objections on June 5, 2017. Dkt. No. 43. No
oral argument was heard.
reasons stated herein, the Court will AFFIRM
Magistrate Judge Whalen's order and
OVERRULE Plaintiff's and Defendants'
objections [38, 39].
Standard of Review
72(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits a party
to submit objections to a magistrate judge's ruling on
non-dispositive matters, such as discovery orders.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). While Rule
72(b) provides a timeline in which a party may respond to
opposing counsel's objections to a ruling on a
dispositive matter, Rule 72(a) does not state that a response
may be filed to objections. Compare Fed. R. Civ. P.
72(a) with Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b). “When an
objection is filed to a magistrate judge's ruling on a
non- dispositive motion, the ruling remains in full force and
effect unless and until it is stayed by the magistrate judge
or a district judge.” E.D. Mich. LR 72.2.
non-dispositive matter, the review of a magistrate's
discovery order is properly governed by the “clearly
erroneous or contrary to law” standard of review.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a). The United States Supreme Court and the
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit have
both held 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)); United States v. Mabry,
518 F.3d 442, 449 (6th Cir. 2008) (quoting U.S.
Gypsum, 333 U.S. at 395). This standard does not allow a
reviewing court to reverse a magistrate judge's finding
merely because it would have decided the matter differently.
Sedgwick Ins. v. F.A.B.E. Custom Downstream Sys.,
Inc., 47 F.Supp.3d 536, 538 (E.D. Mich. 2014). See
also 12 Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller &
Richard L. Marcus, Federal Practice and Procedure § 3069
(2d ed. 1997) (“In sum, it is extremely difficult to
justify alteration of the magistrate judge's
nondispositive actions by the district judge.”).
‘clearly erroneous' standard applies only to the
magistrate judge's factual findings; his legal
conclusions are reviewed under the plenary ‘contrary to
law' standard.” Sedgwick Ins., 47
F.Supp.3d at 538 (quoting Haworth, Inc. v. Herman Miller,
Inc., 162 F.R.D. 289, 291 (W.D. Mich. 1995)). The
Court's review under the “contrary to law”
standard requires the exercise of independent judgment in
determining whether the magistrate judge's legal
conclusions “contradict or ignore applicable precepts
of law, as found in the Constitution, statutes, or case
precedent.” Gandee v. Glaser, 785 F.Supp. 684,
686 (S.D. Ohio 1992), aff'd, 19 F.3d 1432 (6th
Cir. 1994) (quoting Adolph Coors Co. v. Wallace, 570
F.Supp. 202, 205 (N.D. Cal. 1983)).
13, 2016, Plaintiff served his First Set of Interrogatories
and First Request for Production of Documents upon
Defendants. Dkt. No. 23, p. 2 (Pg. ID 115). In
Interrogatories 12, 13, and 14 Plaintiff demanded that
Defendants provide information regarding other medical
professions that tested positive for drugs and alcohol, had
their drug administration investigated, or were referred to
the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) instead of being
terminated. Id. at 11. Defendants objected to these
Interrogatories on the basis that they were “overly
broad, ambiguous and seek information that is confidential
and neither relevant nor calculated to lead to the discovery
of relevant admissible information.” Dkt. No. 23-2, pp.
14-16 (Pg. ID 159-61). When Plaintiff filed a motion to
compel Defendants to answer the Interrogatories, Dkt. No. 23,
Defendants argued that the requests were overly broad,
irrelevant, and unduly burdensome. Dkt. No. 26, pp. 9-14 (Pg.
April 11, 2017, Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen held a
hearing on the motion to compel and granted in part and
denied in part the motion on the record. Dkt. No. 36. On May
5, 2017, Magistrate Judge Whalen ordered Defendants to
provide responses to Interrogatories Nos. 12, 13, and 14,
with the following limitations:
(1) “Medical personnel” means providers of
medical services who have direct patient contact at Henry
Ford Hospital's main campus and the four ambulatory
centers where Plaintiff worked, who were so employed from
January, 2013 to the present, and who are ...