United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ALEXYS C. HAWKINS, Plaintiff,
DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS et al., Defendants.
(1) OVERRULING DEFENDANTS' OBJECTIONS (ECF #39) TO THE
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION (ECF #35),
(2) ADOPTING THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S RECOMMENDED
DISPOSITION, AND (3) DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF #23)
MATTHEW F. LEITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
action, Plaintiff Alexys Hawkins claims that the Defendants,
the Detroit Public Schools and four Detroit Public Schools
Police Department police officers, used excessive force
against her when they arrested her on February 15, 2013.
(See Complaint, ECF #1.) On September 18, 2016, the
Defendants moved for summary judgment. (See ECF
#23.) Among other things, the Defendants argued that (1)
Hawkins' claims were barred by the United States Supreme
Court's decision in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S.
477 (1994), (2) Defendants were entitled to qualified
immunity, and (3) Hawkins could not establish municipal
liability with respect to Detroit Public Schools. (See
5, 2017, the assigned Magistrate Judge issued a Report and
Recommendation (the “R&R”) in which he
recommended that the Court deny Defendants' motion.
(See ECF #35.) Following an unsuccessful attempt to
resolve this dispute, Defendants filed timely objections to
the R&R on June 5, 2017. (See ECF #39.)
objections are deficient because they do not attempt to show
an error in the Magistrate Judge's analysis. In
fact, the objections never mention that analysis.
They refer to the R&R only in passing - with the sole
references being their requests that the Court “decline
the Magistrate Judge's recommendation”
(see, e.g., Objections, ECF #39 at Pg. ID
870) - without ever addressing the substance of the
Magistrate Judge's reasoning. And the objections do not
address most of the case law upon which the Magistrate Judge
relied. Instead of attempting to show how and where the
Magistrate Judge erred, Defendants repeat, in many instances
verbatim, the same factual background and legal argument
sections that were presented in the motion papers and reply.
(Compare, e.g., Summary Judgment Mot., ECF
#23 at Pg. ID 226-236, 241-42, and 869-70 to Objections, ECF
#39 at Pg. ID 857-866, 869-70, and 876; and Summary Judgment
Reply Br., ECF #30 at Pg. ID 768-69 to Objections, ECF #39 at
Pg. ID 868-69.).
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has
held, where a party presents objections that do “not
specifically address how [a] report's factual and legal
recommendations [are] incorrect, ” those objections are
“waived.” Fields v. Lapeer 71-A
District Court Clerk, 2 Fed. App'x 481, 482 (6th
Cir. 2001). Indeed, where an objecting party fails to focus
the district court's attention on a specific flaw in the
Magistrate Judge's analysis, “the initial reference
to the magistrate [ends up being] useless. The functions of
the district court are effectively duplicated as both the
magistrate and the district court perform identical tasks.
This duplication of time and effort wastes judicial resources
rather than saving them, and runs contrary to the purposes of
the Magistrates Act.” Howard v. Sec'y of Health
and Human Svcs., 932 F.2d 505, 509 (6th Cir. 2001).
Because Defendants have failed to address the Magistrate
Judge's analysis, the Court deems their objections
ineffective and waived. See Potter v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 2015 WL 452173, at *4 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 3, 2015)
(holding objections to report and recommendation were waived
where objections were “nothing more than a
re-submission of [plaintiff's] original motion for
summary judgment” and did not address reasoning of the
objections suffer from an additional flaw: they have
introduced a new argument that was not included in their
motion papers and reply. The new argument relates to
Defendants' qualified immunity defense. In
Defendants' motion papers, they argued that they were
entitled to qualified immunity in part because
Plaintiff's testimony about the conduct of the Defendants
at her criminal trial was speculative. (See Summary
Judgment Mot, ECF #23 at Pg. ID 244-45.) In Defendants'
objections, they argue that they are entitled to qualified
immunity for a different reason: because the
officers “were faced with a rapidly evolving, tense and
uncertain chaotic scenario where they were severally
outnumbered and students were pushing, running and fighting
all over the school.” (Objections, ECF #39 at Pg. ID
875.) The Court sees no compelling reason to permit
Defendants to raise this new argument in their objections,
and thus the Court declines to consider it. See
Murr v. United States, 200 F.3d 895, 902 n.1 (6th
Cir. 2000) (noting that “[c]ourts have held that while
the Magistrate Judge Act, 28 U.S.C. § 631 et
seq., permits de novo review by the
district court if timely objections are filed, absent
compelling reasons, it does not allow parties to raise at the
district court stage new arguments or issues that were not
presented to the magistrate”).
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants' objections to the
Magistrate Judge's R&R (ECF #39) are OVERRULED. IT IS
FURTHER ORDERED that the Magistrate Judge's recommended
disposition of Defendants' motion for ...