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Annabel v. Frost

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

December 28, 2017

Robert Annabel, Plaintiff,
v.
Jack Frost, et al., Defendants.

          R. Steven Whalen, U.S. Magistrate Judge.

         ORDER OVERRULING IN PART AND SUSTAINING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS [117, 118, 133] TO MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S ORDERS [105, 106, 108, 126]; REQUIRING THAT PLAINTIFF BE PROVIDED WITH A COPY OF HIS DEPOSITION TRANSCRIPT; AND PROVISIONALLY GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL [80]

          Arthur J. Tarnow, Senior U.S. District Judge.

         Plaintiff Robert Annabel has filed several objections to the Magistrate Judge's orders. For the reasons stated below, the Court OVERRULES in part and SUSTAINS in part Plaintiff's objections. Furthermore, the Court orders that Plaintiff be provided with a copy of his deposition transcript. Finally, the Court provisionally GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion to Appoint Counsel.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff filed a Motion for Appointment of Counsel [80] on January 31, 2017. Defendants filed a Motion for Leave to Take the Deposition of the Plaintiff [83] on February 7, 2017. Plaintiff filed a Motion to Strike Defendants' Motion for Leave to Depose [85] on February 22, 2017.

         On July 25, 2017, the Magistrate Judge denied Plaintiff's Motion for Appointment of Counsel [105] and granted Defendants' Motion for Leave to Take Deposition of Plaintiff [106]. On July 30, 2017, the Magistrate Judge denied Plaintiff's Motion to Strike [108].

         On August 8, 2017, Plaintiff filed objections[1] [117, 118] to orders [105, 106, 108].

         Plaintiff filed a Motion for Recusal of Magistrate Judge [115] on August 15, 2017. On September 13, 2017, the Magistrate Judge denied Plaintiff's Motion for Recusal [126]. Plaintiff filed Objections [133] to the Order on September 28, 2017.

         On October 3, 2017, the Sixth Circuit held that it does not have jurisdiction over appeal Nos. 17-1927 and 17-1928 (the objections raised in Appeal of Magistrate Judge Decision [117, 118]). Annabel v. Frost, No. 15-1518, (6th Cir. Oct. 3, 2017).

         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 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).

         ANALYSIS

         I. Plaintiff's Objections to Discovery Orders

         In their Motion to Take Deposition [83], Defendants argued that they are entitled to take Plaintiff's deposition because Plaintiff alleged that Defendants retaliated against them in violation of the First Amendment.

         In response, Plaintiff argued that Defendants are not entitled to take his deposition and that the Motion was “Mr. Thurber's latest act to relentlessly harass Plaintiff.” [Dkt. #85 at 1]. Should the Court decide to order the deposition, Plaintiff requested to: have the deposition supervised on live video “so that a federal judge can restrain harassing or unfair tactics, and also rule immediately upon Plaintiff's objections;” be permitted to “depose all five defendants;” and receive a deposition transcript. Id. at 2-3.

         The Magistrate Judge granted Defendants' Motion and denied Plaintiff's Motion. [Dkt. #106; #108]. The Magistrate Judge explained that “any defendant, including these Defendants, get to depose a plaintiff.” [Dkt. #108]. The Magistrate Judge further explained that “[b]ecause Plaintiff is incarcerated, leave of the court is required to take his deposition” under Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(a)(2). Id.

         In the aforementioned orders, the Magistrate Judge did not rule on ...


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