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Jennings v. Crompton

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

January 3, 2018




         This is a Section 1983 civil rights action with a number of matters currently pending before the Court. The first is a Report and Recommendation by the Magistrate Judge that identifies a case that may be related, as defined by local rules, to the instant suit, and recommends the case be reassigned to the undersigned. The second is a separate Report and Recommendation that recommends granting Defendant Crompton's Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim, the sole claim remaining in this case. The third and fourth matters are a motion filed by Plaintiff entitled “Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment Pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 56(a)” (ECF No. 96) and a letter request by Plaintiff docketed by the Clerk as a “MOTION for order directing the law library to make copies.” (ECF No. 97). Plaintiff has filed an Objection to the two Reports and Recommendations, and Defendant has entered a Response. All matters are ripe for decision.

         For reasons stated more fully below, the Court will reject the Magistrate Judge's recommendation to reassign the related case, but will overrule Plaintiff's Objection and adopt the Magistrate's recommendation to grant Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. The two pending motions from Plaintiff will also be denied. In the motions, Plaintiff restates and expands upon his argument in opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, asks this Court to reconsider an earlier Order dismissing two Defendants from this action, and seeks an Order compelling the law library at the facility where Plaintiff is currently housed to make certain photocopies. All these arguments are without merit, and can be addressed in the discussion of the Magistrate's Reports and Recommendations.


         Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, where, as here, a party has objected to portions of a Report and Recommendation, “[t]he district judge . . . has a duty to reject the magistrate judge's recommendation unless, on de novo reconsideration, he or she finds it justified.” 12 Wright, Miller, & Marcus, Federal Practice and Procedure § 3070.2, at 381 (2d ed.1997). Specifically, the Rules provide that:

[t]he district judge must determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly objected to. The district judge may accept, reject, or modify the recommended disposition; receive further evidence; or return the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3). De novo review in these circumstances requires at least a review of the evidence before the Magistrate Judge. Hill v. Duriron Co., 656 F.2d 1208, 1215 (6th Cir. 1981).The Court has reviewed de novo the claims and evidence presented to the Magistrate Judge; the Report and Recommendation itself; Plaintiff's Objections, Defendant's Reponses, and Plaintiff's Motions.


         1. The Magistrate's Report and Recommendation to Reassign Case

         The Magistrate Judge's first Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 92) recommends reassigning Jennings v. Crompton, No. 1:16-cv-1218 (W.D. Mich.), another matter in this district, to the undersigned under local court rule. The matter is presently assigned to the Honorable Paul Maloney. W.D. Mich. L. Civ. R. 3.3.1(d)(iii)(A) provides that:

Cases are deemed related when a filed case arises out of the same transaction or occurrence and involves one or more of the same parties as a pending suit . . .

         and W.D. Mich. L. Civ. R. 3.3.1(d)(iii)(B) further states:

. . . If cases are found to be related cases after assignment to different judges, they may be reassigned by the Chief Judge to the judge having the related case earlier filed.

         Though Plaintiff does not have a discernable objection to this Report and Recommendation, the Court respectfully disagrees with the Magistrate Judge that the latter filed case should be reassigned to the undersigned. Plaintiff is an active litigant who has filed several cases (in addition to these two) in this district, all of which contain at least some allegation relating to Plaintiff's medical care buried within broader unrelated disputes.[1] Though this case and the latter action perhaps contain larger factual overlaps, the Court does not believe reassignment is necessary nor would it promote judicial economy. For one thing, the procedural history in both cases is well developed. Both Judge Maloney and the undersigned have made ...

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