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Owusu v. Michigan Department of Corrections Pain Management Committee

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

February 8, 2018

Nathaniel K. Owusu, Plaintiff,
v.
Michigan Department of Corrections Pain Management Committee, Corizon Health, Inc., William C. Borgerding, Keith Papendick, Craig Hutchinson, Timothy Kangas, Teri Byrne, Corey Grahn, Bryan D. Buller, Teresa Merling, Michael A. Millette, Susan N. Wilson, Danielle M. Paquette, Brown, Heather Haapala, Oliver L. Johnston, and Connie D. Lester, Defendants.

          Mona K. Majzoub Mag. Judge.

          ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [95]

          JUDITH E. LEVY United States District Judge.

         On September 5, 2017, Magistrate Judge Mona K. Majzoub issued a Report and Recommendation (Dkt. 95) that recommended the Court: deny the Corizon defendants' (Corizon Health, Inc., Papendick, Hutchinson, Buller, Grahn, Wilson, and Paquette) motion to dismiss

         (Dkt. 37), grant the Michigan Department of Corrections (“MDOC”) defendants' (MDOC Pain Management Committee, Kangas, Byrne, Merling, Brown, Haapala, and Lester) motion to sever (Dkt. 60) as to Claims VIII and XI of the complaint and deny it as to all other claims, deny plaintiff Nathaiel K. Owusu's motion for default judgment (Dkt. 66) and motion to strike (Dkt. 69), and deny as moot the MDOC defendants' motion for a protective order. (Dkt. 75.)

         Also pending are the Corizon defendants' motion for leave to file an untimely reply in support of their objections (Dkt. 114), and plaintiff's motion to strike the motion for leave to file an untimely reply. (Dkt. 116.)

         I. Background

         The parties do not object to the factual background set forth in the Report and Recommendation. (Dkt. 95 at 3-4.) Accordingly, the Court adopts that background in its analysis.

         II. Standard

         After a Magistrate Judge issues a Report and Recommendation, “[w]ithin fourteen days after being served with a copy, any party may serve and file written objections to such proposed findings and recommendations as provided by rules of court. A judge of the court shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made. A judge of the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge. The judge may also receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b).

         III. Analysis

         Plaintiff has filed a single objection: that the Report and Recommendation erred in severing Claims VIII and XI asserted against defendants Kangas, Haapala, and Lester. (Dkt. 100.)

         The Corizon defendants have filed three objections: (1) the Magistrate Judge erred in concluding that plaintiff's claims were not barred by res judicata; (2) the Magistrate Judge erred in concluding that plaintiff stated a claim for civil conspiracy; and (3) the Magistrate Judge erred in holding that Corizon Health and the Michigan Department of Corrections are not the same entity. (Dkt. 98.)

         A. Motion to File an Untimely Reply

         Defendants' reply regarding their objections was filed on December 6, 2017, in their motion seeking leave to file the reply. (Dkt. 114.) The reply was due on or before October 2, 2017. Defendants' only reason for filing the reply over two months late was “an inadvertent error or oversight.” (Id. at 2.) Defendants are represented by experienced counsel, and fail to offer any reason why the Court should excuse a two-month delay in filing their reply, particularly when these same defendants filed a motion for the Court to sanction plaintiff on October 17, 2017 (Dkt. 109), and a reply in support of that motion on November 13, 2017 (Dkt. 113), which shows that defendants and their counsel were paying attention to this matter several weeks before they realized their reply was untimely. The Court will deny defendants' motion for leave to file their untimely reply, and deny plaintiff's motion to strike defendants' motion for leave (Dkt. 116) as moot.

         B. The Magistrate Judge Did Not Err in Granting The Motion to Sever as to Kangas, Haapala, and Lester

         Plaintiff objects that Claim VIII, in which he alleges that Kangas retaliated against him for exercising his First Amendment right to use his legal name and have that name reflected in his medical records (Dkt. 1 at 101-109), and Claim XI, in which he alleges that Haapala and Lester denied him access to his medical records. (Dkt. 1-1 at 28-38.) Plaintiff argues that these claims arose out of the same transactions or occurrences as his medical care claims, which make up the bulk of his complaint.

         The majority of plaintiff's complaint concerns a conspiracy between the defendants to deny him necessary medical care from 2010 through the filing of the lawsuit. (Dkt. 1 at 8.) Claims VIII and XI do not concern this conspiracy, but instead other discrete acts governed by different legal standards from plaintiff's denial-of-care claims that occurred during the period in which plaintiff alleges that he was also denied medical care. As the Magistrate Judge correctly stated in her analysis, claims that involve distinct factual scenarios, different time periods, and different legal standards should be severed from a ...


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