United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Steven Whalen, Magistrate Judge.
ORDER OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS AND
DISMISSING AS MOOT PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR REHEARING
J. MICHELSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Walker worked at a Michigan Menards. Walker was fired. Walker
believed racial prejudice motivated his termination. So
Walker sued his supervisor, Jeremy Stokes, and Menards, Inc.
Walker's complaint raised a single Title VII claim. His
case was referred to the Magistrate Judge for all pretrial
time, Stokes and Menards moved to dismiss pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and the Federal Arbitration
Act, 9 U.S.C. § 1, et seq. (ECF No. 23.) In a
thoughtful and well-reasoned opinion, Executive Magistrate
Judge R. Steven Whalen issued a report recommending the Court
grant Defendants' motion, dismiss Walker's complaint,
and issue an order compelling arbitration. (ECF No. 31,
PageID.143.) Walker asked for more time to file objections to
the report (ECF No.33), extra time was granted, but Walker
did not docket his objections within the extra time allowed.
So the Court entered an order adopting the report and
dismissing Walker's complaint and issued an order
compelling arbitration. (ECF No. 35.)
after the Court entered judgment, Walker's objections
appeared on the docket. To be sure, Walker's objections
were late, and he was given notice that failure to timely
object would amount to a waiver. (ECF No. 31, PageID.
143-145.) However, the date on Walker's objections
indicates they may have been timely had Walker been able to
electronically file them. That, combined with the fact that
Walker is pro se and his objections do not change the result,
prompt the Court to consider Walker's late objections.
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.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b).
mounts two objections. And they require some context. While
working for Menards, Walker signed two Employer/Employee
agreements. (See ECF No. 23-2.) The first was in
October 2015 and the second in July 2016. (Id.) Both
contained the same arbitration clause. (Id.) So
Walker says the Employer/Employee agreements violate the
Constitution and Menards' handling of the agreements, in
Walker's case, violates the Americans With Disabilities
with Walker's ADA objection. Walker says Menards and
Stokes each knew about his learning disability. And each knew
Walker's learning disability impacted his reading
comprehension skills. So Walker never comprehended the
Employee/Employer agreements because neither Menards nor
Stokes provided a reasonable accommodation when Walker signed
the agreements. And as a result, Walker never understood the
contract which contained the arbitration clause.
bottom, Walker's objection amounts to a new cause of
action. And neither law nor procedure allow litigants to make
one case before the magistrate judge only to turn around and
mount a different case before the district judge.
See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C) (requiring
litigants to direct objections to specific portions of the
report and recommendation); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b) (providing an
opportunity for litigants to make “specific
objections” to “proposed findings and
recommendations”). So Walker's objection is
overruled on that basis alone.
even on its merits, Walker's ADA argument does not alter
the result. To be sure, where the parties spar over whether a
contract requires the parties to litigate in federal court or
go before an arbitrator, a dispute over contract formation is
an issue the federal court can referee. See Local 1982,
Int'l Longshoremen's Ass'n v. Midwest Terminals
of Toledo, Int'l, Inc., 560 Fed.Appx. 529, 538-39
(6th Cir. 2014). And it appears Walker argues he lacked the
reading comprehension skills to understand the
Employer/Employee agreement. So he never entered into a
contract with Menards. However, the report and recommendation
thoroughly, and correctly, analyzed Walker's reading
comprehension skills. (See ECF No. 31, PageID.137-139.) And
the Court adopts that reasoning. So to the extent
Walker's objections challenge contract formation, they
same goes for Walker's second objection. Walker says
Menards' Employee/Employer agreements violate state and
federal law for a number of reasons. (ECF No. 37,
PageID.169-172.) Because the agreements violate state and
federal law, Walker says the Court should void the agreements
containing the arbitration clause and allow his case to
proceed in federal court.
Walker's argument is involved, the Court need not linger
on it. As Magistrate Judge Whalen noted, any concern about
the “validity” of the contract containing the
arbitration clause is an issue to be first addressed by an
arbitrator. Local 1982, Int'l Longshoremen's
Ass'n, 560 Fed.Appx. at 538 & n.4 (citing
Nitro-Lift Techs., L.L.C. v. Howard, 568 U.S. 17,
20-21 (2012)) (distinguishing the issue of a contract's
validity from the issue of whether the parties ever formed a
contract in the first place). So to the extent Walker takes
issue with the validity of the agreements but fails to
identity any error in the Magistrate Judge's ruling,
Walker's objections are overruled.
the reasons above, Walker's objections do not offer any
reason to upset the Court's earlier decision to adopt the
magistrate judge's report and recommendation. So
Walker's objections are overruled ...