Johnson v. Folks et al
Order AFFIRMING: 25 Order on Motion to Compel and DENYING the 27 Appeal of Magistrate Judge Decision to District Court filed by Bonnide Johnson as set out. Signed by Judge Kristi K. DuBose on 8/19/2013. Copies to parties. (mpp)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
BONNIDE JOHNSON, AIS #137457,
LT. SHARON FOLKS, et al.,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 12-00233-KD-N
This matter is before the Court on pro se Plaintiff’s “Interlocutory Appeal from
Magistrate Order Denying Motion to Compel Discovery.” (Doc. 27).
Pursuant to Rule 72(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, in reviewing a Magistrate
Judge’s order on a nondispositive matter, “[t]he district judge in the case must consider timely
objections and modify or set aside any part of the order that is clearly erroneous or is contrary to
law.” A Magistrate Judge's pretrial rulings are final decisions which are not subject to a de novo
determination. See, e.g., Merritt v. International Broth. of Boilermakers, 649 F.2d 1013, 1017
(5th Cir. 1981); Featherston v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 223 F.R.D. 647, 650-651 (N.D. Fla.
2004). Instead, such rulings are subject to a “clearly erroneous or contrary to law” standard
which is “extremely deferential.” See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); Rule 72(a); S.D.Ala. LR
72.3(c); Pigott v. Sanibel Dev., LLC, 2008 WL 2937804, *5 (S.D. Ala. Jul. 23, 2008).
Plaintiff contends that the Magistrate Judge’s ruling was “rushed” as it was issued
“before Plaintiff could offer his response,” and requests that this Court reverse the ruling and
“allow discovery to proceed so that plaintiff may obtain the documents that would enable him to
adequately (i.e., with documentation) prove his allegations…” (Doc. 27 at 5, 7). “Relief is
appropriate under the ‘clearly erroneous' prong…only if the…court ‘finds that the Magistrate
Judge abused his discretion or, if after viewing the record as a whole, the Court is left with a
definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made.’” Pigott, 2008 WL 2937804, *5. A
ruling is “contrary to law when it fails to apply or misapplies relevant statues, case law or rules
of procedure.” Id.
The Magistrate Judge’s ruling is neither clearly erroneous nor contrary to law. The
Plaintiff has no right to file a reply to the Defendants’ response, and as such, it was appropriate
for the Magistrate Judge to rule, based on Plaintiff’s motion and Defendants’ Response. As
such, the Court agrees with the rulings of the Magistrate Judge.
Accordingly, it is ORDERED that Plaintiff’s “Interlocutory Appeal from Magistrate
Order Denying Motion to Compel Discovery” (Doc. 27) is DENIED, and the Magistrate
Judge’s Order (Doc. 25) is AFFIRMED in its entirety.
DONE and ORDERED this the 19th day of August 2013.
/s/ Kristi K. DuBose
KRISTI K. DuBOSE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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