Wallace v. Johnson et al
ORDER, DENYING 137 APPEAL OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE DECISION to District Court filed by Maurice Wallace. Signed by Judge Michael J. Reagan on 11/2/2012. (mmr)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
KENNETH BARTLEY, and
Case No. 11-CV-0131-MJR-SCW
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
REAGAN, District Judge:
Plaintiff Maurice Wallace is an inmate in the custody of the Illinois
Department of Corrections, housed at Tamms Correctional Center.
Pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, Wallace has filed suit against prison officials for violating his
constitutional rights. Wallace alleges that the defendant officials retaliated against him
for practicing Satmar Hasidic Judaism. More specifically, he alleges that he was refused
adequate linens and clothing, and that records of his clothing requests were falsified.
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), Plaintiff Wallace is
before the Court appealing: (1) Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Williams’ September 27,
2012, Order temporarily staying discovery, pending Defendants filing a motion for
summary judgment and filing a supplemental response to Wallace’s motion for leave to
amend the complaint; and (2) Judge Williams’ October 3, 2012, ruling taking under
advisement Wallace’s motions for appointment of counsel (Doc. 137). Wallace’s request
for reconsideration was denied by Judge Williams (Doc. 136). Wallace now argues that it
is unfair to not appoint counsel, and to place his discovery disputes “on the back burner,”
while allowing Defendants the opportunity to file a motion for summary judgment and to
supplement their response to his motion to amend the complaint. Without completing
discovery, Wallace contends he will be unable to oppose a motion for summary judgment.
The rulings at issue all concern non-dispositive matters.
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(a), the magistrate judge’s disposition will
be set aside only if it is “clearly erroneous or contrary to law.” See also Hall v. Norfolk
Southern Ry. Co., 469 F.3d 590, 595 (7th Cir. 2006). “[T]he district court can overturn the
magistrate judge’s ruling only if the district court is left with the definite and firm
conviction that a mistake has been made.” Weeks v. Samsung Heavy Industries Co., Ltd.,
126 F.3d 926, 943 (7th Cir.1997).
The undersigned district judge does not perceive any prejudice to Plaintiff
Wallace stemming from Magistrate Judge Williams’ rulings. Defendants did not have a
copy of Wallace’s proposed amended complaint prior to the September 27, 2012, hearing
before Judge Williams, so they were entitled to review that document and make a
supplemental, informed response to Wallace’s motion to amend the complaint. If Judge
Williams has both the fully briefed motion to amend the complaint, and Defendants’
motion for summary judgment, he will be able to more efficiently determine how to
proceed relative to the complaint, as well as the pending discovery issues, and the
appropriateness of appointing counsel. All of these issues are interdependent and Judge
Williams’ plan promotes the efficient and fair resolution of Wallace’s motions.
For the reasons stated, Wallace’s appeal of Judge Williams’ rulings (which
merely postponed ruling on Wallace’s motion to amend and motion for counsel) (Doc.
137) is DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
November 2, 2012
s/ Michael J. Reagan
MICHAEL J. REAGAN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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