McCoy v. Whittington et al
ORDER re 52 Appeal of Magistrate Judge Decision re 47 Order on Motion to Compel. Magistrate Judge's ruling is AFFIRMED. Signed by Judge Elizabeth E Foote on 3/31/2021. (crt,Keifer, K)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
ROBERT LEROY MCCOY #55949/412412
CIVIL ACTION NO. 19-1066 SEC P
JUDGE ELIZABETH E. FOOTE
JULIAN WHITTINGTON, ET AL.
MAGISTRATE JUDGE HORNSBY
Now before the Court is an appeal of the Magistrate Judge’s decision. [Record
Document 52]. Previously, Plaintiff Robert Leroy McCoy (“Plaintiff”) filed a motion to
compel discovery and argued that he had not received timely responses to seven requests
for production of documents that he served on February 4, 2020. Record Document 38.
Defendants responded by arguing that they received the requests on February 19 and
responded by March 17, 2020. Record Document 40. As per a USPS receipt, delivery was
made to Plaintiff on March 20, 2020. The Magistrate Judge denied the motion to compel
because Plaintiff did not contest that he received Defendants’ discovery responses. Record
Document 47. Plaintiff filed the instant appeal of that decision. For the following reasons,
the Magistrate Judge’s ruling is AFFIRMED.
Under the Federal Magistrate Act, a magistrate judge may issue binding rulings on
non-dispositive matters. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). A party that objects to such a ruling
may appeal to the district judge who “must . . . modify or set aside any part of the order
that is clearly erroneous or is contrary to law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a). Federal law affords
the magistrate judge broad discretion in the resolution of non-dispositive matters. See id.
Under this deferential standard, a magistrate judge's decision must be affirmed unless “on
the entire evidence [the Court] is left with a definite and firm conviction that a mistake
has been committed.” United States v. United States Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395
(1948). A clear error standard applies to a magistrate judge’s findings of fact, while legal
conclusions are reviewed de novo. See Spillers v. Chevron USA Inc., No. 11-2163, 2013
WL 869387, at *3 (W.D. La. Mar. 6, 2013) (citing Choate v. State Farm Lloyds, No. 032111, 2005 WL 1109432, at *1 (N.D. Tex. May 5, 2005)). Hence, reversal of a factual
finding is improper whenever the “magistrate judge’s ‘account of the evidence is plausible
in light of the record viewed in its entirety.’” Smith v. Smith, 154 F.R.D. 661, 665 (N.D.
Tex. 1994) (quoting Resolution Tr. Corp. v. Sands, 151 F.R.D. 616, 619 (N.D. Tex. 1993)).
Having reviewed Plaintiff’s motion to compel, the Magistrate Judge’s order, and the
arguments on appeal, this Court cannot conclude that the Magistrate Judge’s ruling was
clearly erroneous or contrary to law. Plaintiff does not dispute that he received the
documents. He has not suffered any prejudice. Considering the Magistrate Judge’s
decision and the broad discretion afforded to him in resolving non-dispositive matters, the
Magistrate Judge’s order is AFFIRMED.
THUS DONE AND SIGNED this 31st day of March, 2021.
ELIZABETH ERNY FOOTE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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