Estate of Fatima Neal et al v. State of Maryland et al
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge Ellen L. Hollander on 8/16/2017. (krs, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
SHARON BOST, individually and as personal
representative of the ESTATE OF FATIMA
Civil Action No. ELH-15-3278
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., et al.
This Memorandum addresses the Objection (ECF 178) filed by plaintiff Sharon Bost as
to discovery rulings made by U.S. Magistrate Judge A. David Copperthite. See ECF 166; ECF
171; ECF 176. No hearing is necessary to resolve the Objection. See Local Rule 105.6. For the
reasons that follow, I shall deny the Objection.
This action arises from the unfortunate death of Fatima Neal (the ―Decedent‖) in 2012,
who suffered a stroke while she was detained at the Baltimore City Detention Center (―BCDC‖).
Sharon Bost, the Decedent‘s mother, filed this suit on October 27, 2015, both individually and as
the personal representative of the Estate of Neal. ECF 1.2
In the First Amended Complaint (ECF 56) (―Amended Complaint‖), which is the
operative pleading, Bost sued a host of defendants: Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (―Wexford‖);
The facts set forth are limited to those pertinent to the Objection. I also incorporate
herein the factual background set forth in my Memorandum Opinion of May 8, 2017. ECF 159.
The parties sometimes refer to ―plaintiff‖ and to ―plaintiffs.‖ Although Ms. Bost is the
sole plaintiff, she is a plaintiff in two distinct capacities. I shall refer to Ms. Bost as the plaintiff,
i.e., in the singular.
the State of Maryland (―State‖); BCDC; medical staff employed by Wexford, including Anike
Ajayi, R.N.; Elizabeth Obadina, R.N.; Ebre Ohaneje, R.N.; Najma Jamal, R.N.; Karen McNulty,
R.N.; Andrea Wiggins, P.A.; Getachew Afre, M.D.; Jocelyn El-Sayed, M.D.; Obby Atta,
C.R.N.P.; twenty-five unnamed medical service providers; various BCDC employees, including
Shavella Miles, Carol McKnight, Valerie Alves, Cierra Ladson, Gwendolyn Oliver, Carolyn
Atkins, Rickey Foxwell, Carol Harmon, and twenty-five unnamed ―custody officers‖ at BCDC.
Id. ¶¶ 40-48.3 I shall refer collectively to the individual health care providers as the ―Medical
And, I shall refer to the BCDC employees collectively as the ―Custody
In the Amended Complaint, Bost asserted several claims for relief. The ―First Claim for
Relief,‖ lodged against all defendants, is brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the denial of
adequate medical care, in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. ECF 56, ¶¶ 15368. The Second Claim for Relief is brought only against Wexford under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging an unconstitutional policy and practice of denial of medical care (the ―Monell Claim‖).
Id. ¶¶ 169-86. See Monell v. New York City Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978). The
Third Claim for Relief, against all defendants, asserts a claim under Article 24 of the Maryland
Declaration of Rights for deprivation of life without judgment of one‘s peers. Id. ¶¶ 187-206. In
her fourth claim, Bost alleged a claim against Wexford and the Medical Defendants for medical
malpractice. Id. ¶¶ 207-17. The fifth claim asserted negligence against the State, BCDC, and the
Custody Defendants. Id. ¶¶ 218-25. In addition, as to all defendants, Bost asserted a sixth claim
There are discrepancies in the ways that plaintiff and defendants spell the defendants‘
names, as well as internal discrepancies in defendants‘ submissions. For example, Foxwell
spells the first name as ―Ricky.‖ See, e.g., ECF 90; ECF 135. And, Wiggins spells her first name
as ―Andria.‖ See, e.g., ECF 49; ECF 130-6.
for intentional infliction of emotional distress (id. ¶¶ 226-37) and a seventh claim for wrongful
death. Id. ¶¶ 238-43.4
The Court circulated a proposed scheduling order on March 9, 2016.
Thereafter, the Court discussed the proposed scheduling order with counsel during a telephone
conference held on April 18, 2016. See Docket. My notes of that conference reflect – and I
recall – that during the telephone conference plaintiff asked for 150 deposition hours. I do not
recall any objection. Nevertheless, I expressed to counsel my view that 150 hours of depositions
appeared excessive. Although I agreed to 100 hours of depositions, I indicated that, in a case of
this kind, 100 hours is quite generous. However, in my notes, I wrote that the number of
deposition hours could be increased, ―if needed.‖ In addition, in lieu of the initial proposed
discovery deadline of August 17, 2016 (ECF 30 at 3), defendants sought 18 months to complete
discovery, while plaintiff sought 15 months.
The Scheduling Order followed on April 19, 2016. ECF 44. It sets a discovery deadline
of June 30, 2017, consistent with plaintiff‘s request. Id. at 2. In addition, the Scheduling Order
provided for 100 hours of depositions exclusive of for fact witnesses, i.e., experts. Id. at 3.
During the first three months of 2017, the parties filed several discovery motions. See
ECF 128 (plaintiff‘s motion to compel); ECF 131 (Wexford‘s motion for protective order); ECF
136 (Custody Defendants‘ motion for protective order); ECF 150 (plaintiff‘s motion to compel);
ECF 154 (motion for extension of time to complete discovery and extension of allotted
On August 31, 2016, Judge Motz dismissed Bost‘s claims against the State, BCDC, and
the Custody Defendants, in their official capacities, based on Eleventh Amendment immunity.
ECF 89. Judge Motz also dismissed Bost‘s claim for negligence against the Custody Defendants
in their individual capacities. Id.
deposition hours).5 The Objection pertains to Judge Copperthite‘s rulings as to Bost‘s ―Motion
For An Extension Of Discovery Deadlines And Allotted Deposition Hours,‖ filed on March 13,
2017. ECF 154 (―Motion for Extension‖).
In the Motion for Extension, plaintiff sought an additional 60 days to complete discovery,
―starting on the date that the last of the currently pending discovery motions are resolved,‖ and
an additional 50 hours of deposition time. Id. According to plaintiff, an extension of the
discovery deadline and provision of additional deposition hours are warranted because of alleged
obstructionism in discovery on the part of Wexford, in addition to the pendency of several
discovery disputes. ECF 154-1 at 25-26. Plaintiff claimed that without an extension, she would
―suffer substantial prejudice.‖ Id. at 26.
While the various discovery motions were pending, Wexford and the Medical Defendants
(ECF 130) and the Custody Defendants (ECF 135) moved to bifurcate plaintiff‘s Monell Claim,
and to stay discovery as to that claim. By Memorandum Opinion (ECF 159) and order (ECF
160) of May 8, 2017, I granted ECF 130 and ECF 135. In my Memorandum Opinion, I
explained that bifurcation of the Monell Claim was appropriate in order to conserve resources,
promote judicial efficiency, and to avoid a significant risk of prejudice to the individual
defendants. ECF 159 at 27. In addition, I determined that after the resolution of the claims
against the individual defendants, the Court will issue a scheduling order concerning the Monell
Claim, providing a reasonable period for discovery and for the filing of dispositive motions. Id.
Shortly after I resolved the motions to bifurcate and stay discovery, Judge Copperthite
issued several orders resolving the pending discovery disputes. In particular, in ECF 161, Judge
Discovery disputes were initially resolved by Magistrate Judge Beth Gesner. See
docket; see also ECF 106; ECF 108. However, discovery matters were subsequently reassigned
to Magistrate Judge Copperthite on December 16, 2016. See docket.
Copperthite denied plaintiff‘s motion to compel (ECF 128), ―without prejudice in light of Court's
Ruling [in] ECF 159.‖ In ECF 162, Judge Copperthite denied Wexford‘s motion for protective
order (ECF 131), without prejudice.
In ECF 163, Judge Copperthite denied the Custody
Defendants‘ motion for protective order (ECF 136), without prejudice. And, in ECF 164, Judge
Copperthite denied plaintiff‘s second motion to compel (ECF 150), ―without prejudice in light of
Court's Ruling [in] ECF 159.‖ In ECF 166, Judge Copperthite denied the Motion for Extension
(ECF 154), without prejudice, ―in light of the Court's Ruling [in] ECF 159-60.‖
On June 5, 2017, plaintiff filed an objection (ECF 167) to Judge Copperthite‘s ruling
(ECF 166) denying the Motion for Extension (ECF 154). Plaintiff also filed an objection (ECF
168) to Judge Copperthite‘s ruling (ECF 161) denying plaintiff‘s motion to compel (ECF 128).
By Order of June 8, 2017 (ECF 169), Judge Copperthite rescinded his rulings (ECF 161; ECF
166) underlying the objections. In view of Judge Copperthite‘s Order rescinding ECF 161 and
ECF 166, I denied the two objections (ECF 167; ECF 168) as moot, without prejudice, by Order
of June 8, 2017. ECF 170. Thereafter, Judge Copperthite issued an eight-page letter order
concerning the motion to compel (ECF 128) and the Motion for Extension (ECF 154). ECF 171.
Specifically, Judge Copperthite granted in part and denied in part plaintiff‘s motion to
compel (ECF 128). Id. at 1. He said: ―[T]his Court finds that Plaintiffs' requests are, for
discovery purposes, relevant to the claims of the individual medical defendants alleged.‖ Id. at
3. Judge Copperthite also said: ―Discovery will therefore be permitted, subject to any limitations
set forth in this Order, so long as the discovery sought by Plaintiff is not privileged.‖ Id.
Accordingly, he granted the motion to compel as to additional depositions of Afre and McNulty,
allowing four hours for Afre‘s deposition and two hours for McNulty‘s deposition. Id. But,
Judge Copperthite denied the motion to compel as to Jamal, Ohaneje, Ajayi, and Harmon, for
reasons explained in his letter order. Id.
In addition, Judge Copperthite extended the discovery deadline to August 15, 2017. Id. at
8. He said, id.:
It is important to note here that this case has lingered in discovery and motions
since its filing in October of 2015. While one may argue that the delay may not be
unusual given the nature of the case and the complexities of individual medical
defendants and Wexford, this Court has a vested interest in moving this case
On June 26, 2017, plaintiff filed a request for a status conference to seek ―clarification of
the Court‘s June 19, 2017 decision granting in part and denying in part Plaintiff‘s motion to
compel and motion for an extension of discovery deadlines and deposition hours.‖ ECF 172. In
particular, plaintiff said, id. at 1:
Although the court ruled on Plaintiff‘s request for additional hours to
question each party Defendant about investigations into Ms. Neal‘s death, the
Court‘s ruling did not address Plaintiff‘s request – made not as part of her motion
to compel but instead as part of her motion for an extension of discovery
deadlines – for additional deposition hours to complete the depositions of certain
crucial third party and unrepresented witnesses . . . .
Plaintiff noted that in ECF 154, she sought an additional 30 hours of non-Monell depositions, but
stated that Judge Copperthite‘s Order (ECF 171) ―does not expressly grant, nor does it expressly
deny, the additional 30 hours sought . . . .‖ ECF 172 at 1.
The Custody Defendants (ECF 174) and Wexford (ECF 175) responded in opposition to
plaintiff‘s request. Wexford stated: ―Rather than simply asking for a conference to clarify the
Court‘s June 19, 2017 Order, Plaintiff appears to seek reconsideration of that Order, rearguing
the merits of her original motion . . . .‖ ECF 175. And, the Custody Defendants said, ECF 174
at 2: ―By way of this status conference call, Plaintiffs jump from proposing the reallocation of 6
hours to requiring 30 additional hours without providing any reasons for the five-fold increase.‖
By Order of June 28, 2017, Judge Copperthite clarified his previous ruling concerning the
Motion for Extension. ECF 176. He said, id.:
To clarify the Court's previous Order, (ECF 171), the request for 30 additional
deposition hours in what was construed as Plaintiffs [sic] motion for an extension
of discovery deadlines is DENIED. These witnesses were known to Plaintiff and
Plaintiff chose not to depose them in the somewhat generous 100 hours total
deposition time allotted to Plaintiff. The remainder of the Court‘s Order (ECF
171) remains in effect and unchanged by this clarification requested by Plaintiff.
Bost‘s Objection to Magistrate Judge Copperthite‘s Orders concerning the Motion for
Extension followed. ECF 178. The Objection is supported by many exhibits. ECF 178-1
through ECF 178-35. Wexford and the Medical Defendants have responded in opposition (ECF
180) to the Objection, with two exhibits. ECF 180-1 and ECF 180-2. The Custody Defendants
have also opposed the Objection. ECF 185. Bost has not replied, and the time for her to do so
has elapsed. See Local Rule 105.2(a).
Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a) provides that within fourteen days, a party may object to a
magistrate judge‘s ruling on non-dispositive matters, such as discovery orders. Id.; see 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(A); Local Rule 301.5(a); Tafas v. Dudas, 530 F. Supp. 2d 786, 792 (E.D. Va. 2008).
Rule 72(a) provides that the district court should only overrule the magistrate judge if the
contested order is ―clearly erroneous or is contrary to law.‖ Id.; see Buchanan v. Consol. Stores
Corp., 206 F.R.D. 123, 124 (D. Md. 2002).
―Under the clearly erroneous standard, the reviewing court is not to ask whether the
finding is the best or only conclusion permissible based on the evidence. Nor is it to substitute
its own conclusions for that of the magistrate judge. Rather, the court is only required to
determine whether the magistrate judge's findings are reasonable and supported by the
evidence.‖ Huggins v. Prince George's Cnty., 750 F. Supp. 2d 549, 559 (D. Md. 2010) (citations
Notably, ―[i]t is not the function of objections to discovery rulings to allow wholesale
relitigation of issues resolved by the magistrate judge.‖ Buchanan, 206 F.R.D. at 124. Indeed,
―it is extremely difficult to justify alteration of the magistrate judge's nondispositive actions by
the district judge.‖ C. Wright and A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure Civil (2d ed.),
§ 3069 at 395-97.
Because the discovery deadline and limitation on deposition hours were set in the
Scheduling Order, Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b)(4) is pertinent. It provides that a scheduling order ―may
be modified only for good cause and with the judge‘s consent.‖ See also Nourison Rug Corp. v.
Parvizian, 535 F.3d 295, 298 (4th Cir. 2008) (―[A]fter the deadlines provided by a scheduling
order have passed, the good cause standard must be satisfied to justify leave to amend the
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2)(C) is also relevant. It provides, in relevant part: ―On motion or
on its own, the court must limit the frequency or extent of discovery otherwise allowed by these
rules or by local rule if it determines that . . . (ii) the party seeking discovery has had ample
opportunity to obtain the information by discovery in the action.‖ Notably, the Fourth Circuit
has said: ―A district court has ‗wide latitude in controlling discovery and . . . its rulings will not
be overturned absent a showing of clear abuse of discretion.‘‖ Rowland v. Am. Gen. Fin., Inc.,
340 F.3d 187, 195 (4th Cir. 2003) (quoting Ardrey v. United Parcel Service, 798 F.2d 679, 682
(4th Cir. 1986)) (alterations in Rowland).
Plaintiff appears to challenge each of Judge Copperthite‘s three orders (ECF 166; ECF
171; ECF 176) pertaining to the Motion for Extension (ECF 154).6 As to Judge Copperthite‘s
Order of May 22, 2017 (ECF 166, ―First Order‖), denying the Motion for Extension, without
prejudice, plaintiff claims that Judge Copperthite clearly erred because he did not provide any
reasoning for his decision. ECF 178 at 6. In addition, plaintiff states, id. at 7: ―Defendants
actually conceded that additional deposition time was necessary because they improperly
objected and instructed witnesses not to answer questions that should have been answered.‖
(Citing ECF 156 at 28). Given defendants‘ concessions and the limited nature of the Court‘s
ruling concerning bifurcation (see ECF 159; ECF 160), plaintiff contends that ―it was clearly
erroneous for the Magistrate Judge to deny Plaintiff‘s motion with no explanation other than to
reference the bifurcation order.‖ ECF 178 at 7.
With respect to Judge Copperthite‘s Order of June 19, 2017 (ECF 171, ―Second Order‖),
plaintiff states: ―The order contains no explicit conclusion concerning additional deposition
hours, and the substance of the eight-page order is entirely directed at issues concerning the
motion to compel . . . .‖ ECF 178 at 8. According to plaintiff, id.: ―Nowhere does the order
discuss the issues salient to additional deposition hours and an extension of discovery—namely,
the complexity of the case, Plaintiff‘s diligence in pursuing discovery, and Defendants‘ strategic
and improper obstructionism.‖
And, as to Judge Copperthite‘s Order of June 28, 2017 (ECF 176, ―Third Order‖),
plaintiff states that Judge Copperthite did not ―issue an order addressing in depth the issues
From my review, plaintiff does not specifically state which of Judge Copperthite‘s
orders she claims was ―clearly erroneous.‖ But, she seems to challenge each order. See ECF
178 at 6-9. And, she says that Judge Copperthite‘s ―orders are clearly erroneous‖, indicating that
she challenges more than one order. Id. at 9 (emphasis added). Accordingly, out of an
abundance of caution, I shall assume that plaintiff intends to challenge each of Judge
Copperthite‘s orders pertaining to the Motion for Extension (ECF 154).
salient to additional deposition hours and a discovery extension.‖ ECF 178 at 8. Plaintiff states,
id.: ―Instead, in a single sentence, the Magistrate Judge explained that the additional hours were
denied because the witnesses who have not yet been deposed ‗were known to Plaintiff and
Plaintiff chose not to depose them in the somewhat generous 100 hours total deposition time
allotted to Plaintiff.‘‖ Id. (quoting ECF 176). Thus, plaintiff concludes, ECF 178 at 8: ―Like the
Magistrate Judge‘s first two orders, this one said nothing about the complexity of the case, the
discovery developed so far, Plaintiff‘s diligence in pursuing discovery, or Defendants‘ strategic
obstruction of discovery.‖ Id.
Wexford and the Medical Defendants contend that Judge Copperthite‘s orders were not
clearly erroneous. They claim that plaintiff‘s contention that the Second Order failed to address
the Motion for Extension is ―bizarre‖ because Judge Copperthite specifically extended the
discovery deadline to August 15, 2017. ECF 180 at 5. And, to the extent that plaintiff claims
that the Second Order failed to address her request for additional deposition hours, Wexford and
the Medical Defendants argue that the ―error was . . . clearly remedied by virtue of the Court‘s
[Third] Order, which explicitly denied the request.‖ Id.
As to Ms. Bost‘s claim that the orders lack a sufficient explanation, Wexford and the
Medical Defendants note that the Third Order ―specifically stated that the witnesses Plaintiff
sought to depose with those additional hours ‗were known to Plaintiff and Plaintiff chose not to
depose them in the somewhat generous 100 hours total deposition time allotted to Plaintiff.‘‖ Id.
Wexford and the Medical Defendants claim that plaintiff has failed to show why Judge
Copperthite‘s explanation is insufficient. Id. Citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2)(C)(ii), Wexford and
the Medical Defendants state: ―[A]lthough concise, not only is the magistrate judge‘s ruling well
within the broad discretion afforded to him in resolving non-dispositive discovery disputes, but
also, the explanation he offered in support thereof provided a sufficient legal basis for that
ruling.‖ ECF 180 at 5.
The Custody Defendants‘ opposition advances arguments similar to those contained in
the opposition filed by Wexford and the Medical Defendants. ECF 185. They argue that
plaintiff has ―failed to establish . . . that the order issued by the magistrate, ECF No. 176, was
‗clearly erroneous or contrary to law.‘‖ ECF 185 at 5 (citation omitted). In the Custody
Defendants‘ view, Judge Copperthite‘s orders are not clearly erroneous because the identities of
all of the witnesses sought for depositions were known to plaintiff. Id. at 6. Further, the Custody
Defendants claim that the depositions ―[w]ere not pursued until many months had passed, and a
great number of deposition hours had been expended.‖ Id. And, the Custody Defendants note:
―Plaintiffs makes no claim that the Custody Defendants have thwarted their pursuit of
As an initial matter, I decline to consider any challenge to Judge Copperthite‘s First
Order (ECF 166) because that order was rescinded by ECF 169. As to the Second Order and the
Third Order, I conclude that Judge Copperthite was not clearly erroneous in denying the Motion
Ms. Bost has presented virtually no grounds on which the Court could conclude that
Judge Copperthite erred. In the Second Order (ECF 171), Judge Copperthite extended the
discovery deadline to August 15, 2017. To the extent that plaintiff claims that the Second Order
was clearly erroneous because it did not resolve the request for 30 additional deposition hours,
that error was cured by the Third Order; in the Third Order (ECF 176), Judge Copperthite
expressly denied the request for an additional 30 hours of depositions. See id.7
The only other assignment of error made by plaintiff appears to be that Judge
Copperthite‘s Third Order made no reference to ―the complexity of the case, the discovery
developed so far, Plaintiff‘s diligence in pursuing discovery, or Defendants‘ strategic obstruction
of discovery.‖ ECF 178 at 8. In support, plaintiff points to two cases that stand for the
proposition that a ruling is insufficient for review under the clear error standard where the judge
did not provide reasons. Id. at 6; see United States v. Wilkinson, 590 F.3d 259, 269 (4th Cir.
2010) (―[T]he district court did not provide us anything close to a sufficient explanation of its
rationale in making its loss finding with respect to [the third party] that would enable us to
review [the award of restitution] under the clearly erroneous standard.‖); Troxler Elxtronics
Labs, Inc. v. Solitron Devices, Inc., 722 F.2d 81, 85 (4th Cir. 1983) (stating that the Court could
―hardly determine whether the ‗clearly erroneous‘ rule should insulate [a] finding of fact without
some insight into the District Court's reasoning‖).
Notably, neither Wilkinson nor Troxler
pertained to discovery decisions.
In any event, although it may be true that a court cannot review a ruling for clear error
when that ruling provides no rationale or explanation, that is far from the case here. To the
contrary, Judge Copperthite specifically gave his reason for the denial of 30 additional deposition
hours. As noted, in ECF 176 he said: ―These witnesses were known to Plaintiff and Plaintiff
chose not to depose them in the somewhat generous 100 hours total deposition time allotted to
Plaintiff.‖ Id. This explanation is consistent with the ―good cause‖ standard of Rule 16(b)(4)
and the right of a judge to limit discovery under Rule 26(b)(2)(C)(ii). And, as to plaintiff‘s
As noted, in regard to the motion to compel (ECF 128), Judge Copperthite had granted
six additional hours of depositions for two witnesses. ECF 171.
request for an extension of discovery, Judge Copperthite did extend discovery by approximately
45 days in the Second Order. ECF 171 at 8. Moreover, in granting an extension of the discovery
deadline, but only to August 15, 2017, Judge Copperthite explained, id.: ―[T]his Court has a
vested interest in moving this case toward conclusion.‖ This, too, is consistent with the ―good
cause‖ standard of Rule 16(b)(4).
In Wooton v CL, LLC., 504 Fed. App‘x 220 (4th Cir. 2013), the Fourth Circuit affirmed a
district court‘s brief statement denying a plaintiff‘s motion to extend the time for discovery. Id.
In that case, the court had first granted a joint motion for an extension of time for discovery, but
declined to grant a second motion filed by the plaintiff. Wooton v. CL, LLC, 2:09-CV-34-FL,
2010 WL 5477192, at *5 (E.D.N.C. Dec. 29, 2010). In denying the plaintiff‘s motion for a
second extension, the district judge said, id. at *5:
The court finds that good cause does not exist to further extend the
deadlines for discovery or for filing dispositive motions. These deadlines, along
with several others set forth in the court's original scheduling order, have already
been extended once. And despite this extension, it appears that plaintiff has
failed to diligently use the additional time allotted to complete the necessary
In affirming the district court, the Fourth Circuit said, Wooton, 504 Fed. App‘x at *22324 (alterations in Wooton):
[T]he district court determined that Wooton had ―failed to diligently use the
additional time allowed [by an earlier extension of discovery] to complete the
necessary discovery.‖ Order II at 9. The reasons Wooton offers for needing
additional discovery—such as to review discovery materials and take additional
depositions—are insufficient to show that the district court abused its discretion in
refusing to grant his motion.
Like the district judge in Wooton, Judge Copperthite explained that he denied the request
for 30 additional deposition hours because plaintiff had known about the other witnesses and
chose not to depose them in the ―generous 100 hours total deposition time‖ provided by the
Court in the Scheduling Order. ECF 176. And, he explained that he only granted an extension
of the discovery deadline to August 15, 2017, in order to move the case toward conclusion. ECF
171 at 8.
Contrary to plaintiff‘s argument, I am unaware of any rule requiring a judge to write a
detailed exposition on every discovery issue in every case. Such a rule would prevent federal
courts from functioning effectively and efficiently, and would multiply the time for cases to
reach resolution. In short, Judge Copperthite‘s ruling concerning the Motion for Extension is not
so brief as to lack reason and foundation, preventing the Court from reviewing it for clear error.
Cf. Wilkinson, 590 F.3d at 269.
Furthermore, I note that plaintiff has expended much effort in her Objection attempting to
relitigate the merits of the Motion for Extension. See ECF 178 at 9-29. As indicated, in the
context of an objection, it is not the role of the district judge to rehear the arguments that were
before the magistrate judge and to render a de novo decision. Buchanan, 206 F.R.D. at 124.
Rather, it is to determine whether the magistrate judge‘s decision was reasonable and supported
by evidence. Huggins, 750 F. Supp. 2d at 559. Given this standard, I see no basis to disturb
Judge Copperthite‘s rulings; they were reasonable and supported by evidence.
Finally, in a footnote, plaintiff has asked the Court, in the event the Court denies the
Objection, to permit her to ―re-allocate the 6 hours of deposition time that Magistrate Judge
Copperthite granted . . . .‖ ECF 178 at 29 n. 10. The Court takes no position on this request. It
must be presented to Judge Copperthite in the first instance, consistent with the discovery
To my knowledge, although plaintiff has requested a status conference with Judge
Copperthite, she has not specifically requested Judge Copperthite to allow her to use the six
deposition hours for witnesses other than the two approved by Judge Copperthite. See docket.
In view of the foregoing, I conclude that Judge Copperthite did not act contrary to law or
the evidence in issuing his rulings (ECF 171; ECF 176) concerning the Motion for Extension
(ECF 154). And, as noted, plaintiff‘s challenge to the First Order (ECF 166) is moot given that
the First Order (ECF 166) was rescinded. ECF 169. Accordingly, I shall DENY the Objection
An Order follows, consistent with this Memorandum.
Date: August 16, 2017
Ellen Lipton Hollander
United States District Judge
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