Draughn v. Bouchard et al
OPINION AND ORDER AFFIRMING MAGISTRATE JUDGE DAVIS'S JUNE 23, 2017 ORDER 92 AND OVERRULING PLAINTIFFS OBJECTIONS 93 . Signed by District Judge Gershwin A. Drain. (TBan)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 15-cv-14446
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
GERSHWIN A. DRAIN
MICHAEL BOUCHARD, ET AL.,
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
STEPHANIE DAWKINS DAVIS
OPINION AND ORDER AFFIRMING MAGISTRATE JUDGE DAVIS’S
JUNE 23, 2017 ORDER  AND OVERRULING PLAINTIFF’S OBJECTIONS 
This matter came before the Court on Plaintiff’s July 10, 2017 objections,
Dkt. No. 93, to Magistrate Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis’s June 23, 2017 order,
Dkt. No. 92. For the reasons stated herein, the Court will AFFIRM Magistrate
Judge Davis’s order and OVERRULE Plaintiff’s objections .
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule 72(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits a party to submit
objections to a magistrate judge’s ruling on non-dispositive matters, such as
discovery orders.1 FED. R. CIV. P. 72(a); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). While Rule
Although Magistrate Judge Davis mentions Rule 72(b)(2) on the final page of
her order, Dkt. No. 92, p. 14 (Pg. ID 764), because the motions decided in the
72(b) provides a timeline in which a party may respond to opposing counsel’s
objections to a ruling on a dispositive matter, Rule 72(a) does not state that a
response may be filed to objections. Compare FED. R. CIV. P. 72(a) with FED. R.
CIV. P. 72(b). “When an objection is filed to a magistrate judge’s ruling on a non‐
dispositive motion, the ruling remains in full force and effect unless and until it is
stayed by the magistrate judge or a district judge.” E.D. Mich. LR 72.2.
As a non-dispositive matter, the review of a magistrate’s discovery order is
properly governed by the “clearly erroneous or contrary to law” standard of
review. FED. R. CIV. P. 72(a). The United States Supreme Court and the United
States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit have both held that “a finding is
‘clearly erroneous’ when although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing
court on the entire evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction that a
mistake has been committed.” United States v. U.S. Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364,
395 (1948) (explaining the clearly erroneous standard under Rule 52(a)); United
States v. Mabry, 518 F.3d 442, 449 (6th Cir. 2008) (quoting U.S. Gypsum, 333
U.S. at 395). This standard does not allow a reviewing court to reverse a magistrate
judge’s finding merely because it would have decided the matter differently.
Sedgwick Ins. v. F.A.B.E. Custom Downstream Sys., Inc., 47 F. Supp. 3d 536, 538
order were non-dispositive, Rule 72(a) provides the appropriate standard upon
which to review Plaintiff’s objections.
(E.D. Mich. 2014). See also 12 CHARLES ALAN WRIGHT, ARTHUR R. MILLER &
RICHARD L. MARCUS, FEDERAL PRACTICE
PROCEDURE § 3069 (2d ed. 1997)
(“In sum, it is extremely difficult to justify alteration of the magistrate judge’s
nondispositive actions by the district judge.”).
“The ‘clearly erroneous’ standard applies only to the magistrate judge’s
factual findings; his legal conclusions are reviewed under the plenary ‘contrary to
law’ standard.” Sedgwick Ins., 47 F. Supp. 3d at 538 (quoting Haworth, Inc. v.
Herman Miller, Inc., 162 F.R.D. 289, 291 (W.D. Mich. 1995)). The Court’s review
under the “contrary to law” standard requires the exercise of independent judgment
in determining whether the magistrate judge’s legal conclusions “contradict or
ignore applicable precepts of law, as found in the Constitution, statutes, or case
precedent.” Gandee v. Glaser, 785 F. Supp. 684, 686 (S.D. Ohio 1992), aff’d, 19
F.3d 1432 (6th Cir. 1994) (quoting Adolph Coors Co. v. Wallace, 570 F.Supp. 202,
205 (N.D. Cal. 1983)).
On June 23, 2017, Magistrate Judge Davis issued an order that granted
Defendants’ Motion for More Definite Statement, Dkt. No. 60, granted in part and
denied in part Plaintiff’s Motions to Compel, Dkt. No. 68, 72, and denied
Plaintiff’s Fourth Motion to Appoint Counsel, Dkt. No. 70. See Dkt. No. 92.
Plaintiff now seeks to object to the Magistrate’s order on three grounds. Dkt. No.
93. Having reviewed Magistrate Judge Davis’s findings, the Court holds that her
order is neither clearly erroneous nor contrary to law and overrules Plaintiff’s
A. Objection #1: Requiring Submission of an Amended Complaint
Plaintiff first objects that Magistrate Judge Davis required him to submit an
amended complaint that clarifies the claims Plaintiff seeks to bring and the parties
against whom those claims are brought. See Dkt. No. 93, p. 2 (Pg. ID 767); Dkt.
No. 92, pp. 3–6 (Pg. ID 753–56). Plaintiff states that the Magistrate’s order is
contrary to law, but does not provide a single case or citation in support of this
argument. Similarly, Plaintiff argues the order is contrary to fact, but does not
provide a single factual assertion that was clearly erroneous.
Having reviewed the record, the Court agrees with Magistrate Judge Davis
that submission of an amended complaint would greatly improve the clarity of
Plaintiff’s claims. Plaintiff’s original complaint contained a litany of allegations
against various named and anonymous individuals, some of which were dismissed
in March 2017. See Dkt. No. 80. Plaintiff has not amended his complaint since this
partial dismissal. Accordingly, it would be in the interest of judicial efficiency to
have Plaintiff clearly restate his remaining claims and the individuals against
whom those claims arise in an amended complaint. Plaintiff’s first objection is
B. Objection #2: Finding Plaintiff’s Requested Evidence to Be Irrelevant
In Plaintiff’s second objection, it is unclear upon what ground his objection
specifically rests. It appears that Plaintiff broadly objects to not being granted all
the evidence that he requested in his interrogatories. See Dkt. No. 93, pp. 2–3 (Pg.
In Magistrate Judge Davis’s order, she granted Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel,
Dkt. No. 68, in part, providing Plaintiff with free copies of his medical records,
courtesy of Defendants. Dkt. No. 92, pp. 10–11 (Pg. ID 760–61). Magistrate Judge
Davis denied Plaintiff’s broader requests, namely that he be provided “copies of all
degrees, certificates, and diplomas held by defendants,” “copies of all assets,
funds, or personal account balances possessed by defendants,” copies of
defendants entire employee files without any tailoring as to dates or locations, and
“itemized list and/or deeds, titles, or equity in properties owned or possessed by
defendants.” Id. at 11. Magistrate Judge Davis also denied Plaintiff’s request for
Defendant Durocher to detail his treatment of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus
aureus (MRSA) infections at the jail, including the number of infections and what
treatment was provided.2 Id. at 13.
Plaintiff’s original complaint related to the conditions at the Oakland County
jail, including sleeping facilities, pest problems, and denial of certain medications.
Dkt. No. 1, pp. 3–7 (Pg. ID 3–7). Plaintiff did not bring any claims related to
MRSA, and accordingly discovery on this issue is not relevant to the claims
remaining in this suit.
The Court has reviewed the record and agrees with Magistrate Judge Davis
that Plaintiff’s discovery requests exceeded the permissible scope of discovery. See
FED. R. CIV. P. 26(b)(1). Discovery is limited to “any nonprivileged matter that is
relevant to any party’s claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case,
considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in
controversy, the parties’ relative access to relevant information, the parties’
resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the
burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit.” Id.
Here, the information that Plaintiff sought was and unduly burdensome because it
was not tailored to his specific claims.
Plaintiff’s disappointment in not receiving all the evidence he sought is
understandable. However, he has failed to present any precedent establishing that
Magistrate Judge Davis’s order is contrary to law, or any facts in her order that
were clearly erroneous. Plaintiff’s second objection is overruled.
C. Objection #3: Declining to Appoint Counsel
Plaintiff’s third and final objection argues that he will be irreparably harmed
without appointment of counsel, as Magistrate Judge Davis denied Plaintiff’s
fourth request on this issue. See Dkt. No. 93, p. 3 (Pg. ID 768);
“Appointment of counsel in a civil case is not a constitutional right.” Lavado
v. Keohane, 992 F.2d 601, 605–06 (6th Cir. 1993) (quoting Mekdeci v. Merrell
National Laboratories, 711 F.2d 1510, 1522 n.19 (11th Cir. 1983)). Rather,
appointment of counsel is a privilege that is justified only by exceptional
circumstances. Id. at 606. “In determining whether ‘exceptional circumstances’
exist, courts have examined ‘the type of case and the abilities of the plaintiff to
represent himself.’ ” Id.
Given Plaintiff’s prolific litigation history, he appears fairly well equipped to
represent himself.3 Furthermore, Plaintiff’s claims deal with fairly straightforward
issues: the adequacy of the sleeping quarters at the Oakland County jail, the
alleged pest infestation at the jail, and the purported jail policy of banning certain
pain medications. See Dkt. No. 1. Such issues are neither factually complex nor
legally sophisticated. Plaintiff has not demonstrated any exceptional circumstances
Plaintiff, also known as Khalil Shabazz, has filed more than a dozen cases in
this district alone. See Draughn v. Bouchard et al., No. 2:15-cv-14446 (E.D. Mich.
July 10, 2017) (Drain, J.) (this case); Shabazz v. Caruso et al., No. 2:08-cv-10225
(E.D. Mich. July 21, 2008) (Zatkoff, J.); Draughn v. Caruso et al., No. 2:07-cv15244 (E.D. Mich. Dec. 13, 2007) (Battani, J.); Raphael-X, et al v. Martin, et al.,
No. 2:00-cv-73005 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 24, 2007) (Hood, J.); Shabazz v. Raines, et
al., No. 2:98-cv-75622 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 26, 2003) (Cleland, J.); Draughn v.
McGinnis, et al., No. 5:96-cv-60123 (E.D. Mich. July 23, 1996) (La Plata, J.);
Draughn v. Green, et al., No. 2:95-cv-72939 (E.D. Mich. June 3, 1999) (Borman,
J.); Draughn v. Reeves, et al., No. 2:93-cv-71779 (E.D. Mich. Dec. 30, 1997)
(Cohn, J.); Draughn v. Hutchinson, et al., No. 2:93-cv-72068 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 22,
1996) (Borman, J.); Draughn v. Bailey, et al., No. 2:93-cv-70056 (E.D. Mich. Jan.
26, 1995) (Gilmore, J.); Draughn v. Barr, et al., No. 2:91-cv-76185 (E.D. Mich.
June 24, 1992) (Hackett, J.); Draughn v. Williams, et al., No. 2:89-cv-70659 (E.D.
Mich. July 13, 1993) (Gadola, J.); Draughn v. Jabe, et al., No. 2:89-cv-70185
(E.D. Mich. Oct. 28, 1991) (Duggan, J.). This does not include Plaintiff’s prisoner
civil rights cases filed in the United States District Court for the Western District
in the present case, and he similarly has not established that denial of counsel at
this point in the proceedings would result in “fundamental unfairness impinging on
due process rights.” See Reneer v. Sewell, 975 F.2d 258, 261 (6th Cir. 1992).
The Court finds that Magistrate Judge Davis’s determination was correct.
Plaintiff’s third objection is overruled.
The Court has reviewed Magistrate Judge Davis’s order and Plaintiff’s
objections, and finds there is no evidence that her determination was clearly
erroneous or contrary to law.
Plaintiff was ordered to submit his Amended Complaint within 21 days of
the entry of Magistrate Judge Davis’s order. Dkt. No. 92, p. 6 (Pg. ID 756).
Plaintiff was advised that this order and deadline have remained in full force and
effect because the magistrate judge or district judge did not stay it. Dkt. No. 92, p.
14 (Pg. ID 764) (citing E.D. Mich. LR 72.2). The Court has yet to receive
Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint and the deadline has passed. Nevertheless, because
Plaintiff is proceeding without counsel, the Court will extend the deadline for
submission of his Amended Complaint.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff shall submit his Amended
Complaint by August 2, 2017, or this case will be dismissed. This amendment
must comply with the terms of Magistrate Judge Davis’s order. Dkt. No. 92, p. 6
(Pg. ID 756).
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Objection  is
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Magistrate Judge Davis’s Order  is
IT IS SO ORDERED.
July 19, 2017
/s/Gershwin A Drain
HON. GERSHWIN A. DRAIN
United States District Court Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?