Brewer v. Detroit Public Schools Community District et al
ORDER Overruling 20 Objections. Signed by District Judge Robert H. Cleland. (JOwe)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 17-11364
DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS COMMUNITY
DISTRICT, et al.,
ORDER OVERRULING OBJECTIONS
Pro se Plaintiff Verlina Brewer Plaintiff objects to Magistrate Judge Elizabeth
Stafford’s order (Dkt. #18) that the court will not, at this time, seek out and appoint an
attorney to represent her in this litigation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). The court
assigned all pre-trial matters to the Magistrate Judge under 28 U.S.C. § 636. (Dkt. # 8.)
Congress intended 28 U.S.C. § 636 to relieve the burden on the federal judiciary
by permitting the assignment of district court duties to magistrate judges. See United
States v. Curtis, 237 F.3d 598, 602 (6th Cir. 2001) (citing Gomez v. United States, 490
U.S. 858, 869–70 (1989)). Section 636(b)(1)(A) provides that the district court “may
reconsider any pretrial matter [referred to the magistrate judge] . . . where it has been
shown that the magistrate's order is clearly erroneous or contrary to law.” Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 72(a) “implements” § 636, providing that the “district judge to whom
the case is assigned shall consider such objections and shall modify or set aside any
portion of the magistrate's order found to be clearly erroneous or contrary to law.” See
Massey v. City of Ferndale, 7 F.3d 506, 509 (6th Cir. 1993).
A judicial finding is “clearly erroneous” when it leaves the reviewing court with a
definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed. Under the clearly
erroneous standard, a court reviewing a magistrate judge's order does not ask whether
the finding is the best conclusion to be drawn from the evidence. This does not permit
the reviewing court to substitute its own conclusion for that of the magistrate judge.
Rather, the standard only requires the reviewing court to determine if there is evidence
to support the magistrate judge's finding and that the finding was reasonable. Heights
Cmty. Congress v. Hilltop Realty, Inc., 774 F.2d 135, 140 (6th Cir. 1985)).
The issue addressed in the Magistrate Judge's June 28, 2017 Order is nondispositive. The Magistrate Judge's properly addressed and analyzed the factors to
consider in response to a request for an appointed attorney to serve at no cost to a
party. Plaintiff raises essentially the same issues in her objection to the decision as
raised in her original request, and appears to under the impression that the court has a
roster of attorneys from which it can order an attorney to accept a civil litigation
assignment as is done in criminal litigation. The Magistrate Judge’s Order explains that
this is not the case—the court can only request that an attorney accept representation
without being compensated. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1) (“The court may request an
attorney to represent any person unable to afford counsel.”) (emphasis added).
Reviewing the Magistrate Judge's conclusions under the clearly erroneous or
contrary to law standard, the question is whether the Magistrate Judge's ruling is clearly
erroneous. As explained above, it is not. Accordingly,
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s objections (Dkt. #20) to the Magistrate Judge’s
Order (Dkt. # 18) are OVERRULED.
s/Robert H. Cleland
ROBERT H. CLELAND
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: August 16, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was mailed to counsel of record
on this date, August 16, 2017, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
Acting in the absence of Lisa Wagner
Case Manager and Deputy Clerk
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