Naturalite v. Forner et al
OPINION & ORDER (1) Overruling Plaintiff's Objections (Dkt. 131 ), (2) Adopting the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation (Dkt. 130 ), and (3) Denying Plaintiff's Motions for Relief from Judgment(Dkts. 124 , 126 ). Signed by District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith. (Sandusky, K)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 10-cv-13564
HON. MARK A. GOLDSMITH
GREGORY FORNER, et al.,
OPINION & ORDER
(1) OVERRULING PLAINTIFF’S OBJECTIONS (Dkt. 131), (2) ADOPTING THE
MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION (Dkt. 130), AND (3)
DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTIONS FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT (Dkts. 124, 126)
This matter is presently before the Court on the Report and Recommendation (R&R) of
Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen, issued on January 12, 2018 (Dkt. 130). In the R&R, the
Magistrate Judge recommends that the Court deny Plaintiff Jami Naturalite’s motions for relief
from judgment (Dkts. 124, 126). Naturalite subsequently filed objections to the R&R (Dkt. 131);
Defendants have not filed a response. For the reasons that follow, the Court overrules Naturalite’s
objections, adopts the R&R, and denies Naturalite’s motions for relief from judgment.
I. LEGAL STANDARD
The Court reviews de novo those portions of the R&R to which a specific objection has
been made. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(1). However, “a general objection
to a magistrate’s report, which fails to specify the issues of contention, does not satisfy the
requirement that an objection be filed. The objections must be clear enough to enable the district
court to discern those issues that are dispositive and contentious.” Miller v. Currie, 50 F.3d 373,
380 (6th Cir. 1995).
The Court can discern two related objections from Naturalite’s filing: (i) the Magistrate
Judge erred when he did not allow Naturalite to supplement her motions, and (ii) when he failed
to compel Defendants to file a response to the motions. The Court concludes that these objections
Naturalite filed a motion for relief from judgment on March 9, 2017 (Dkt. 126), followed
by a second motion for relief from judgment based on newly discovered evidence on April 4, 2017
(Dkt. 126). On January 10, 2018, she sent a letter to the Magistrate Judge and to this Court
expressing her concern that the Magistrate Judge had not yet issued the R&R addressing her
pending motions. She requested that the Court allow her thirty days to supplement the motions
“because many events have happened since they were filed.” See 1/10/2018 Letter. Two days
later, the Magistrate Judge entered his R&R, in which he recommends denial of Naturalite’s
motions for relief from judgment.
Naturalite does not identify the events that occurred subsequent to the filings of her
motions. Even if she did, new events cannot serve as the basis for a motion for relief from
judgment. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) provides that:
On motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party or its legal
representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the
(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
(2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable
diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move
for a new trial under Rule 59(b);
(3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic),
misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party;
(4) the judgment is void;
(5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged;
it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or
vacated; or applying it prospectively is no longer equitable;
(6) any other reason that justifies relief.
“[T]he party seeking relief under Rule 60(b) bears the burden of establishing the grounds for such
relief by clear and convincing evidence.” Info–Hold, Inc. v. Sound Merchandising, Inc., 538 F.3d
448, 454 (6th Cir. 2008) (citations omitted).
While Rule 60(b)(1) allows a party relief from judgment where evidence is newly
discovered, nowhere does it state that the rule can be used to litigate new, post-judgment events.
The Magistrate Judge made this point while addressing Naturalite’s first motion for relief from
judgment (Dkt. 124). That motion is based on the alleged removal of her wheeled walker by prison
officials, an event that occurred in October 2016, over four years after judgment was entered in
this case. As with the alleged removal of her walker, Naturalite’s only remedy for any wrongdoing
that occurred after the filing of her motions for relief from judgment “is to pursue the matter
through the MDOC grievance procedure . . . and file a new cause of action.” See R&R at 8.
Naturalite also objects to the Magistrate Judge’s failure to order Defendants to respond to
the motions for relief from judgment. She alleges that by not compelling Defendants to file a
response, the Magistrate Judge “assumed the roles of both Defense Attorney and Magistrate Judge
. . . and, in doing so, Plaintiff was denied her fair and equitable day in court.” Obj. at 7. Naturalite
provides no basis for this assertion. A review of the R&R demonstrates that the Magistrate Judge
correctly concluded that Naturalite was not entitled to relief. As noted above, her first motion is
meritless because it is premised on events that occurred well after judgment was entered. The
second motion, based on a letter from the Southern Poverty Law Center, also did not provide any
grounds for relief. As discussed in the R&R, the letter cannot be considered newly discovered
evidence of anything; it merely states that Defendant Michigan Department of Corrections is
willing to discuss its policy concerning transgender inmates. Ordering a response from Defendants
would not have aided the decision-making process.1
For the foregoing reasons, the Court overrules Naturalite’s objections (Dkt. 131), adopts
the Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation (Dkt. 130), and denies Naturalite’s motions for
relief from judgment (Dkts. 124, 126).
Dated: March 9, 2018
s/Mark A. Goldsmith
MARK A. GOLDSMITH
United States District Judge
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
The undersigned certifies that the foregoing document was served upon counsel of record and any
unrepresented parties via the Court's ECF System to their respective email or First Class U.S. mail
addresses disclosed on the Notice of Electronic Filing on March 9, 2018.
In her filing, Naturalite also alleges that the undersigned is biased because of his prior state
judicial service. The entirely speculative nature of this claim notwithstanding, an objection to an
R&R is not an appropriate vehicle through which to raise a claim of judicial bias.
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?