RIKOS v. BAYER HEALTHCARE, LLC
OPINION & ORDER denying 126 Appeal Magistrate Judge Decision to District Court, Plaintiffs' appeal of Magistrate Judge Dickson's 5/7/2015 Letter Order is DENIED. Signed by Judge Jose L. Linares on 6/8/2015. (anr)
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
U1’IITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Civil Action No. 07-01 (JLL)
OPINION AND ORDER
IN RE: BAYER PHILLIPS COLON HEALTH
PROBIOTIC SALES PRACTICES
Civil Action No. l1-3017(JLL)
OPINION AND ORDER
LINARES, District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on Dino Rikos and Troy Yuncker’s (“Plaintiffs”)
appeal of Magistrate Judge Dickson’s May 7, 2015 Letter Order denying Plaintiffs’ motion to
modify the Discovery Confidentiality Orders in the above-referenced matters. The Court has
considered the submissions of the parties and for good cause shown, Plaintiffs’ appeal is denied.
A United States Magistrate Judge may hear and determine any [non-dispositive] pretrial
matter pending before the Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(l)(A). The district court will
only reverse a magistrate judge’s decision on these matters if it is “clearly erroneous or contrary
to law.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(l)(A); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a); L. Civ. R. 72.I(c)(1)(A). Therefore,
“this Court will review a magistrate judge’s findings of fact for clear error.” Lithuanian
Commerce Corp., Ltd. v. Sara Lee Hosiery, 177 F.R.D. 205, 213 (D.N.J.1997) (citing Lo Bosco
v. Kure Engg Ltd., 891 F.Supp. 1035, 1037 (D.N.J. 1995)). Under this standard, 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.”
Anderson v. Bessemer City, 470 U.S. 564, 573 (1985) (citing United States v. US. Gypsum Co.,
333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948)). The district court will not reverse the magistrate judge’s
determination, even in circumstances where the court might have decided the matter differently.
Bowen v. Parking Auth. of City of Camden, 2002 WL 1754493, at *3 (D.N.J. July 30, 2002). “A
district judge’s simple disagreement with the magistrate judge’s findings is insufficient to meet
the clearly erroneous standard of review.” Andrews v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Inc., 191
F.R.D, 59, 68 (D.N.J.2000).
In matters where the magistrate judge is authorized to exercise his or her discretion, the
decision will be reversed only for an abuse of discretion. See, e.g., Kresejky v. Panasonic
Commc’ns & Sys. Co., 169 F.R.D. 54, 64 (D.N.J.1996) (“Where, as here, the magistrate has ruled
on a non-dispositive matter such as a discovery motion, his or her ruling is entitled to great
deference and is reversible only for abuse of discretion”). “This deferential standard is
‘especially appropriate where the Magistrate Judge has managed this case from the outset and
developed a thorough knowledge of the proceedings.” Lithuanian Commerce Corp., 177 F.R.D.
at 214 (quoting Pub. Interest Research Group v. Hercules, Inc., 830 F. Supp. 1525, 1547
(D.N.J.1993), affdon other grounds and rev’d on other grounds, 50 F.3d 1239 (3d Cir.1995)).
However, a magistrate judge’s legal conclusions on a non-dispositive motion will be reviewed
novo. See Haines v. Liggett Group, Inc., 975 F.2d 81,91 (3d Cir.1992); Lo Bosco, 891 F.Supp.
at 1037. A ruling is “contrary to law” when the magistrate judge has misinterpreted or
misapplied the applicable law. Pharm. Sales & Consulting Corp. v. J WS. Delavau Co., Inc.,
106 F.Supp.2d 761, 764 (D.NJ.2000).
In his May 7, 2015 Letter Order, Magistrate Judge Dickson denied Plaintiffs’ request to
modify the Discovery Confidentiality Orders in the instant cases. Rather, Magistrate Judge
Dickson determined that there was “no basis to compel Bayer to modify the Discovery
Confidentiality Order nor to produce documents [to the Plaintiffs], regardless of relevance,
privilege or other considerations, which it has produced to the Government,” acknowledgin that
while “[t]he cases apparently overlap.
[they] are litigated under somewhat different legal
standards.” Judge Dickson further concluded that the requested modification “would effecti
force Bayer to produce confidential or irrelevant information in this action merely because it has
been produced in the Government’s suit.” Finally, Judge Dickson ordered the parties to meet
and confer and “if the parties’ meet and confer fails, Plaintiffs may seek an order compelling
production of documents [to Plaintiffs] that they deem relevant in the instant matter.” Plainti
claim that Judge Dickson decided a dispute that was not before him and did not decide the
which was before him.
Judge Dickson’s May 7, 2015 Letter Order appropriately required Plaintiffs to follow the
normal discovery process of meeting and conferring before seeking relief from the Court. If
there are outstanding discovery matters in this case, Plaintiffs are directed to meet and confer
with Bayer before seeking relief from the Court. Judge Dickson also was correct in finding
granting the request to modify the Discovery Confidentiality Orders would “effectively force
Bayer to produce confidential or irrelevant information” even if it was technically Plainti
turning over the information because, as Judge Dickson so aptly pointed out, these are separate
cases, filed at different times, involving different claims, different legal standards and differe
discovery requests. The Court therefore finds that Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that
Magistrate Judge Dickson committed a clear error or reached a decision contrary to law, and his
May 7, 2015 Letter Order will be affirmed.
Accordingly, IT IS on this
day of June, 2015,
ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ appeal of Magistrate Judge Dickson’s May 7, 2015 Letter
Order is DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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?