White v. Uhler et al
ORDER: ORDERED, that Plaintiff's request (Dkt. No. 223 ) for an extension of the deadline to object to the Report-Recommendation (Dkt. No 209) is DENIED. ORDERED, that the Report-Recommendation (Dkt. No. 209 ) is APPROVED and ADOPTED in i ts entirety. ORDERED, that Defendant's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 169 ) is GRANTED. ORDERED, that Plaintiff's Complaint (Dkt. No. 1 ) is DISMISSED. ORDERED, that Plaintiff's appeal (Dkt. No. 206 ) of Judge Baxter's text order (Dkt. No. 203) is DISMISSED, and Judge Baxter's text order (Dkt. No. 203) is AFFIRMED. Signed by Senior Judge Lawrence E. Kahn on 8/2/17. (served on plaintiff by regular mail)(alh, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
DONALD UHLER, et al.,
This matter comes before the Court following a Report-Recommendation filed on May 4,
2017, by the Honorable Andrew T. Baxter, U.S. Magistrate Judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b) and Local Rule 72.1(a). Dkt. No. 209 (“Report-Recommendation”). Also before the
Court is plaintiff John White’s appeal of a text order issued by Judge Baxter. Dkt. No. 203
(“Text Order”), Dkt. No. 206 (“Appeal”).
Within fourteen days after a party has been served with a copy of a magistrate judge’s
report-recommendation, the party “may serve and file specific, written objections to the proposed
findings and recommendations.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b); L.R. 72.1(c). If no objections are made, or
if an objection is general, conclusory, perfunctory, or a mere reiteration of an argument made to
the magistrate judge, a district court need review that aspect of a report-recommendation only for
clear error. Barnes v. Prack., No. 11-CV-857, 2013 WL 1121353, at *1 (N.D.N.Y. Mar. 18,
2013); Farid v. Bouey, 554 F. Supp. 2d 301, 306–07, 306 n.2 (N.D.N.Y. 2008), overruled on
other grounds by Widomski v. State Univ. of N.Y. (SUNY) at Orange, 748 F.3d 471 (2d Cir.
2014); see also Machicote v. Ercole, No. 06-CV-13320, 2011 WL 3809920, at *2 (S.D.N.Y.
Aug. 25, 2011) (“[E]ven a pro se party’s objections to a Report and Recommendation must be
made specific and clearly aimed at particular findings in the magistrate’s proposal, such that no
party be allowed a second bite at the apple by simply relitigating a prior argument.” (quoting
Howell v. Port Chester Police Station, No. 09-CV-1651, 2010 WL 930981, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Mar.
15, 2010))). “A [district] judge . . . may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings
or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” § 636(b).
No objections were filed in the allotted time period. Docket. The ReportRecommendation was issued on May 4, 2017, and objections were due on May 22. Rep.-Rec. On
June 1, the Court extended the deadline for filing objections to June 26. Dkt. No. 212. On July 5,
White filed a letter with the Court suggesting, among other things, that he needed copies of his
opposition papers to respond to the Report-Recommendation. Dkt. No. 219. The Court construed
this as yet another request for an extension of the deadline for filing objections, and it denied the
request (though it granted his request for copies of his opposition papers, which he claimed were
necessary to help him litigate a separate case). Dkt. No. 220. Finally, on July 27, White filed
another letter requesting an extension of time to lodge objections to the ReportRecommendation. Dkt. No. 223. In this letter, he appears to reiterate his belief that he could not
properly object to Judge Baxter’s Report-Recommendation without copies of his opposition
papers. Id. Since the Court fails to see how this prevented White from meaningfully objecting to
the Report-Recommendation, the Court denies his request for another extension of the deadline.
See Tavares v. Amato, 954 F. Supp. 2d 79, 84 (N.D.N.Y. 2013) (denying a pro se plaintiff’s
request for an extension of the time period for objecting to a Report-Recommendation because,
among other things, “he offer[ed] no valid basis for an extension of the time period for filing
objections”). Since no objections were filed in the allotted time period, the Court has reviewed
the Report-Recommendation for clear error and has found none.
Additionally, White appeals Judge Baxter’s March 10, 2017 text order denying his
request to file a surreply. Appeal at 1–2; Text Order. A district court may reverse the decision of
a magistrate judge only “where it has been show that the magistrate’s order is clearly erroneous
or contrary to law.” § 636(b)(1)(A). A magistrate judge’s order is clearly erroneous “when ‘the
reviewing court on the entire evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake
has been committed.’” Weiss v. La Suisse, 161 F. Supp. 2d 305, 321 (S.D.N.Y. 2001) (quoting
Thompson v. Keane, No. 95-CV-2442, 1996 WL 229887, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. May 6, 1996)). “‘An
order is contrary to law when it fails to apply or misapplies relevant statutes, case law or rules of
procedure.’” Thompson, 1996 WL 229887, at *1 (quoting SEC v. Thrasher, No. 92-CV-6987,
1995 WL 456402, at *12 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 2, 1995)).
White argues that Judge Baxter erred in denying his request to file a surreply, Appeal at 1,
but Local Rule 7.1(b)(1) does not allow plaintiffs to file surreplies. Local rules have the force of
law “[s]o long as such rules do not conflict with rules prescribed by the Supreme Court,
congressional enactments, or constitutional provisions.” United States v. Yonkers Bd. of Educ.,
747 F.2d 111, 112 (2d Cir. 1984). A plaintiff’s pro se status does not excuse her from complying
with the local rules. White v. Drake, No. 10-CV-1034, 2011 WL 4478921, at *8 n.13 (N.D.N.Y.
Sept. 26, 2011) (collecting cases). But “‘[a] district court has broad discretion to determine
whether to overlook a party’s failure to comply with the local court rules.’” United States v.
Cook, No. 09-CR-125, 2015 WL 13145602, at *1 n.1 (N.D.N.Y. Nov. 19, 2015) (Kahn, J.)
(quoting Holtz v. Rockefeller & Co., 258 F.3d 62, 73 (2d Cir. 2001)). Since the Local Rules do
not allow plaintiffs to file surreplies, it was within Judge Baxter’s discretion to deny White’s
request. Shomo v. N.Y. Dep’t of Corr. Servs., No. 04-CV-910, 2007 WL 2580509, at *5
(N.D.N.Y. Sept 4, 2007) (Kahn, J.). Finding no error, the Court affirms Judge Baxter’s decision
to deny White’s request.
White also appeals Judge Baxter’s decision to deny his request for additional copies of
the motion papers. Appeal at 1–2. But this issue is now moot because, as noted above, on July 6,
2017, the Court granted White’s request for copies of his opposition papers. Dkt. No. 220.
Accordingly, it is hereby:
ORDERED, that Plaintiff’s request (Dkt. No. 223) for an extension of the deadline to
object to the Report-Recommendation (Dkt. No 209) is DENIED; and it is further
ORDERED, that the Report-Recommendation (Dkt. No. 209) is APPROVED and
ADOPTED in its entirety; and it is further
ORDERED, that Defendant’s motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 169) is
GRANTED; and it is further
ORDERED, that Plaintiff’s Complaint (Dkt. No. 1) is DISMISSED; and it is further
ORDERED, that Plaintiff’s appeal (Dkt. No. 206) of Judge Baxter’s text order (Dkt. No.
203) is DISMISSED, and Judge Baxter’s text order (Dkt. No. 203) is AFFIRMED; and it is
ORDERED, that the Clerk of the Court serve a copy of this Order on all parties in
accordance with the Local Rules.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
August 02, 2017
Albany, New York
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