CTS Corporation v. Mills Gap Road Associates et al
ORDER affirming 68 Memorandum and Recommendations; denying 54 Motion for Partial Summary Judgment; denying 57 Motion for Summary Judgment; FURTHER ORDERED on or before 2/01/13 Defts may file amended Motion for Summary Judgment, only as indicated in this Order; trial currently set to begin 2/25/13 in Asheville rescheduled; new trial date to be set by Court order at a later date. Signed by Senior Judge Graham Mullen on 1/7/13. (ejb)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
MILLS GAP ROAD ASSOCIATES, et al., )
THIS MATTER is before the Court upon the Defendants’ Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment [Doc. No. 54]; Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 57]; and on the
Memorandum and Recommendation of the Honorable Dennis L. Howell, United States
Magistrate Judge, (Doc. No. 68) regarding the disposition of those motions. Plaintiff brought this
action against Defendants asserting claims for breach of contract, declaratory relief and payment
on a promissory note. Defendant’s move for partial summary judgment on two of Plaintiff’s
claims. Plaintiff moves for summary judgment on all of its claims. By Memorandum and
Recommendation (M & R), Magistrate Judge Howell recommends that this Court deny both
motions. The parties were advised that pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c), written objections
to the memorandum and recommendation must be filed within 14 days after service of the
memorandum. On December 3, 2012, both Plaintiff and Defendants submitted timely objections
to the Memorandum and Recommendation, (Doc. Nos. 69 and 70) and on December 20, 2012,
Plaintiff and Defendants filed reply briefs. (Doc. Nos. 71 and 72).
The Court adopts the background material presented in the Memorandum and Recommendation.
(Doc. No. 68 at 1-10).
The Federal Magistrate Act provides that “a district court shall make a de novo
determination of those portions of the report or specific proposed findings or
recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Camby v.
Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 200 (4 Cir. 1983). However, “when objections to strictly legal
issues are raised and no factual issues are challenged, de novo review of the record
may be dispensed with.” Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982).
Similarly, de novo review is not required by the statute “when a party makes general
or conclusory objections that do not direct the court to a specific error in the
magistrate judge’s proposed findings and recommendations.” Id. Moreover, the
statute does not on its face require any review at all of issues that are not the subject
of an objection. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149 (1985); Camby, 718 F.2d at 200.
Nonetheless, a district judge is responsible for the final determination and outcome
of the case.
Because both parties have objected to the findings of the magistrate judge, this
Court conducts a de novo review. To begin, the Defendants first object to the
Recommendation’s failure to recommend entry of summary judgment in part in favor of
the Defendants as to Plaintiff’s claims regarding shared costs incurred to perform work
under the 2004 Administrative Order. The Recommendation noted that if the Defendants
had moved for summary judgment on these claims, “the Court would have recommended
that the District Court grant such a motion as there is no question of material fact that
Plaintiff is not entitled to the relief requested in the Amended Complaint as to these
claims.” (Doc. No. 68 at 16 n.3). Despite Defendants omission to file a formal crossmotion for summary judgment on these claims, the Defendants now ask, in the interest of
justice and citing to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(f) for support, that they be
permitted a reasonable opportunity to present further evidence material to the
construction of the Deed of Trust and Site Participation Agreement as to these issues so
that summary judgment may be granted. The Court is aware that Plaintiff objects to this
request but also notes that the issues are unavoidable in that the Court will either address
them now on summary judgment or on a Rule 50 motion at trial. Therefore, in the
interest of judicial economy and in order to narrow the issues for trial, the Court will
allow Defendants to move for summary judgment only as to these issues. Such motion
should be filed on or before February 1, 2013. A response and reply brief will be
permitted as provided in the Rules of Civil Procedure. Such motion will be referred to
Magistrate Judge Howell for a Memorandum and Recommendation as appropriate. A
trial date will be set after this Court has had an opportunity to review the Memorandum
The Court has reviewed and fully considered all of the remaining objections to the
Magistrate’s Memorandum and Recommendation as well as the underlying record and
concludes that the recommendations contained the Memorandum and Recommendation
are correct and in accordance with the law. Therefore, the Court concludes that the
recommendation to deny Defendants’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and
Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment is correct and in accordance with the law.
Accordingly, the findings and conclusions of the magistrate are accepted.
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that the Memorandum and Recommendation of
Magistrate Judge Howell is hereby AFFIRMED and Defendants’ Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment (#54) is DENIED and Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment is
DENIED (Doc. No. 57). IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Defendants may file
an amended Motion for Summary Judgment, only as indicated in this Order, on or
before February 1, 2013. Such motion shall be referred to Magistrate Judge Howell
for a Memorandum and Recommendation. The trial, currently set to begin on
February 25, 2013 in Asheville, will be rescheduled. The court will set the new trial
date by order at a later date.
Signed: January 7, 2013
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?