Kenneth W. Reed, Plaintiff,
Karen Barcklay, et al., Defendants.
JAMES A. TEILBORG, Senior District Judge.
Pending before the Court are Plaintiff's Objections to Magistrate Judge's Order of September 12, 2013 (Doc. 280). The Court now rules on the Objections.
On October 3, 2011, Plaintiff, who is confined in the Arizona State Prison Complex-Yuma in San Luis, Arizona, filed an amended pro se civil rights Complaint (Doc. 22) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On June 22, 2012, the Court amended the deadlines set in the Rule 16 Scheduling Order. Relevantly, the deadline for all discovery to be completed was set as October 29, 2012 and all dispositive motions were due on or before November 19, 2012. (Doc. 98).
On November 19, 2012, Defendants Barcklay and Ryan moved for summary judgment on all remaining claims in Plaintiff's Complaint. (Doc. 166). On September 12, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Reopen Discovery and for Leave to Serve Additional Discovery Requests (the "Motion to Reopen"). (Doc. 270). On September 12, 2013, the Magistrate Judge denied Plaintiff's Motion to Reopen Discovery and for Leave to Serve Additional Discovery Requests. (Doc. 276). Plaintiff now objects to the Magistrate Judge's denial of his Motion to Reopen Discovery and Leave to Serve Additional Discovery Requests.
The Federal Magistrates Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 631-639, "distinguishes between nondispositive matters under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and dispositive matters heard pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B)." United States v. Abonce-Barrera, 257 F.3d 959, 968 (9th Cir. 2001). "Under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), a district judge may designate a magistrate judge to hear any nondispositive pretrial matter pending before the court." Estate of Connors v. O'Connor, 6 F.3d 656, 658 (9th Cir. 1993) (emphasis in original).
When a pretrial matter not dispositive of a party's claim or defense is referred to a magistrate judge to hear and decide, the magistrate judge must promptly conduct the required proceedings and, when appropriate, issue a written order stating the decision. A party may serve and file objections to the order within 14 days after being served with a copy. A party may not assign as error a defect in the order not timely objected to. The district judge in the case must consider timely objections and modify or set aside any part of the order that is clearly erroneous or is contrary to law.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a). The Court will thus review the Magistrate Judge's decisions of law de novo, and decisions of fact only for clear error. See id.; 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); see Abonce-Barrera, 257 F.3d at 967.
In her Order denying the Motion to Reopen, the Magistrate Judge stated that she was liberally construing Plaintiff's request to reopen discovery and for leave to serve additional discovery requests as a motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d)(2). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d)(2) provides that:
[i]f a nonmovant shows by affidavit or declaration that, for specified reasons, it cannot present facts essential to justify its opposition, the court may:... (2) allow time to obtain affidavits or declarations or to take discovery.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(d)(2).
Plaintiff objects to the Magistrate Judge's "liberal construction" of his Motion. Plaintiff contends that:
[i]f Plaintiff had wanted the Court to stay its disposition of the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, because he was unable to present facts essential to justify [his] opposition, ' he would have invoked Rule 56(d)(2)... himself and so moved the Court with the requisite affidavits or declarations attached.... Plaintiff is operating under the presumption that the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment has not brought this case to a standstill and that he must continue with trial preparations.
(Doc. 280 at 2). Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate Judge inappropriately considered his motion as brought pursuant to 56(d)(2) under the "prejudiced presumption" that Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment would be granted and Plaintiff would not need further discovery to prepare for trial.
Plaintiff's argument is not well-taken and appears to be based on a misunderstanding of the importance of the discovery deadline in this case. In his Motion to Reopen Discovery, Plaintiff failed to cite to any rule of procedure that would entitle him to re-open discovery after the discovery deadline in the case has passed. Plaintiff did not move to amend the scheduling order pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b)(4) and did not show good cause to do so. Rather, Plaintiff sought to propound discovery requests on Defendants seeking disclosure of the case law that Defendants cited in their Motion for Summary Judgment, and to conduct additional discovery, which Plaintiff claims is relevant to the prosecution of his ...