United States District Court, D. Nevada
R. HICKS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court is Plaintiff Christopher Jones’ objections to
the Magistrate Judge’s Minute Order on December 12,
2016. ECF No. 552. In the at-issue order, the Magistrate
Judge found that Defendants Jeremiah Schultz, Brian Williams,
and Greg Cox (collectively, “Defendants”)
complied with the Magistrate Judge’s two previous
orders: ECF No. 507 and ECF No. 540. Minute Order, ECF No.
550. The Magistrate Judge also denied Jones’ motion for
reconsideration of the denial of Jones’ earlier motion
to compel. Id. The court now overrules Jones’
objections and affirms the Magistrate Judge’s order in
its entirety for the reasons discussed below. The court also
sets a thirty-day deadline to file dispositive motions from
the date of entry of this order.
obtained the Magistrate Judge’s permission to reissue a
subpoena duces tecum. See ECF No. 487.
Jones then caused the subpoena to be served on Sheriff
Lombardo of Clark County, Nevada, at the Las Vegas
Metropolitan Police Department. ECF No. 506, Ex. 1. The
subpoena commanded the production of contact information from
the ex-felon registry for four potential witnesses to
Jones’ claims: (1) Kevin Smith; (2) Michael Washington;
(3) Jose Alcocer; and (4) Isidro Lemus-Leon. Id.
However, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
objected to the subpoena and refused to produce the requested
information, citing Nevada Revised Statute
(“N.R.S”) § 179C.170. Id. at Ex. 2.
Chapter 179C requires certain convicted persons to register
with the sheriff or chief of police by filing a written
statement. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 179C.100(4). The statement
must contain particular information, including the convicted
person’s address. Id. The statute prohibits
the sheriff or the chief of police from opening the written
statements for inspection by the public. Nev. Rev. Stat.
§ 179C.170(1). However, the statute permits copies of
the statements to be provided to “the head of any
department of the State of Nevada engaged in the enforcement
of any criminal law of [Nevada].” Nev. Rev. Stat.
§ 179C.170(2)(c). Despite N.R.S. § 179C.170(1)
prohibiting public inspection of the written statements,
Jones moved to compel Sheriff Lombardo’s compliance
with the subpoena. ECF No. 506. Sheriff Lombardo opposed
Jones’ motion. ECF No. 510.
days after Jones filed his motion to compel, the Magistrate
Judge ordered the Nevada Attorney General’s Office
“to direct an investigator to review the ex-felon
registry for the last known addresses for Kevin Smith and
Michael Washington”-the first two witnesses named in
the subpoena directed to Sheriff Lombardo. See
Minutes of Proceedings, ECF No. 507. In a subsequent order,
the Magistrate Judge also ordered the Nevada Attorney
General’s Office to “direct an investigator to
review the ex-felon registry and provide [the last known
addresses] for Jose Alcocer and Isidro Lemus-Leon”-the
last two witnesses named in the subpoena directed to Sheriff
Lombardo. Minute Order, ECF No. 540. Based on the Magistrate
Judge’s directives to the Nevada Attorney
General’s Office in both orders, the Magistrate Judge
denied Jones’ motion to compel Sheriff Lombardo’s
compliance with the subpoena as moot. Id.
filed a notice of compliance for both of the Magistrate
Judge’s orders. ECF Nos. 511, 542. To comply with the
first and the second order, an employee of the Nevada
Attorney General’s Office accessed the requested
information through the National Crime Information Center
database and the Lexis Advance database, respectively. ECF
No. 511, Ex. A; ECF No. 542, Ex. A. From these searches,
Defendants provided the last-known contact information for
the four potential witnesses to Jones. ECF No. 511, Ex. B;
ECF No. 542, Ex. B; ECF No. 543, Ex. 1; ECF No. 543, Ex. 3.
Jones used the information provided by the Defendants to
contact the witnesses via U.S. mail, but Jones’ letters
to Kevin Smith and to Isidro Lemus-Leon were returned. ECF
No. 543, Ex. 2; ECF No. 543, Ex. 4.
then filed ECF No. 543, which included a notice of
Defendants’ non-compliance with the Magistrate
Judge’s two orders and a motion for reconsideration of
the Magistrate Judge’s denial of Jones’ motion to
compel Sheriff Lombardo’s compliance with the subpoena.
ECF No. 543. Defendants responded to Jones’ filing,
arguing that they complied with the Magistrate Judge’s
orders by providing the last-known contact information from a
registry available to the Nevada Attorney General’s
Office. ECF No. 546. Defendants claimed that N.R.S. §
179C.170 prohibits access to the ex-felon registry-even
access by the Nevada Attorney General for private needs in
civil matters rather than for criminal purposes. Id.
Jones, however, emphasized that the requested information had
not been obtained from the ex-felon registry as required by
the language in the Magistrate Judge’s orders.
Id. at 4–5. The Magistrate Judge issued a
minute order on December 12, 2016, finding Defendants in
compliance with both orders and denying Jones’ motion
for reconsideration. Minute Order, ECF No. 550.
now objects to the Magistrate Judge’s order. ECF No.
552. Defendants oppose Jones’ objections. ECF No. 556.
also moves for clarification regarding the scheduling order
for dispositive motions. ECF No. 70. The Magistrate Judge
stayed dispositive motions pending the resolution of
Defendant Howard Skolnik’s appeal. ECF No. 507, ¶
5. The Ninth Circuit decided Skolnik’s appeal on
December 16, 2016, dismissing him from this case. Jones
v. Skolnik, 671 F. App’x 560 (9th Cir. 2016),
cert denied, No. 16-9134, 2017 WL 2080932 (U.S. June
19, 2017); ECF No. 551. This court entered a mandate adhering
to the Ninth Circuit’s decision on March 15, 2017. ECF
No. 569. Discovery closed on May 5, 2016. See
Minutes of Proceedings, ECF No. 465. Based on the foregoing,
Defendants agree that a scheduling order addressing the
dispositive motion deadline is needed. ECF No. 571.
magistrate judge may decide non-dispositive pretrial matters.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). The
magistrate judge’s order generally operates as a final
determination. LR IB 1–3. But if a party timely objects
to the magistrate judge’s order, a district court judge
must review the order and “set aside any part
[…] that is clearly erroneous or is contrary to
law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a); 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(A); LR IB 3–1(a). “Clear error occurs
when ‘the reviewing court on the entire record is left
with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been
committed.’” Smith v. Clark Cty. Sch.
Dist., 727 F.3d 950, 950 (9th Cir. 2013) (quoting
United States v. Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395
(1948)). “An order is contrary to law when it fails to
apply or misapplies relevant statutes, case law, or rules of
procedure.” Jadwin v. Cty. of Kern, 767 F.
Supp. 2d 1069, 1110-11 (E.D. Cal. 2011) (quoting DeFazio
v. Wallis, 459 F. Supp. 2d 159, 163 (E.D.N.Y. 2006)).
However, in reviewing the order, the court applies the
deferential abuse-of-discretion standard; the magistrate
judge’s order will be reversed only if the magistrate
judge abused her broad discretion. Columbia Pictures,
Inc. v. Bunnell, 245 F.R.D. 443, 446 (C.D. Cal. 2007);
see also Premium Serv. Corp. v. Sperry & Hutchinson
Co., 511 F.2d 225, 229 (9th Cir. 1975) (holding a judge
abuses her discretion only when her decision is contrary to
law or clear error based on the evidence).
objects to the Magistrate Judge’s order on two bases.
ECF No. 552 at 2. First, Jones argues the Magistrate Judge
clearly erred when finding Defendants in compliance with the
two previous orders. ECF No. 552 at 2–3. Second, Jones
argues the Magistrate Judge ruled contrary to law by denying
the unopposed motion for reconsideration of Jones’
motion to compel Sheriff Lombardo’s compliance with the
subpoena. ECF ...