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McKnight v. Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Division of Welfare and Supportive Services

United States District Court, D. Nevada

February 28, 2018

TERRIA McKNIGHT, Plaintiff,
v.
NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES DIVISION OF WELFARE AND SUPPORTIVE SERVICES; NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES DIVISION OF WELFARE AND SUPPORTIVE SERVICES ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATION OFFICE, Defendants.

          ORDER

          MIRANDA M. DU, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. SUMMARY

         Before the Court is the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Valerie P. Cooke (ECF No. 3) (“R&R”) relating to Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP Application”) (ECF No. 1) and pro se complaint (ECF No. 1-1). Plaintiff filed her objection on November 6, 2017 (“Objection”). (ECF No. 4.)

         For the reasons discussed herein, the Court accepts in part and rejects in part the Magistrate Judge's R&R.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, an individual with disabilities who resides in Lyon County, Nevada, brings seven purported claims for relief relating to incidents arising from a Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Division of Welfare and Supportive Services (“DWSS”) Administrative Adjudication Office (“AAO”) hearing to redetermine her application and eligibility for Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (“SNAP”) benefits. This Court adopts the more detailed summary of the complaint's allegations in the R&R (ECF No. 3 at 3-4).

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         This Court “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). Where a party timely objects to a magistrate judge's report and recommendation, then the court is required to “make a de novo determination of those portions of the [report and recommendation] to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Where a party fails to object, however, the court is not required to conduct “any review at all . . . of any issue that is not the subject of an objection.” Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149 (1985). Indeed, the Ninth Circuit has recognized that a district court is not required to review a magistrate judge's report and recommendation where no objections have been filed. See United States v. Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114, 1122 (9th Cir. 2003) (disregarding the standard of review employed by the district court when reviewing a report and recommendation to which no objections were made); see also Schmidt v. Johnstone, 263 F.Supp.2d 1219, 1226 (D. Ariz. 2003) (reading the Ninth Circuit's decision in Reyna-Tapia as adopting the view that district courts are not required to review “any issue that is not the subject of an objection.”). Thus, if there is no objection to a magistrate judge's recommendation, then the court may accept the recommendation without review. See, e.g., Johnstone, 263 F.Supp.2d at 1226 (accepting, without review, a magistrate judge's recommendation to which no objection was filed).

         In light of Plaintiff's objection to the R&R, the Court conducts a de novo review to determine whether to adopt the R&R.

         IV. DISCUSSION

         The Magistrate Judge recommends granting Plaintiff's IFP Application. Plaintiff does not object to this recommendation. (ECF No. 3 at 1.) Accordingly, the Court will accept the recommendation.

         The Magistrate Judge further recommends that the complaint be dismissed with prejudice in its entirety based on the doctrine of Burford abstention.[1] (ECF No. 3 at 6.) After performing a de novo review, the Court rejects the Magistrate Judge's findings in whole but accepts the Magistrate Judge's recommendations in part.

         A. Claims in the Complaint

         While the complaint identifies seven distinct claims for relief, three of the claims appear to be redundant.

         Plaintiff's first claim is entitled “14th Amendment of the United States Constitution” and states that Plaintiff was denied adequate notice under the Due Process Clause by “[n]ot having rules on evidence exchange and not receiving information in a timely manner.” (ECF No. 1-1 at 4.) The Court construes this claim as a claim for violation of Plaintiff's procedural due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         Plaintiff's second claim is entitled “Constitutional [sic] Article VI” and states that “[c]alculations [of SNAP benefits] given by the Federal government is [sic] considered to be the Supreme Law of the Land” and “[d]eviations in state calculations deprive Plaintiff of the property interest in receiving benefits.” (ECF No. 1-1 at 4.) The Court construes this as an attempt to bring an independent claim for relief under the United States Constitution's Supremacy Clause, U.S. Const. art. VI, § 1, and/or a claim that the state agency officer's calculations of her eligibility for SNAP are preempted by federal law.

         Plaintiff's third claim is entitled “Regulations of the Department of Agriculture 7 C.F.R [sic] 273” and lists a variety of Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) regulations relating to SNAP eligibility determination and the process by which a state agency conducts hearings to determine SNAP eligibility. (ECF No. 1-1 at 5-9 (citing 7 C.F.R. §§ 273.2, 273.8, 273.9, 273.10, 273.15).) The Court construes this claim as being redundant with Plaintiff's second claim although the Court incorporates the federal regulations cited to by Plaintiff as part of that claim.

         Plaintiff's fourth claim is entitled “42 USC 1983” and states that “there is a private right of action under section 1983 to enforce the fair hearings requirement of the Medicaid Act.”[2] (ECF No. 1-1 at 9.) The Court ...


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