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Collins v. Collins

United States District Court, D. Nevada

June 17, 2019

JOSHUA COLLINS, et al., Defendants.




         This order addresses Plaintiff Ronald Collins' pending objections to United States Magistrate Judge William G. Cobb's rulings on pretrial issues. Because Plaintiff filed replies in support of his objections in violation of LR IB 3-1(a), and the Court moreover finds these replies to be unnecessary given the opportunities Plaintiff has had to brief these issues, the Court will strike these reply briefs. (ECF Nos. 140, 171, 230.) See LR IB 3-1(a) (“Replies [in support of objections] will be allowed only with leave of court.”)


         Magistrate judges are authorized to resolve pretrial matters subject to district court review under a “clearly erroneous or contrary to law” standard. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a); L.R. IB 3-1(a) (“A district judge may reconsider any pretrial matter referred to a magistrate judge in a civil or criminal case pursuant to LR IB 1-3, where it has been shown that the magistrate judge's ruling is clearly erroneous or contrary to law.”). “A finding of fact is clearly erroneous if it is (1) illogical, (2) implausible, or (3) without support in inferences that may be drawn from the facts in the record.” Red Lion Hotels Franchising, Inc. v. MAK, LLC, 663 F.3d 1080, 1087 (9th Cir. 2011) (citation and quotation marks omitted). But a magistrate judge's pretrial order issued under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) is not subject to de novo review, and the reviewing court “may not simply substitute its judgment for that of the deciding court.” Grimes v. City & County of San Francisco, 951 F.2d 236, 241 (9th Cir. 1991).


         The Court addresses Plaintiff's currently pending objections to Judge Cobb's decisions in chronological order.

         A. ECF No. 117

         Plaintiff objects to Judge Cobb's denial of his motion for pictures of the food slot door “to be taken at scale” (ECF No. 106) and Judge Cobb's subsequent denial of his motion for reconsideration (ECF No. 113). (ECF No. 117.) The gist of this discovery dispute is Plaintiff's request for pictures of the food slot located at Unit 7b cell 31 where Plaintiff's arm was allegedly injured by Defendant Collins. (ECF No. 85 at 2.) Defendants respond that they cannot allow Plaintiffs to take pictures in the area of the housing unit for safety and security reasons, but offered four pictures taken of the requested area. (ECF No. 95.) In his reply in support of his motion, Plaintiff claimed that Defendants' counsel in an August 16, 2018 call (the day after Defendants filed their response (ECF No. 95) agreed to permit Plaintiff to take 2 pictures of him “at the cell door to show the court and the jury in this case how the low food slot door is located off the floor.” (ECF No. 101 at 2.) Judge Cobb agreed with Defendants and denied Plaintiff's motion, finding that the four photos provided are sufficient. (ECF No. 106.)

         Plaintiff then moved for reconsideration, arguing that he needed 2 pictures to be taken to scale for him to demonstrate that “with the cell food slot being two foot off the floor (ground) it would be almost impossible for Plaintiff to have haven attempting to grab Defendant Collins' keys as he had claimed.” (ECF No. 111 at 2.) Plaintiff also challenges Defendants' claim of security threats in taking Plaintiff to the unit cell to take pictures. (Id. at 4.) Judge Cobb denied that motion, finding “the pictures that Defendants produced (ECF No. 95) adequately depict the location of the food slot in relation to the cell door.” (ECF No. 113 at 1.)

         Plaintiff cannot show that Judge Cobb was clearly erroneous in his finding. Indeed, the pictures provided (ECF No. 95-1) sufficiently depict the location of the food slot door in relation to the floor. The Court therefore overrules Plaintiff's objection. (ECF No. 117.)

         Defendants' motion for extension of time to respond to Plaintiff's objection (ECF No. 124) is granted nunc pro tunc. However, the Court notes that Defendants did not file a response.

         B. ECF No. 125

         Plaintiff contends that Judge Cobb has refused to assist him in obtaining needed documents or in allowing him to review files in Defendants' possession, including refusing to recognize that he satisfied the meet and confer requirement by sending letters to Defendants' counsel pursuant to LR IA 1-3(f). (ECF No. 125.) Defendants respond by reiterating Plaintiff's failure to comply with the local rules and failure ...

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