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Walker v. Ffva Mutual Insurance Co.

United States District Court, Fifth Circuit

December 10, 2013

KONINEDOU FONTA WALKER, Plaintiff,
v.
FFVA MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, JAMES B. DONAGHEY, INC., STATE FARM INSURANCE COMPANY, QBE INSURANCE COMPANY, AND BRADLEY SANDERS, Defendants.

ORDER OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTION AND ADOPTING PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT AND RECOMMENDATIONS

HALIL SULEYMAN OZERDEN, District Judge.

BEFORE THE COURT is Plaintiff Koninedou Fonta Walker's Objection [68] to three Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendations [63] [65] and [66] of United States Magistrate Judge Robert H. Walker entered on November 6, 2013. Defendants FFVA Mutual Insurance Company, James B. Donaghey, Inc., State Farm Insurance Company, QBE Insurance Company, and Bradley Sanders did not respond to the Objection. Having considered the Objection, the Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendations, and relevant legal authorities, the Court concludes that the Objection should be overruled, and the Magistrate Judge's Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendations [63] [65] and [66] should be adopted as the opinions of the Court.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On October 4, 2012, Plaintiff Koninedu Fonta Walker ("Plaintiff") sued FFVA Mutual Insurance Company ("FFVA"), James B. Donaghey, Inc. ("Donaghey"), State Farm Insurance Company, QBE Insurance Company, and Bradley Sanders ("Sanders") asserting that he suffered work-related injuries while employed by Donaghey. Compl. 4-7 [1]. Donaghey was served on February 13, 2013 [14], but did not timely respond to the Complaint. On April 2, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary Judgment [16] as to all Defendants. On May 28, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Entry of Default [18] as to Donaghey, and the clerk entered a default.[1]

On July 18, 2013, FFVA waived service [29] and answered the Complaint [30] on behalf of FFVA and Donaghey. That same date, Donaghey filed a Motion to Set Aside Default [31], which Plaintiff moved to strike on September 16, 2013 [51]. Sanders was served on July 23, 2013 [47], and timely moved to dismiss the Complaint on August 6, 2013 [39], but Plaintiff filed a Motion for Entry of Default [44] as to Sanders on August 19, 2013.

On November 6, 2013, the Magistrate Judge recommended that Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment [16] be denied as premature. Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendation [63]. The Magistrate Judge also recommended that Plaintiff's Motion for Entry of Default as to Sanders [44] be denied because Sanders timely sought dismissal of the Complaint. Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendation [65]. While Plaintiff identifies these two Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendations as being the subject of his Objection, Plaintiff failed to address either of them in his Objection.

Also on November 6, 2013, the Magistrate Judge issued a recommendation that Donaghey's Motion to Set Aside Default [31] be granted, that Plaintiff's Motion to Strike [51] Donaghey's Motion to Set Aside Default be denied, and that Plaintiff's additional Motions for Entry of Default as to Donaghey [28] [58] be denied. Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendation [65]. The Magistrate Judge concluded that Donaghey did not act willfully in failing to timely respond, Plaintiff would not be prejudiced if the default was set aside, and Donaghey had a meritorious defense stemming from a release executed by Plaintiff. Id. at 2-4.

Plaintiff objects contending that he would suffer prejudice if the default as to Donaghey were set aside. Plaintiff posits that he has lost evidence and "some method of approach, " Donaghey failed to follow the procedural rules, and Plaintiff asked for a default judgment but was not provided one. Objection [68]. Plaintiff asserts Donaghey's failure to timely respond further prejudiced Plaintiff because he was transferred to a different correctional facility and has lost "good legal aid." Id.

The Court finds that the Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendations are well reasoned, correctly find the applicable facts, and correctly apply the governing legal standards. As discussed below, the Court overrules Plaintiff's Objection and adopts each Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendation as the Court's opinion. Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment [16] will be denied, Plaintiff's Motion for Entry of Default [44] as to Bradley Sanders will be denied, and Plaintiff's additional Motions for Entry of Default [28] [58] as to Donaghey will be denied. Plaintiff's Motion to Strike [51] Donaghey's Motion to Set Aside Default will be denied, and Donaghey's Motion to Set Aside Default [31] will be granted.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

Because objections have been filed to the Magistrate Judge's Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendation, this Court is required to "make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." 28 U.S.C. ยง 636(b)(1); see also Longmire v. Gust, 921 F.2d 620, 623 (5th Cir. 1991) (noting parties are "entitled to a de novo review by an Article III Judge as to those issues to which an objection is made"). The Court is not required, however, to reiterate the findings and conclusions of the Magistrate Judge. Koetting v. Thompson, 995 F.2d 37, 40 (5th Cir. 1993). The Court also need not consider objections which are frivolous, conclusive, or general in nature. Battle v. United States Parole Commission, 834 F.2d 419, 421 (5th Cir. 1997).

B. Analysis

1. Motion for Summary ...


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