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Benitez v. Atkins

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division

May 17, 2018

RUBEN ORLANDO BENITEZ PLAINTIFF
v.
JEFFEREY ATKINS DEFENDANT

          ORDER OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S [37] OBJECTION AND [40] AMENDED OBJECTION; ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S [32] PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT AND RECOMMENDATION; AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S [7] MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          HALIL SULEYMAN OZERDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Ruben Orlando Benitez's Objection [37] and Amended Objection [40] to the Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendation [32] of United States Magistrate Judge Robert H. Walker regarding Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment [7]. Based upon his review of Plaintiff's Motion [7], the related pleadings, and relevant legal authority, the Magistrate Judge determined that the Motion [7] should be denied. See Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendation [32] at 2.

         After thoroughly reviewing Plaintiff's Objection [37] and Amended Objection [40], the Magistrate Judge's Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendation [32], Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment [7], related pleadings, the record, and relevant legal authority, the Court finds that Plaintiff's Objection [37] and Amended Objection [40] should be overruled, that the Magistrate Judge's Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendation [32] should be adopted as the finding of the Court, and that Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment [7] should be denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint [1] in the Circuit Court of Greene County, Mississippi, on August 1, 2017, against Defendant Jefferey Atkins (“Defendant” or “Mr. Atkins”), who is an employee of the Clerk's Office of the Supreme Court of the United States. Compl. [5] at 30-31. On August 29, 2017, Mr. Atkins removed the case to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1442(a)(3) and 1446. Notice of Removal [1] at 1.

         On August 30, 2017, Mr. Atkins filed a Motion [2] for Extension of Time to File Answer or Present Other Defenses, which the Magistrate Judge granted, making Mr. Atkins' Answer due by October 5, 2017, see Sept. 11, 2017, Text Order. On October 4, 2017, Mr. Atkins filed a Second Motion [13] for Extension of Time to File Answer or Present Other Defenses. The Magistrate Judge also granted the Second Motion [13], extending Mr. Atkins' Answer deadline until on or before October 12, 2017. See Oct. 5, 2017, Text Order. Mr. Atkins filed his Answer on October 12, 2017. See Ans. [18] at 1. Plaintiff has sought entry of default against Mr. Atkins on several occasions [44], [49], [50], but the Clerk of Court has declined to enter a default. Plaintiff also filed a Motion [46] for Reconsideration of Entry of Default, which the Court denied [47].

         Prior to Mr. Atkins filing his timely Answer, Plaintiff filed the present Motion for Summary Judgment [7], arguing that Mr. Atkins failed to timely answer the Complaint such that Plaintiff is entitled to a judgment in his favor. The Magistrate Judge reviewed Plaintiff's Motion [7] and recommended that it be denied. Plaintiff has filed an Objection [37] and an Amended Objection [40] to the Magistrate Judge's Proposing Findings of Fact and Recommendation [32].

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Relevant Legal Authority

         1. Standard of Review

         Because Plaintiff has filed written Objections [37], [40] to the Magistrate Judge's Proposing Findings of Fact and Recommendation [32], the Court “make[s] 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. § 636(b)(1). “Such review means that this Court will examine the entire record and will make an independent assessment of the law.” Lambert v. Denmark, Civil No. 2:12-cv-74-KS-MTP, 2013 WL 786356, *1 (S.D.Miss. Mar. 1, 2013). In conducting a de novo review, the Court is not “required to reiterate the findings and conclusions of the magistrate judge.” Koetting v. Thompson, 995 F.2d 37, 40 (5th Cir. 1993).

         2. Summary Judgment Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In order to carry this initial burden, a movant “must identify those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Pioneer Expl., L.L.C. v. Steadfast Ins. Co., 767 F.3d 503, 511 (5th Cir. 2014) (quotation omitted).

         3. Entry of Default ...


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