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Edwards v. Minact Logistical Services

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

December 13, 2018

KIMBERLY EDWARDS PLAINTIFF
v.
MINACT LOGISTICAL SERVICES DEFENDANT

          ORDER OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS [21], ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [20], GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION [16] TO ENFORCE AND APPROVE SETTLEMENT, APPROVING THE SETTLEMENT, DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION [14] TO PROCEED WITH TRIAL, AND DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT WITH PREJUDICE

          HALIL SULEYMAN OZERDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         BEFORE THE COURT is the Report and Recommendation [20] of United States Magistrate Judge Linda R. Anderson, entered in this case on November 16, 2018. Plaintiff Kimberly Edwards has filed Objections [21] to the Report and Recommendation, along with a Motion [14] to Proceed with Trial. Also before the Court is Defendant Minact Logistical Services' Motion [16] to Enforce and Approve Settlement. After due consideration of the Report and Recommendation [20], the parties' Motions [14] [16], Plaintiff's Objections [21], the record, and relevant legal authority, the Court finds that Plaintiff's Objections [21] should be overruled, the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation should be adopted as the Order of this Court, Defendant's Motion [16] should be granted, the settlement should be enforced, and Plaintiff's Motion [14] should be denied. This civil action should be dismissed with prejudice.

         I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Kimberly Edwards (“Plaintiff”) filed a pro se Complaint in this Court on November 15, 2017, alleging that Defendant Minact Logistical Services, LLC (“Defendant”), discriminated and retaliated against her, withheld overtime wages, denied her sick leave, and violated her privacy. See Compl. [1]. Defendant filed a Motion [8] to Dismiss, and the Court ultimately dismissed all of Plaintiff's claims except for her claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., that she was denied overtime. Order [11] at 5-7. The Court determined that Plaintiff failed to state a claim that she was denied sick leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. § 2601, et seq., id. at 10-11, and that her claims for violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2, et seq., of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. § 621, et seq., and for invasion of privacy under state law, were time-barred by the applicable statutes of limitations. Id. at 11-12.

         Subsequently, during an August 20, 2018, settlement conference before the Magistrate Judge, the case settled. Minute Entry, August 20, 2018. Four days later Plaintiff filed what she entitled a “Motion to Proceed with Trial.” Pl.'s Mot. [14]. In it, Plaintiff reasserted the facts and claims of her Complaint [1], including those which the Court had previously dismissed. Defendant filed its Response [15] in Opposition on September 7, 2018, and argued that Plaintiff's Motion should be denied because it contravened the settlement reached by the parties. Def.'s Resp. [15] at 2. Defendant also contended that to the extent Plaintiff's Motion could be construed as a motion for reconsideration, it should be denied because Plaintiff had neither established that the Court's Order [11] was erroneous nor had she offered any newly-discovered evidence. Id. at 2-3.

         On September 12, 2018, Defendant filed a Motion [16] to Enforce and Approve Settlement and included its proposed Settlement and Release as an exhibit. Exhibit C [16-3]. To date, Plaintiff has not filed a response to Defendant's Motion [16]. Because the Magistrate Judge was in the best position to evaluate in the first instance whether the settlement should be enforced, the Court referred Defendant's Motion [16] to the Magistrate Judge for resolution. Order [19]. The Magistrate Judge scheduled a hearing on both pending Motions [14] [16]. Notice of Setting, Oct. 18, 2018. Although notice was mailed to Plaintiff at her address of record, she did not appear for the hearing. Minute Entry, Oct. 31, 2018.

         On November 16, 2018, the Magistrate Judge entered a Report and Recommendation [20], which was mailed to Plaintiff at her address of record. The Magistrate Judge recommended that the Court grant Defendant's Motion [16] to Enforce and Approve Settlement and deny Plaintiff's Motion [14] to Proceed with Trial. R. & R. [20] at 4. Edwards submitted written Objections[1] [21] on December 4, 2018, indicating that she would like to “move forward with the court.” Pl.'s Obj. [21] at 7 (all-caps removed). Edwards spends the remainder of her Objections [21] arguing the merits of her remaining FLSA claim and of the claims previously dismissed by this Court. Id. at 2-8. Defendant filed a Response [22] to Edwards' Objections [21] arguing that Edwards' objections are improper, insufficient to warrant de novo review, and lack merit.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. The Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation [20] should be adopted.

         1. Relevant legal standards

         Where no party has objected to a magistrate judge's proposed findings of fact and recommendation, the Court need not conduct a de novo review of it. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) (“[A] judge of the court shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings and recommendations to which objection is made.”). In such cases, the Court applies the “clearly erroneous, abuse of discretion and contrary to law” standard of review. United States v. Wilson, 864 F.2d 1219, 1221 (5th Cir. 1989).

         However, where a party submits written objections, 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). “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); see Goodman v. United States, 518 F.2d 505, 509 (5th Cir. 1975) (citing United States v. First City Nat'l Bank, 386 U.S. 361, 368 (1967)). 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. Analysis

         Edwards' objection[2] to the Report and Recommendation [20] appears to be her general desire to pursue her case and thus to “move forward with the court.” Pl.'s Obj. [21] at 7 (all-caps removed). Plaintiff does not object to a single particular finding of fact or conclusion of law made in the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation. See Id. Because Edwards fails to raise any specific objection to any portion of the Report and Recommendation [20], the Court need not conduct a de novo review, see 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), and need only review under the “clearly erroneous, abuse of discretion and contrary to law” standard of review, Wilson, 864 F.2d at 1221. After conducting ...


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