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Cuevas v. Crosby Dredging, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

May 29, 2019

JUSTIN E. CUEVAS, Plaintiff
v.
CROSBY DREDGING, LLC, Defendant

         SECTION: “E” (4)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          SUSIE MORGAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court are Objections[1] to the Order and Reasons[2] entered by the United States Magistrate Judge on May 9, 2019, filed by Defendant Crosby Dredging, LLC (“Crosby Dredging”). Crosby Dredging also moves to vacate the order or, in the alternative, to vacate the award of attorneys' fees.[3] The motion and objections are opposed.[4] For the following reasons, the Court OVERRULES Crosby Dredging's objections and DENIES its motion to vacate.

         BACKGROUND

         On April 16, 2019, Plaintiff Justin E. Cuevas filed a motion to compel discovery, which was referred to the Magistrate Judge and set for submission on April 16, 2019.[5] At a telephone status conference with the Court on May 8, 2019, the Court ordered the parties to “meet to discuss resolution of the remaining issues” in the motion to compel by May 10, 2019.[6] On May 9, 2019, the Magistrate Judge issued an Order and Reasons granting in part and denying in part Plaintiff's motion to compel and awarding Plaintiff attorneys' fees and costs.[7]

         On May 23, 2019, Crosby Dredging filed the instant motion and objections.[8]Counsel for Crosby Dredging argues the Magistrate Judge's Order and Reasons contravenes this Court's order of May 8, 2019.[9] Crosby Dredging also argues “Plaintiff's Motion was not so well-founded or clear cut as to entitle him to attorneys' fees.”[10] It requests that this Court set aside the Magistrate Judge's Order and Reasons or, in the alternative, vacate or limit the award of attorneys' fees.[11] Plaintiff opposes.[12]

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Rule 72(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides:

When a pretrial matter not dispositive of a party's claim or defense is referred to a magistrate judge to hear and decide, the magistrate judge must promptly conduct the required proceedings and, when appropriate, issue a written order stating the decision. A party may serve and file objections to the order within 14 days after being served with a copy. A party may not assign as error a defect in the order not timely objected to. The district judge in the case must consider timely objections and modify or set aside any part of the order that is clearly erroneous or is contrary to law.[13]

         The objections in this case were timely. This Court reviews the Magistrate Judge's ruling to determine if it is clearly erroneous or contrary to law.

         ANALYSIS

         I. The Magistrate Judge's Order and Reasons of May 9, 2019 did not contravene this Court's order of May 8, 2019.

         Crosby Dredging argues the Magistrate Judge's Order and Reasons contravened this Court's order during the telephone status conference on May 8, 2019.[14] During the conference, the Court ordered the parties to “meet to discuss resolution of the remaining issues” in the motion to compel by May 10, 2019.[15] The Magistrate Judge issued her Order and Reasons on May 9, 2019.[16] Crosby Dredging represents the parties conferred on May 10, 2019, [17] after the Magistrate Judge issued her ruling on the motion to compel. Crosby Dredging represents that, following that conference, it provided Plaintiff with all the information it was required to provide pursuant to the Magistrate Judge's ruling.[18]

         Crosby Dredging cites no authority for the proposition that this Court's ordering the parties to attempt to resolve discovery issues renders erroneous the Magistrate Judge's ruling. Crosby Dredging also cites no authority for the proposition that its compliance with the Magistrate Judge's ruling renders her ruling erroneous. The Court has reviewed the Magistrate Judge's Order and Reasons and finds it does not contradict or contravene this Court's order of May 8, 2019. The Court overrules Crosby Dredging's objection to the Magistrate Judge's Order and Reasons on this basis and denies its motion to vacate the Order and Reasons.

         II. The Magistrate Judge's award of attorneys' fees was not clearly erroneous or contrary to law.

         In the instant motion, Crosby Dredging does not object to any of the Magistrate Judge's resolution of the discovery disputes.[19] Crosby Dredging contests only the Magistrate Judge's awarding Plaintiff attorneys' fees.[20] Crosby Dredging argues the Magistrate Judge denied Plaintiff's motion to compel with respect to four of the eleven issues in dispute and required only a verification for five of the ...


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