United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER ON PENDING MOTIONS
WILLIAM J. MARTÍNEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiff's Rule 72(a) Objection
(“Objection”) (ECF No. 50) to the Magistrate
Judge's rulings on certain discovery issues (ECF No. 42).
Also before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Supplement
the Administrative Record Under ERISA (“Motion to
Supplement”) (ECF No. 54). For the reasons explained
below, the Objection is overruled and the Motion to
Supplement is denied.
72(a) OBJECTION (ECF No. 50)
is a nondispositive matter . . . .” Hutchinson v.
Pfeil, 105 F.3d 562, 566 (10th Cir. 1997). When
reviewing an objection to a magistrate judge's
nondispositive ruling, the Court must adopt the ruling unless
it finds that the ruling is “clearly erroneous or
contrary to law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a); 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(A); Hutchinson, 105 F.3d at 566; Ariza
v. U.S. West Commc'ns, Inc., 167 F.R.D. 131, 133 (D.
Colo. 1996). The clearly erroneous standard “requires
that the reviewing court affirm unless it on the entire
evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction that a
mistake has been committed.” Ocelot Oil Corp. v.
Sparrow Indus., 847 F.2d 1458, 1464 (10th Cir. 1988).
The “contrary to law” standard permits
“plenary review as to matters of law, ” 12
Charles Alan Wright et al., Federal Practice &
Procedure § 3069 (2d ed., Apr. 2016 update), but
the Court will set aside a Magistrate Judge's order only
if it applied the wrong legal standard or applied the
appropriate legal standard incorrectly, see Wyoming v.
U.S. Dep't of Agric., 239 F.Supp.2d 1219, 1236 (D.
served interrogatories, requests for production, and requests
for admission on Defendant, some of which Defendant objected
to, leading to a motion to compel from Plaintiff. (ECF No.
29.) On August 30, 2016, the Magistrate Judge held a
three-hour hearing to resolve the many disputes raised by the
motion to compel. (See ECF No. 42.) Plaintiff now
objects apparently to every ruling from the Magistrate Judge
that did not go her way. Plaintiff's objection suffers
from at least two fatal flaws.
the Magistrate Judge made all of his rulings on the record in
open court, yet Plaintiff has not provided the Court with a
transcript of the hearing. Plaintiff instead offers a table
with one-sentence summaries of those rulings. (ECF No. 50 at
4-8.) Many of the summaries are a single word, “Denied,
” with no explanation. Others contain a very brief
explanation, e.g., “ruled as
‘argumentative' and compound.” (Id.
at 6.) But in either event, the Court lacks all context,
discussion, and-most importantly- the Magistrate Judge's
actual words. The Court cannot properly review any rulings on
this record, which Plaintiff has failed to supply.
Cf. Rios v. Bigler, 67 F.3d 1543, 1553
(10th Cir. 1995) (“It is not this court's burden to
hunt down the pertinent materials. Rather, it is
Plaintiff's responsibility as the appellant to provide us
with a proper record on appeal.”).
as noted above, the standard of review is “clearly
erroneous or . . . contrary to law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(a). Plaintiff nowhere argues that any specific ruling
amounts to clear error, or was made contrary to law. See,
e.g., Horton v. Doe, 2011 WL 6217115, at *3 (D.
Colo. Dec. 14, 2011) (Rule 72(a) objections must be specific
to enable proper review). Instead, as part of the same table
summarizing the Magistrate Judge's rulings, Plaintiff
includes a column briefly describing her argument in favor of
each discovery request, and these arguments frequently
comprise only vague assertions such as “[c]larity is
needed” or “[t]hese facts are easy to furnish and
will be helpful.” (ECF No. 50 at 5.) This does not
satisfy Plaintiff's obligation to present a specific Rule
these reasons, Plaintiff's Objection will be overruled.
MOTION TO SUPPLEMENT THE RECORD (ECF No. 54)
requests that the Court add three categories of documents to
the administrative record. As to two of these categories, the
Court can dispose of Plaintiff's request fairly quickly.
first category of documents is the materials Plaintiff
successfully obtained through discovery. Defendant has no
objection to Plaintiff citing or otherwise relying on these
materials in her merits briefs, but believes that the
materials should not be a part of the administrative record.
(ECF No. 58 at 9.) The Court agrees. Plaintiff may make these
discovery materials part of the district court
record, but they are not ...