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Palmer v. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Technology Risk Office

United States District Court, D. Colorado

October 13, 2017

TONI R. PALMER, Plaintiff,



         This matter is before the Court on the June 12, 2017 Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Kathleen M. Tafoya (“Recommendation, ” ECF No. 41) that Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint (the “Motion, ” ECF No. 32) be denied. The Recommendation is incorporated herein by reference. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). Plaintiff filed an objection to the Recommendation. (“Objection, ” ECF No. 43.) For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Objection is overruled, the Magistrate Judge's Recommendation is adopted, and Plaintiff's Motion is denied.


         When a magistrate judge issues a recommendation on a dispositive matter, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b)(3) requires that the district judge “determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's [recommendation] that has been properly objected to.” See Lariviere, Grubman & Payne, LLP v. Phillips, 2010 WL 4818101, at *5 (D. Colo. Nov. 9, 2010) (treating motion to amend complaint as a dispositive matter for purposes of Rule 72(b)); see also Cuenca v. Univ. of Kansas, 205 F.Supp.2d 1226, 1228 (D. Kan. 2002) (“When the magistrate judge's order denying a motion to amend . . . effectively removes a . . . claim from the case, it may well be a dispositive ruling that the district court should review de novo.”).

         An objection to a recommendation is properly made if it is both timely and specific. United States v. One Parcel of Real Property Known as 2121 East 30th St., 73 F.3d 1057, 1059 (10th Cir. 1996). An objection is sufficiently specific if it “enables the district judge to focus attention on those issues-factual and legal-that are at the heart of the parties' dispute.” Id. In conducting its review, “[t]he district court judge may accept, reject, or modify the recommendation; receive further evidence; or return the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.” Id. Here, Plaintiff filed a timely objection to Judge Tafoya's Recommendation. Therefore, this Court reviews the issues before it de novo.

         In addition, Plaintiff is proceeding pro se; thus, the Court must liberally construe her pleadings. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Trackwell v. United States Gov't, 472 F.3d 1242, 1243 (10th Cir. 2007). The Court, however, cannot act as advocate for Plaintiff, who must still comply with the fundamental requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991); see also Ledbetter v. City of Topeka, Kan., 318 F.3d 1183, 1188 (10th Cir. 2003).


         No parties object to the recitation of facts set forth by Judge Tafoya in the June 12, 2017 Recommendation. (See ECF Nos. 41, 43, 47.) Accordingly, the Court adopts and incorporates the “Procedural Background” section of the Recommendation as if set forth herein. (ECF No. 41 at 1-2.)

         Briefly, Plaintiff was formally employed by Kaiser as a senior case manager in the Technology Risk Office. (ECF No. 1-1 at 2.) Plaintiff began working for Kaiser on March 31, 2015. (Id.) Within her first sixty days on the job, Plaintiff raised concerns “regarding the lack of clarity over her specific job responsibilities” and issues she was having with her supervisor. (Id.) Following this, on May 29, 2015, Plaintiff “made a protected complaint of workplace racial discrimination to Kaiser” and “filed an EEOC Charge of Discrimination against Kaiser . . . which resulted in an inconclusive determination.” (Id.) Subsequently, on July 27, 2015 the EEOC issued a Notice of Right to Sue. (Id.) However, Plaintiff continued her employment with Kaiser until her termination on April 11, 2016, during which time she allegedly “continued to suffer workplace racial discrimination, a hostile working environment, harassing behavior, and retaliation related to her protected complaint.” (Id.; see also ECF No. 40 ¶ 32.)

         Based on this course of events, Plaintiff filed the instant action asserting three claims for relief: (1) race discrimination, retaliation, and hostile work environment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII, ” 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq.), (2) intentional infliction of emotional distress under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA, ” 28 U.S.C. §§ 2671 et seq.), and (3) interference and retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA, ” 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601 et seq.). (ECF No. 1 at 3-7.)

         In the proposed scheduling order Plaintiff suggested February 28, 2017 as the deadline for joinder of parties and amendment to the pleadings, which was later adopted by Judge Tafoya. (ECF No. 22 at 18-19; ECF No. 24 at 19.) Accordingly, on February 28, 2017, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint (ECF No. 30), however, the Court struck Plaintiff's filing for failure to file with leave of Court or with written consent of the opposing party (ECF No. 31). See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(1)-(2).

         Two weeks later, on March 13, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint, seeking leave to add nine new defendants and to provide additional supporting factual allegations. (ECF No. 32.) On June 12, 2017, Judge Tafoya issued her Recommendation, stating that Plaintiff's Motion should be denied. (ECF No. 41.)

         Plaintiff filed her Objection on June 26, 2017 (ECF No. 43), to which Defendant filed a response on July 10, 2017 (ECF No. 47). Plaintiff objects to Judge Tafoya's Recommendation “in its entirety, and specifically[] Plaintiff is genuinely perplexed by the Magistrate's Recommendation[.]” (ECF No. 43 at 1.) The Court will review de novo the portion of the Recommendation to which Plaintiff's specific objections were made.

         III. ...

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