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Walker v. Easter

United States District Court, D. Kansas

October 23, 2019

JAMES K. WALKER, Plaintiff,
v.
JEFF EASTER and HAROLD STOPP, D.O., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          ERIC F. MELGREN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Proceeding pro se, Plaintiff James K. Walker filed this suit alleging that he received inadequate medical care while in custody of the Kansas Department of Corrections. This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's four objections to Magistrate Judge Angel D. Mitchell's orders (Docs. 88, 89, 92, and 117). Plaintiff's first objection is to the Magistrate Judge's rulings at Docs. 85 and 86 denying Plaintiff's Motion to Supplement Complaint and motion for miscellaneous relief. Plaintiff's second objection relates to his affidavit filed at Doc. 84, and his third objection is to the Magistrate Judge's denial of his Motion for Reconsideration. Finally, Plaintiff's fourth objection is to Magistrate Judge Mitchell's denial of his Motion to Compel Discovery. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's objections are overruled.

         II. Legal Standard

         Upon objection to a magistrate judge's order on a non-dispositive matter, the district court may modify or set aside any portion of the order that it finds to be “clearly erroneous or contrary to law.”[1] “To be clearly erroneous, a decision must strike [the Court] as more than just maybe or probably wrong.”[2] The Court does not conduct a de novo review when reviewing factual findings, but applies a more deferential standard that requires the moving party to show that the magistrate judge's order is clearly erroneous.[3] In contrast, the “contrary to law” standard permits independent review of legal matters.[4] But because a magistrate judge has broad discretion in resolving non-dispositive discovery matters, the Court is required to affirm the magistrate judge's order unless the entire evidence leaves it “with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.”[5]

         Because Plaintiff appears pro se in this case, the Court must liberally construe his pleadings.[6] The Court, however, is not an advocate for the pro se litigant.[7] “Despite the liberal construction afforded pro se pleadings, the court will not construct arguments or theories for the plaintiff in the absence of any discussion of those issues.”[8]

         III. Analysis

         A. Objections to Magistrate Judge's Rulings at Docs. 85 and 86 (Doc. 88)

         On July 17, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Supplement Complaint (Doc. 80), a motion for miscellaneous relief (Doc. 81), and a Motion for Damages Under the Disability Statutes (Doc. 82). Two days later, the Court denied the Motion to Supplement and the Motion for Damages without prejudice in a text entry (Doc. 85) stating:

The [C]ourt construes these motions as motions to amend the pleadings pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 15. On June 27, 2019, the [C]ourt denied a previously filed motion to amend, finding that the motion appeared to be an improper attempt to circumvent prior orders dismissing certain defendants and claims in this case. In that 72 order, the [C]ourt also noted that plaintiff had already filed 68, 69, 70 three motions pending before the district judge that also seek to add previously dismissed defendants and seek to reassert previously dismissed claims. The [C]ourt stated that it would evaluate whether to permit plaintiff to file a renewed motion to amend after the court decided Mr. Walker's other pending motions. The [C]ourt has not yet ruled on those motions, and so Mr. Walker's motions to amend the pleadings are premature. The [C]ourt denies the motions without prejudice. Again, the [C]ourt will evaluate whether to permit Mr. Walker to file a renewed motion to amend after the district judge rules on Mr. Walker's other pending motions.

         Plaintiff now objects to the Magistrate Judge's denial of his request to supplement his complaint. Plaintiff, however, has not expressed any reason why the Magistrate Judge's decision was incorrect. Instead, he lists case citations he believes are relevant to his deliberate indifference claim-a claim that he has already asserted in this case. The Court does not find any mistake in Magistrate Judge Mitchell's ruling at Doc. 85. Therefore, the Court will not overrule Magistrate Judge Mitchell's rulings denying Plaintiff's Motion to Supplement Complaint.

         As to Plaintiff's motion for miscellaneous relief, Magistrate Judge Mitchell stated via text entry (Doc. 86) that she had reviewed this motion and found it unclear what relief Plaintiff seeks. She added that the Court would discuss the motion at the status conference on July 25, 2019, and that until then, Defendants need not respond to the motion. At the status conference, Plaintiff stated that he was requesting the Court to appoint an expert witness for him. Defendants opposed the request. After argument, Magistrate Judge Mitchell denied the motion. She stated that Federal Rule of Evidence 706 gives the Court the authority to appoint an expert, but the purpose of the rule is to assist the Court. She also cited opinions within the Tenth Circuit denying a request to appoint an expert. A text entry entered on July 25 (Doc. 87) confirmed that for reasons stated during the status conference, Magistrate Judge Mitchell denied Plaintiff's motion.

         Again, Plaintiff has not addressed why the Magistrate Judge's ruling was improper. He does not even raise the issue of expert witnesses in his motion. Instead, he simply repeats case law citations he believes are related to his deliberate indifference claim. Furthermore, Magistrate Judge Mitchell's ruling is supported by case law from this district.[9] Therefore, the Court denies Plaintiff's request to overrule Magistrate Judge Mitchell's ruling at Doc. 81.

         B. Objections to Affidavit Filed at Doc. 84 (Doc. 89)

         Plaintiff's next objection is styled “Objection to Magistrate Judge Angel D. Mitchell's recommendation on [Doc 84] Plaintiff's AFFIDAVIT.” Document 84 is an affidavit filed by Plaintiff. Magistrate Judge Mitchell has not issued any ruling, order, or recommendation concerning Document 84. ...


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