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Edmonds v. Southwire Co.

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

November 10, 2014


Page 1348

Eloise Edmonds, Plaintiff, Pro se, Carrollton, GA.

For Southwire Company, Defendant: Jason Scott McCarter, LEAD ATTORNEY, Katherine Marie Smallwood, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, LLP-GA, Atlanta, GA.

Page 1349


Timothy C. Batten, Sr., United States District Judge.

This case comes before the Court on Magistrate Judge Russell G. Vineyard's report and recommendation (the " R& R" ) [10], Plaintiff Eloise Edmonds's objections to and motion for reconsideration of the R& R [15], and Defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint [12].

A district judge has a duty to conduct a " careful and complete" review of a magistrate judge's R& R. Williams v. Wainwright, 681 F.2d 732, 732 (11th Cir. 1982) (quoting Nettles v. Wainwright, 677 F.2d 404, 408 (5th Cir. 1982)).[1] This review may take different forms, however, depending on whether there are objections to the R& R. The district judge must " make a de novo determination of those portions of the [R& R] to which objection is made." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). In contrast, those portions of the R& R to which no objection is made need only be reviewed for clear error. Macort v. Prem, Inc., 208 F.App'x 781, 784 (11th Cir. 2006).[2]

" Parties filing objections must specifically identify those findings objected to. Frivolous, conclusive or general objections need not be considered by the district court." Nettles, 677 F.2d at 410 n.8. " This rule facilitates the opportunity for district judges to spend more time on matters actually contested and produces a result compatible with the purposes of the Magistrates Act." Id. at 410.

The district judge also has discretion to decline to consider arguments that were not raised before the magistrate judge. Williams v. McNeil, 557 F.3d 1287, 1292 (11th Cir. 2009). Indeed, a contrary rule " would effectively nullify the magistrate judge's consideration of the matter and would not help to relieve the workload of the district court." Id. (quoting United States v. Howell, 231 F.3d 615, 622 (9th Cir. 2000)).

After conducting a complete and careful review of the R& R, the district judge may accept, reject or modify the magistrate judge's findings and recommendations. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Williams v. Wainwright,

Page 1350

681 F.2d 732, 732 (11th Cir. 1982). The district judge may also receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C).

The Court has conducted a careful and complete review of the R& R and agrees with Judge Vineyard's analysis and conclusions. However, as set forth below, by virtue of developments in the case since its filing, the R& R is rejected as moot and the case will be dismissed.

I. Background

On March 19, 2014, Edmonds, proceeding pro se, filed this action against Southwire for wrongful termination, discrimination, and retaliation, among other claims. Edmonds had 120 days, or until July 17, to effect service on Southwire. On July 23, when no proof of service had yet been filed, Judge Vineyard issued an order directing Edmonds to show cause why her complaint should not be dismissed for failure to effect service. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m); LR 41.2(B), ND Ga. Edmonds appeared before Judge Vineyard on July 30, at which time he granted her a thirty-day extension of time to effect service of process. On August 11, a summons was issued by the Clerk, on August 13 Edmonds purportedly served Southwire, and on August 19, she filed a document entitled " Certificate of Service." But the document is not in fact a certificate of service, it is a discovery request. As of September 3, the docket still did not include any filings that could reasonably be construed as proof of service of process upon Southwire. For that reason, on September 3, Judge Vineyard issued an R& R recommending that the complaint be dismissed without prejudice.

Contemporaneous with the issuance of the R& R by Judge Vineyard, Southwire filed a motion to dismiss. Southwire argues in its motion that Edmonds's sprawling complaint, which is comprised principally of her pro se employment discrimination complaint form, her Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (" EEOC" ) charge, and a host of related summaries and doctors' notes, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Notably, Southwire's motion admits that it was served with process. [12-1], p.5 n.2 (" [T]he Complaint Plaintiff filed with the Court [Dkt. ...

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