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Donna Clark v. New York State Office of the State Comptroller et al

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK


November 21, 2012

DONNA CLARK,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
NEW YORK STATE OFFICE OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary L. Sharpe Chief Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. Introduction

Plaintiff pro se Donna Clark commenced this action against various defendants on June 23, 2009. (See Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) On August 31, 2012, Magistrate Judge David Homer issued an Order which directed state defendants*fn1 Jeanine Dominique and Celia Gonzales to serve written responses to "deposition questions" posed by Clark. (Dkt. No. 111.) Pending is the state's objection to Judge Homer's Order. (See Dkt. No. 114.) For the reasons that follow, defendants' objection is denied.

II. Standard of Review

When reviewing an objection to a pretrial non-dispositive motion decided by a magistrate judge, the court will not disturb such an order unless it is clearly erroneous or contrary to law. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a). This standard governs a district court's review of a magistrate judge's orders concerning discovery disputes. See Thomas E. Hoar, Inc. v. Sara Lee Corp., 900 F.2d 522, 525 (2d Cir. 1990). Under a clearly erroneous standard, a district court can reconsider a magistrate judge's order only if the court "'is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.'" See Gualandi v. Adams, 385 F.3d 236, 240 (2d Cir. 2004) (quoting United States v. U.S. Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948)). Under a contrary to law standard, a district court can reverse a magistrate judge's order only if the order fails to apply the relevant law. See Olais-Castro v. United States, 416 F.2d 1155, 1158 n.8 (9th Cir. 1969) ("The term contrary to law means contrary to any existing law." (internal quotation marks and citation omitted)). "[M]agistrate judges are afforded broad discretion in resolving non-dispositive disputes and reversal is appropriate only if their discretion is abused." Am. Stock Exch., LLC v. Mopex, Inc., 215 F.R.D. 87, 90 (S.D.N.Y. 2002).

III. Discussion

A. Defendants' Objections

Upon review of the state defendants' letter objections, (see Dkt. No. 114), and having read the transcript of the August 30, 2012, hearing held before Judge Homer, (see Dkt. No. 122), the court affirms Judge Homer's decision. In summary, Judge Homer's ruling was well within his discretion, compelling the defendants to answer written deposition questions in writing and sworn under oath was not clearly erroneous or contrary to law.

IV. Conclusion

WHEREFORE, for the foregoing reasons, it is hereby ORDERED that the defendants' objection (Dkt. No. 114) is DENIED and Magistrate Judge Homer's August 31, 2012 order (Dkt. No. 111) is AFFIRMED; and it is further

ORDERED that the Clerk provide a copy of this Memorandum-Decision and Order to the parties.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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