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Johnson v. Cargill, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

October 22, 2014

CARGILL, INC. et al., Defendants.


JOHN T. FOWLKES, Jr., District Judge.

Before the Court is Plaintiff Francois Johnson's pro se Request to Amend Civil Complaint Pursuant to Rule 15(c) of Civil Procedure. (ECF No. 10). On June 4, 2013, this Court referred all pretrial matters within the Magistrate Judge's jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) for determination; and all other pretrial matters for a report and recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B-C). (ECF No. 4). On July 9, 2014, the Magistrate Judge issued her Report and Recommendation that Plaintiff's Request be denied. (ECF No. 20). Plaintiff filed objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation on July 25, 2014. (ECF No. 21).

For the following reasons, the Court finds that the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation should be rejected and Plaintiff's Request to amend the Complaint be GRANTED for the additional whistleblowing claim.


Plaintiff's objection recites the facts found in the Magistrate Judge's proposed facts. Therefore, the Court adopts the Magistrate Judge's proposed findings of fact as the factual history. (ECF No. 20 at 2-5). The Court notes one distinction however, the Magistrate Judge found that Plaintiff missed out on a total of fifteen hours of work, (ECF No. 20 at 4), while Plaintiff contends it was fifteen hours per day for a four day period, (ECF No. 21 at 3).


A. Standard for District Judge's Review of a Report and Recommendation

The district court has the authority to "designate a magistrate judge to conduct hearings, including evidentiary hearings, and to submit to a judge of the court proposed findings of fact and recommendations for the disposition, by a judge of the court, of any motion." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). "The district judge may accept, reject, or modify the recommended disposition; receive further evidence; or return the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions." Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3).

The district court has appellate jurisdiction over any decisions the magistrate judge issues pursuant to such a referral. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72. The standard of review that is applied by the district court depends on the nature of the matter considered by the magistrate judge. See Fed R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3) ("The district judge must determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly objected to."); Baker v. Peterson, 67 Fed.App'x 308, 310 (6th Cir. 2003) ("A district court normally applies a clearly erroneous or contrary to law' standard of review for nondispositive preliminary measures. A district court must review dispositive motions under the de novo standard." (internal citations omitted)).

B. Standard for Motion to Dismiss

Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) provides for a dismissal of a complaint that "fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). This allows the "defendant to test whether, as a matter of law, the plaintiff is entitled to legal relief even if everything alleged in the complaint is true." Mayer v. Mylod, 988 F.2d 635, 638 (6th Cir. 1993) (emphasis added) (citing Nishiyama v. Dickson Cnty., 814 F.2d 277, 279 (6th Cir. 1987)).

When evaluating a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court must accept all factual allegations as true and construe them in light most favorable to Plaintiff, "and determine whether the complaint contains enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" United States v. Cmty. Health Sys., 501 F.3d 493, 502 (6th Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above [a] speculative level." Ass'n of Cleveland Fire Fighters v. City of Cleveland, 502 F.3d 545, 548 (6th Cir. 2007) (first alteration in original) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). A claim is plausible on its face if "the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Although the complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's "[]bare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id . (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555) ("[T]he tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions."). "[D]etermining whether a complaint states a plausible claim is context-specific, requiring the... court to draw on its experience and common sense." Id. at 663-64 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).


A. The Magistrate Judge's Report and ...

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