United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
SHERRY L. TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
COUNCIL ON QUALITY & LEADERSHIP, Defendant.
ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION AND DISMISSING CASE
T. Fowlkes, Jr. United States District Judge.
the Court is Defendant Council on Quality and
Leadership's Motion to Dismiss, filed on February 13,
2019. (ECF No. 19.) Plaintiff Sherry Taylor filed her
Response opposing Defendant's Motion on February 26,
2019, to which Defendant filed its Reply on March 11, 2019.
(ECF Nos. 23 & 26.) Pursuant to Administrative Order
2013-05, this case, including Defendant's Motion, was
referred to the Magistrate Judge for management of all
pretrial matters. On April 25, 2019, the Magistrate Judge
issued a Report and Recommendation suggesting that this Court
grant Defendant's Motion. (ECF No. 32.) Plaintiff then
filed her May 9, 2019 Motion to Oppose Recommendation to
Dismiss (i.e., Objections), to which Defendant filed
its Reply in opposition on May 21, 2019. (ECF Nos. 33 &
following reasons, the Court finds that it should ADOPT the
Magistrate's Report and Recommendation and, thus, GRANT
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and DISMISS this case.
their Report and Recommendation, the Magistrate Judge
provides, and this Court adopts and incorporates, proposed
findings of fact in this case. (ECF No. 32, 1-4.)
passed 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) “to relieve some of the
burden on the federal courts by permitting the assignment of
certain district court duties to magistrates.”
United States v. Curtis, 237 F.3d 598, 602 (6th Cir.
2001). Pursuant to the provision, magistrate judges may hear
and determine any pretrial matter pending before the Court,
except various dispositive motions. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(A). Regarding those excepted dispositive motions,
magistrate judges may still hear and submit to the district
court proposed findings of fact and recommendations for
disposition. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). Upon hearing a
pending matter, “[T]he magistrate judge must enter a
recommended disposition, including, if appropriate, proposed
findings of fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(1); see also
Baker v. Peterson, 67 Fed.Appx. 308, 310 (6th Cir.
2003). Any party who disagrees with a magistrate's
proposed findings and recommendation may file written
objections to the report and recommendation. Fed.R.Civ.P.
standard of review that is applied by the district court
depends on the nature of the matter considered by the
magistrate judge. See Baker, 67 Fed.Appx. at 310
(citations omitted) (“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.”). Upon review of the evidence, the
district court may accept, reject, or modify the proposed
findings or recommendations of the magistrate judge.
Brown v. Board of Educ., 47 F.Supp.3d 665, 674 (W.D.
Tenn. 2014); see also 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
The court “may also receive further evidence or
recommit the matter to the [m]agistrate [j]udge with
instructions.” Moses v. Gardner, No.
2:14-cv-2706-SHL-dkv, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29701, at *3
(W.D. Tenn. Mar. 11, 2015). A district judge should adopt the
findings and rulings of the magistrate judge to which no
specific objection is filed. Brown, 47 F.Supp.3d at
674. Moreover, “Overly general objections do not
satisfy the objection requirement.” Spencer v.
Bouchard, 449 F.3d 721, 725 (6th Cir. 2006). Objections
“must be clear enough to enable the district court to
discern those issues that are dispositive and
contentious.” Mira v. Marshall, 806 F.2d 636,
637 (6th Cir. 1986). Thus, objections disputing the
correctness of the magistrate's recommendation but
failing to specify the findings believed to be in error are
too general. See Miller v. Currie, 50 F.3d 373, 380
(6th Cir. 1995).
initial matter, the Magistrate Judge determined that
Defendant's Motion should not be converted into a
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 Motion but, instead, considered pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). (ECF No. 32, 4-5.) This Court agrees,
as the matters outside the pleadings before this Court that
are relied on by the parties-docket entries from the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission and Bankruptcy Court-are
public records or otherwise appropriate for the taking of
judicial notice. See Kovac v. Superior Dairy, Inc.,
930 F.Supp.2d 857, 862-63 (N.D. Ohio 2013); Hamlin v.
Baptist Mem'l Hosp., No. 2:09-cv-2615, 2011 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 25708, at *6-7 n.1 (W.D. Tenn. Jan. 27, 2011),
adopted by, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25876.
Magistrate Judge also recommends that this Court dismiss this
action on the basis of judicial estoppel. (ECF No. 32, 13.)
More specifically, the Magistrate considered the guiding
factors of judicial estoppel and found that all three favored
invoking the doctrine. (ECF No. 32, 7-13.) This Court agrees.
First, Plaintiff assumed a position here contrary to the one
she asserted under oath in her January 12, 2017 bankruptcy
proceedings because she never mentioned her instant
employment dispute (initially or by amendment) despite the
fact that she filed an EEOC charge for the same dispute in
July 2017 and the bankruptcy action was not dismissed until
December 7, 2017. Newman v. Univ. of Dayton, 751
Fed.Appx. 809, 814 (6th Cir. 2018) (“[J]udicial
estoppel may bar employment-related claims where the
plaintiff has failed to disclose as an asset in a bankruptcy
proceeding either the existence of such a claim or income
derived from the employment relationship at issue.”).
Second, the bankruptcy court adopted the contrary position
either as a preliminary matter or as part of a final
disposition when it adopted and kept intact a May 12, 2017
repayment plan that did not contemplate the contingent
employment dispute seen in Plaintiff's July 2017 EEOC
Charge. Compare Cruse v. Sun Prods. Corp., 221
F.Supp.3d 990, 996 (W.D. Tenn. 2016), with ECF No.
19-2, 69. Third, Plaintiff's omission did not result from
mistake or inadvertence because Plaintiff had knowledge of
the claim by virtue of the July 2017 Charge as well as a
motive to conceal the claim because it is always in a Chapter
13 petitioner's interest to minimize income and assets.
Paul v. Hewlett Packard Enter., No. 16-11965, 2017
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136458, at *6 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 25, 2017);
Harrah v. DSW Inc., 852 F.Supp.2d 900, 905 (N.D.
Ohio 2012). Moreover, Plaintiff cannot establish a lack of
bad faith by arguing that she did not know that she was
required to disclose the employment dispute or that she
consulted with an employment attorney who advised her that
she was under no obligation to disclose the dispute until she
filed a lawsuit. Payne v. Cent. Def. Servs., No.
11-2664-JPM-tmp, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108893, at *17 (W.D.
Tenn. June 13, 2013), adopted by, 2013 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 108459; see White v. Wyndham Vacation
Ownership, Inc., 617 F.3d 472, 483-84 (6th Cir. 2010).
Plaintiff's Objections to the Report and Recommendation
are not well-taken because they are too general in nature
and/or reiterations of the original arguments raised in her
response to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss,
(compare ECF No. 33, with ECF No. 23, 1-5).
“‘Objections disput[ing] the correctness of a
magistrate's recommendation but fail[ing] to specify the
findings believed [to be] in error' are too
general” for consideration by this Court.
Spencer, 449 F.3d at 725 (6th Cir. 2006) (quoting
Currie, 50 F.3d at 380). Objections should not
restate arguments already considered.” United
States v. Ardd, No. 2:16-cr-20094-SHM, 2017 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 150962, at *5 (W.D. Tenn. Sept. 18, 2017). When
objections reiterate arguments already determined, as opposed
to specifically objecting to aspects of a report and
recommendation, courts do not reanalyze such claims, at least
where the report ...