United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Tenner Murphy, by his guardians Kay and Richard Murphy; Marrie Bottelson; Dionne Swanson; and on behalf of others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
Emily Johnson Piper in her Capacity as Commissioner of The Minnesota Department of Human Services, Defendant.
DONOVAN W. FRANK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court upon Defendant's appeal (Doc.
No. 392 (“Appeal”)) of Magistrate Judge Becky R.
Thorson's October 19, 2018 Order (Doc. No. 389
(“Order”)) denying Defendant's request to
file motion for reconsideration of her August 29, 2018 Order
(Doc. No. 365). Plaintiffs filed a response to
Defendant's objections on November 16, 2018. (Doc. No.
Court must modify or set aside any portion of the Magistrate
Judge's order found to be clearly erroneous or contrary
to law. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A);
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a); Local Rule 72.2(a). This is an
“extremely deferential” standard. Reko v.
Creative Promotions, Inc., 70 F.Supp.2d 1005, 1007 (D.
Minn. 1999). “A finding is ‘clearly
erroneous' when although there is evidence to support it,
the reviewing court on the entire evidence is left with the
definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been
committed.” Chakales v. Comm'r of Internal
Revenue, 79 F.3d 726, 728 (8th Cir. 1996) (quoting
Chase v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue, 926 F.2d
737, 740 (8th Cir. 1991)). “A magistrate judge's
ruling is contrary to law when it either fails to apply or
misapplies pertinent statutes, case law or rules of
procedure.” Coons v. BNSF Ry. Co., 268
F.Supp.3d 983, 991 (D. Minn. 2017) (citing Edeh v.
Midland Credit Mgmt., Inc., 748 F.Supp.2d 1030, 1043 (D.
20, 2018, Defendant filed a motion to compel the deposition
of a witness with knowledge of Plaintiffs' requested
relief. (Doc. No. 287.) On August 29, 2018, Magistrate Judge
Thorson denied Defendant's motion. (Doc. No. 365.)
Defendant objected to Magistrate Judge Thorson's August
29, 2018 Order on September 12, 2018. (Doc. No. 370.) Prior
to this Court's ruling, Defendant filed a letter
requesting Magistrate Judge Thorson's permission to file
a motion for reconsideration of her August 29, 2018 Order as
it pertained to the additional deposition. (Doc. No. 385.)
Magistrate Judge Thorson denied this request in a text-only
order on October 19, 2018. (Order.) This Court affirmed
Magistrate Judge Thorson's August 29, 2018 Order in all
respects on November 9, 2018. (Doc. No. 415.) Defendant now
objects to Magistrate Judge Thorson's denial of her
request to file a motion to reconsider. (Appeal.)
The Magistrate Judge's Order and Defendant's
Judge Thorson rejected Defendant's request to file motion
for reconsideration of her August 29, 2018 Order because she
found that Defendant failed to show compelling circumstances
necessary to obtain such permission. (Order.) Defendant
argues that Magistrate Judge Thorson's Order is clearly
erroneous because the circumstances she presents are
sufficiently compelling to justify a motion for
reconsideration. (Appeal at 6.)
Local Rule 7.1(j), a party must show ‘compelling
circumstances' to obtain permission to file a motion to
reconsider.” Burt v. Winona Health, Civ. No.
16-1085, 2018 WL 2180252, at *1 (D. Minn. Mar. 23, 2018)
(citing D. Minn. L.R. 7.1(j)). “A motion to reconsider
should not be employed to relitigate old issues, but rather
to afford an opportunity for relief in extraordinary
circumstances.'” Id. (citing Dale
& Selby Superette & Deli v. U.S. Dept. of
Agric., 838 F.Supp. 1346, 1348 (D. Minn. 1993).
argues that Magistrate Judge Thorson's August 29, 2018
denial of her request to depose an additional witness was
based on her finding that Defendant's need was likely
mooted by her ability to seek additional discovery in the
form of expert reports and expert deposition testimony.
(Appeal at 3.) Because Plaintiffs' expert was unable to
answer all of Defendant's questions, Defendant argues
that the basis of Magistrate Judge Thorson's August 29,
2018 Order was incorrect and therefore constitutes a
compelling circumstance to jusitfy a motion for
Court finds that Magistrate Judge Thorson's August 29,
2018 decision to deny Defendant's request to depose an
additional witness was based on more than just the likelihood
that Defendant's need would be mooted by her ability to
seek additional discovery in the form of expert reports and
expert testimony. As observed in the Court's November 9,
2018 Order overruling Defendant's first objection to
Magistrate Judge Thorson's August 29, 2018 Order:
Magistrate Judge Thorson correctly observed that in
collective answers, not every Named Plaintiff will know what
information was obtained from others, and that the Named
Plaintiffs and guardians will not know what information was
obtained from third parties listed as assisting with the
answers. She also noted that Plaintiffs identified several
people who assisted Plaintiffs with their collective answers,
yet Defendant chose not to depose them. Further, she
correctly stated that it should have been expected that the
interrogatory answers and supplemental answers may include
facts known to the attorneys but not necessarily known to the
Named Plaintiffs. The Named Plaintiffs and/or their guardians
answered basic questions ...