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MyraB, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 371
Experience:  I have over 20 years experience in criminal law and civil litigation from pre-trial practice to appeal.
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Can the federal magistrate decide, without any hearing, to

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Can the federal magistrate decide, without any hearing, to grant 6 motions for Summary Judgment and close the case? This is what has now happened in our federal case. It was "in limbo" for more than 9 months, and finally, the judge handed it over to the magistrate. The magistrate then wrote up a "Memorandum Order" and Final Judgment, not only ignoring our rebutals to the Summary Judgment motions, but granting them and quoting outright lies set forth in the defendats' affidavits -while totally ignoring our affidavits. He then also dismissed "all other claims, with prejudice," and ordered the clerk to close the case. This seems to me to be truly an abuse of his powers and an abuse of the court system. In our replies to the motions and to the affidavits, we pointed out errors and incorrect statements by the defendants. We fully explained our case. Yet any motions filed by us have been ignored, motions and requests by the defendants acted on immediately, and then for no particular reason, the judge retracted the agreed-upon Scheduling Order and trial date, left it hanging for 10 months, and now suddenly they are throwing everything out, the baby along with the wash water. The "other claims" have not been discussed or addressed by the court, including breach of contract, unwarranted search, theft of property during a warrant service, the recruitment of warrant service help from outside the county, the impersonation of an officer by one of the defendants, and several other issues. Because the magistrate has written this "memorandum order," I'm not sure if Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law can be demanded, even though his memorandum does not cover all the issues. So should I immediately file a Notice of Appeal, or what? And if the magistrate has ordered the case closed, will the clerk still accept anything further from us? We did include a jury demand in the Complaint and I believe we paid the jury fee when filing, by the way. Those motions for Summary Judgment were all filed back in January of this year.
Hello and thank you for your question.

What you describe appears to be a proposed order under 28 U.S.C. sec 636. A magistrate judge does not have the authority to decide dispositive motions such as summary judgment motions, but he may review such motions and make a recommendation to the district court judge. The district court judge then notifies the parties of the proposed order. The parties then have 14 days to object.

The relevant text of the statute is as follows:

(1) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary— (A) a judge may designate a magistrate judge to hear and determine any pretrial matter pending before the court, except a motion for injunctive relief, for judgment on the pleadings, for summary judgment, to dismiss or quash an indictment or information made by the defendant, to suppress evidence in a criminal case, to dismiss or to permit maintenance of a class action, to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, and to involuntarily dismiss an action. A judge of the court may reconsider any pretrial matter under this subparagraph (A) where it has been shown that the magistrate judge’s order is clearly erroneous or contrary to law. (B) a judge may also 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 excepted in subparagraph (A), of applications for posttrial relief made by individuals convicted of criminal offenses and of prisoner petitions challenging conditions of confinement. (C) the magistrate judge shall file his proposed findings and recommendations under subparagraph (B) with the court and a copy shall forthwith be mailed to all parties. Within fourteen days after being served with a copy, any party may serve and file written objections to such proposed findings and recommendations as provided by rules of court. A judge of the court shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made. A judge of the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge. The judge may also receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.

The statute can be found here

One of the bases for your objection can be that the magistrate judge did not conduct a hearing.

Please feel free to ask any follow-up questions.
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