United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S APPEAL OF THE
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION
FOR SANCTIONS AGAINST PLAINTIFF AND THE MAGISTRATE
JUDGE'S ENTERING ORDER DETERMINING THE AMOUNT OF THE
E. Kobayashi United States District Judge.
23, 2017, the magistrate judge issued the Order Granting
Defendants' Motion for Sanctions Against Plaintiff
(“6/23/17 Order”), and, on June 29, 2017, he
issued an entering order determining the amount of the
sanction award (“6/29/17 EO”). [Dkt. nos. 125,
129.] On July 10, 2017, pro se Plaintiff Christopher Young
(“Plaintiff”) filed a document titled
“Verification of Plaintiff's Objection to the
6/23/2017 Order Granting Defendants' Motion for Sanctions
Against Plaintiff.” [Dkt. no. 130.] This Court has
construed Plaintiff's filing as an appeal of the 6/23/17
Order and the 6/29/17 EO (“Appeal”). [EO, filed
7/11/17 (dkt. no. 131) (construing filing).] Defendants
Michael M. Kraus (“Kraus”) and Tree Works, Inc.
(collectively “Defendants” or “the Tree
Works Defendants”) filed a “Memorandum in Support
of Sanctions Imposed upon Plaintiff”
(“Response”) on July 25, 2017, and Plaintiff
filed a document objecting to the Response on August 11,
2017. [Dkt. nos. 132, 133.] The Court has considered the
Appeal as a non-hearing matter pursuant to Rule LR7.2(e) of
the Local Rules of Practice of the United States District
Court for the District of Hawai'i (“Local
Rules”). Plaintiff's Appeal is hereby denied, and
the 6/23/17 Order and the 6/29/17 EO are hereby affirmed, for
the reasons set forth below.
relevant factual and procedural background of this case is
set forth in the 6/23/17 Order. Ultimately, the magistrate
judge: declined to recommend the dismissal of Plaintiff's
case; “order[ed] Plaintiff to provide complete and
detailed responses to Defendants' interrogatories . . .
by July 7, 2017”; and ordered Plaintiff to reimburse
Defendants' attorney's fees and costs incurred in
connection with the underlying motion. [6/23/17 Order at
5.] In the 6/29/17 EO, the magistrate judge found that the
Tree Works Defendants' counsel “reasonably and
necessarily incurred $739.50 bringing the Motion for
Sanctions” and ordered Plaintiff to pay that amount to
them, through their counsel, by July 12, 2017.
Appeal, Plaintiff appears to argue that: the Tree Works
Defendants' counsel failed to disclose the fact that
Kraus “is an outlaw, fugitive from justice in the State
Court jurisdiction”; [Appeal at 1;] the magistrate
judge did not have jurisdiction to issue the 6/23/17 Order
and the 6/29/17 EO because the Tree Works Defendants'
counsel has attempted to conceal the fact that Defendant
Patrick T. Kihara (“Kihara”) violated his duties
by failing to issue a citation to Kraus after the accident in
question; the magistrate judge failed to consider the
violations of public policy related to the fact that Kraus is
a fugitive and Kihara failed to issue a citation to him; the
magistrate judge failed to consider the objections and
request for sanctions against the defendants' attorneys
that Plaintiff filed on December 2, 2016; the magistrate
judge failed to consider Plaintiff's position that the
case must be remanded to state court; defense counsel, the
magistrate judge, and this Court have discriminated against
him in this case because he is black; the magistrate judge
failed to impartially consider all of the submissions in
support of Plaintiff's arguments at the hearing on the
Motion for Sanctions; Plaintiff did not receive the 6/23/17
Order until July 1, 2017, leaving him insufficient time to
respond to the interrogatories; he should not be forced to
answer the interrogatories because the case is on appeal to
the United States Supreme Court; and paying the sanction
against him would be a financial hardship.
district court has stated:
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 72(a), and LR 74.1, any party may appeal to
the district court any pretrial nondispositive matter
determined by a magistrate judge. Such an order may be
reversed by the district court judge only when it is
“clearly erroneous or contrary to law.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(A); LR 74.1. An order is “contrary to
law” when it “fails to apply or misapplies
relevant statutes, case law, or rules of procedure.”
Akey v. Placer Cty., 2017 WL 1831944, at *10 (E.D.
Cal. May 8, 2017) (citation and quotation marks omitted). And
an order is “clearly erroneous” if, after review,
the court has a “definite and firm conviction that a
mistake has been committed.” Easley v.
Cromartie, 532 U.S. 234, 242 (2001); Fisher v.
Tucson Unified Sch. Dist., 652 F.3d 1131, 1136 (9th Cir.
2011); Cochran v. Aguirre, 2017 WL 2505230, at *1
(E.D. Cal. June 9, 2017) (citing cases). “[R]eview
under the ‘clearly erroneous' standard is
significantly deferential.” Concrete Pipe &
Prods. v. Constr. Laborers Pension Tr., 508 U.S. 602,
623 (1993). Thus, the district court “may not simply
substitute its judgment for that of the deciding
court.” Grimes v. City & Cty. of S.F., 951
F.2d 236, 241 (9th Cir. 1991); Cochran, 2017 WL
2505230, at *1.
“‘Pretrial orders of a magistrate' judge
‘under § 636(b)(1)(A) . . . are not subject to a
de novo determination.'” Hypolite v.
Zamora, 2017 WL 68113, at *1 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 6, 2017)
(quoting Merritt v. Int'l Bhd. of Boilermakers,
649 F.2d 1013, 1017 (5th Cir. 1981)). Consideration by the
reviewing court of new evidence, therefore, is not permitted.
United States ex rel. Liotine v. CDW Gov't,
Inc., 2013 WL 1611427, at *1 (S.D. Ill. Apr. 15, 2013)
(“If the district court allowed new evidence [on review
of a magistrate judge's non-dispositive order], it would
essentially be conducting an impermissible de novo review of
the order.”); cf. United States v. Howell, 231
F.3d 615, 621 (9th Cir. 2000) (determining that “a
district court has discretion, but is not required, to
consider evidence presented for the first time” in a de
novo review of a magistrate judge's dispositive
McAllister v. Adecco USA Inc., Civ. No. 16-00447
JMS-KJM, 2017 WL 2818198, at *2 (D. Hawai'i June 29,
2017) (alterations in McAllister).
many of Plaintiff's arguments improperly ask to revisit
prior rulings in this case. This Court has already considered
and rejected Plaintiff's arguments that this case was
improperly removed and should be remanded to the state court.
[Order Denying “Verification of Plaintiff's
Objection to Judges Failiar to Address the Rule 4 Violations
of the Defendants County's Counsel in the Removal on
9/28/2015, ” filed 4/19/16 (dkt. no. 46), at 7-9.]
Likewise, Plaintiff's claims against Defendants the
County of Hawai'i and the County of Hawai'i Police
Department (collectively, “the County”) and
Kihara (all collectively, “the County
Defendants”) have previously been found to fail to
state plausible claims for relief. Those claims have been
dismissed with prejudice. [Order Granting in Part and Denying
in Part the County Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
Christopher Young Amendment (Sic) of Complaint Filed March 4,
2016 [Document 35], filed 1/27/17 (dkt. no. 106)
(“1/27/17 Order”).] The Appeal is therefore
denied to the extent it is based upon Plaintiff's
arguments that the case should be remanded to state court and
that the claims against the County Defendants should not have
Plaintiff's argument that Kraus is “an
outlaw” and a “fugitive from justice”
appear to relate to his allegations that: Kihara had a duty
to arrest or issue a criminal citation to Kraus because
Kraus's negligence and violation of Hawai'i statutes
caused an accident that resulted in injuries or damages to
Plaintiff; and Kihara breached that duty by failing to do so.
[Amendment of Complaint (“Amended Complaint”),
filed 3/4/16 (dkt. no. 35), at ¶¶ 12-14.] It is
clear that Plaintiff still believes Kihara should have
arrested or cited Kraus and disagrees with the dismissal of
his claims against Kihara challenging Kihara's failure to
do so. However, Plaintiff's disagreement with the
dismissal of his claims against Kihara does not justify his
failure to respond to the Tree Works Defendants'
discovery requests. To the extent the Appeal is based on
Plaintiff's allegations that Kraus is an outlaw or a
fugitive, the Appeal is denied.
also argues that the 6/23/17 Order and the 6/29/17 EO should
be reversed because the magistrate judge failed to consider
Plaintiff's previous objections and request for
sanctions. On December 2, 2016, Plaintiff filed a document
titled “Verification of Plaintiff's Objection to
the Violation of the Rule 16 Process and Plaintiff's Due
Process and Equal Protection and this Judge's Failure to
Address Plaintiff's Objections to the Violations and
Requests for Sanctions for Said Violations”
(“12/2/16 Filing”). [Dkt. no. 101.] Plaintiff is
correct that there was no order issued addressing the 12/2/16
Filing. However, the 12/2/16 Filing merely restates
objections and requests that Plaintiff made during a November
21, 2016 status conference regarding the trial date.
See Minutes, filed 11/21/16 (dkt. no. 97). Thus, an
order addressing the 12/2/16 Filing was not necessary.