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Waters v. Hollywood Tow Service

November 17, 2009

B. BENEDICT WATERS
v.
HOLLYWOOD TOW SERVICE, INC., ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Christina A. Snyder

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

Proceedings: (In Chambers): PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS TO MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S 2009 OCT 1 ORDER REFUSING TO FOLLOW JUDICIAL CONFERENCE POLICY (filed 10/9/09) PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTION TO DISTRICT JUDGE SNYDER'S 2009 OCT 29 SCHEDULING ORDER (filed 11/12/09)

The Court finds this motion appropriate for decision without oral argument. Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; Local Rule 7-15. The matter is hereby taken under submission.

INTRODUCTION

On September 21, 2009, plaintiff filed a request to the Clerk of Court that a copy of all documents electronically filed in his case be emailed to him. Plaintiff stated that his request was "made pursuant to Judicial Conference of the United States' policy which permits not only attorneys of record but parties in a case including pro se litigants, such as the instant plaintiff, to receive one free electronic copy of all documents filed electronically." On October 1, 2009, Magistrate Judge Wistrich ("the Magistrate Judge") denied plaintiff's request "without prejudice to its renewal on the basis of a more adequate record, including a copy of the judicial conference policy on which plaintiff apparently relies."

On October 9, 2009, plaintiff filed the instant objections to the Magistrate Judge's October 1, 2009 order. On October 29, 2009, this Court set forth the following briefing schedule: "Defendants' oppositions shall be filed on or before November 2, 2009; and Plaintiff's reply shall be filed on or before November 12, 2009." On November 2, 2009, defendants filed their opposition. On November 12, 2009, plaintiff filed a reply as well as the instant objection to this Court's scheduling order.

PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTION TO THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S ORDER

Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a), a party may file objections to a magistrate judge's non-dispositive order within ten days, and "[t]he district judge to whom the case is assigned shall consider such objections and shall modify or set aside any portion of the Magistrate Judge's order found to be clearly erroneous or contrary to law." Rule 72-2.1 of the Local Rules sets forth the same standard. See also 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); Grimes v. City and County of San Francisco, 951 F.2d 236, 241 (9th Cir. 1991).

Plaintiff argues that he "receives with every copy of a court order mailed to him" by the Clerk of Court the following note:

"Judicial Conference of the United States policy permits attorneys of record and parties in a case (including pro se litigants) to receive one free electronic copy of all documents filed electronically, if receipt is required by law or directed by the filer. PACER access fees apply to all other users. To avoid later charges, download a copy of each document during this first viewing. However, if the referenced document is a transcript, the free copy and 30 page limit do not apply."

Mot. at 2-3. Plaintiff asserts that this note demonstrates that the Clerk of Court is required to provide him with free emailed copies of all the documents filed in his case. at 3.

Plaintiff contends that the Magistrate Judge denied his motion because of plaintiff's race, and that this denial was contrary to the Local Rules. Mot. at 1--4. Furthermore, plaintiff argues that providing him with free emailed copies of all documents filed in his case is consistent with Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 1, which directs that civil actions and proceedings "should be construed and administered to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding." Id. at 3. Plaintiff contends that providing him with a free electronic emailed copy of documents filed would be both less expensive and substantially speedier than a mailed copy. Id.

The Court finds that the Magistrate Judge's order is neither clearly erroneous nor contrary to law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a). Specifically, plaintiff has provided no evidence that the Magistrate Judge acted with racial animus. It appears instead that the Magistrate Judge was acting in accordance with General Order No. 08-02, VII.A, "Service of Electronically Filed Documents," which provides that:

Upon the electronic filing of a document, a [notice of electronic filing] is automatically generated by the CM/ECF system and sent by e-mail to all attorneys in the case who are registered CM/ECF Users and have consented to electronic service. Service of an electronically filed document upon a CM/ECF User who has consented to electronic ...


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