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Pellegrino v. Meredith

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 9, 2015

ANTHONY JOHN PELLEGRINO, Plaintiff,
v.
LYNN R. MEREDITH, et al., Defendants.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING THAT THIS ACTION BE DISMISSED, WITH PREJUDICE OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS

STANLEY A. BOONE, Magistrate Judge.

On February 9, 2015, Plaintiff Anthony John Pellegrino filed the complaint in this action. (ECF No. 1.) On February 23, 2015, the Court issued an order dismissing the complaint with leave to amend. (ECF No. 2.) On March 23, 2015, Plaintiff filed objections to the Court's February 23, 2015 order. For the reasons set forth below, the Court recommends that this action be dismissed, without leave to amend.

I.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff names Lynn R. Meredith and the County of Stanislaus as defendants in this action. (Compl. ¶¶ 12-13.) Lynn R. Meredith is identified as a "Commissioner." (Compl. ¶ 12.)

Plaintiff's complaint arises from a traffic infraction Plaintiff received in December 2012 for failing to have his headlights on in foggy weather. Plaintiff's complaint recounts the events starting from when he received the traffic ticket from a California Highway Patrol Officer up through the guilty verdict Plaintiff received after a court trial.

Plaintiff claims that his constitutional rights were violated when he was forced to rise during court proceedings, that he was denied due process when he was asked to pay a filing fee to file court documents, that he was denied due process when he was prosecuted for his traffic violation. Plaintiff also asserts claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress and for negligence.

On February 23, 2015, the Court issued an order dismissing Plaintiff's complaint for failure to state any cognizable claims. (ECF No. 2.) The Court granted Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint which cured the deficiencies identified by the Court. Instead of filing an amended complaint, Plaintiff filed a document entitled "Objection to Magistrate Judges[sic] Recommendations and Demand for Article III District Court Judge." (ECF No. 3.) Among other things, Plaintiff objects to the undersigned magistrate judge's authority to screen Plaintiff's complaint.

II.

DISCUSSION

A. Magistrate Judge Authority

As an initial matter, Plaintiff disputes the authority of a magistrate judge to screen Plaintiff's complaint and dismiss the complaint with leave to amend. Plaintiff argues that because he did not consent to have his complaint screened by a magistrate judge, the order screening the complaint was invalid. Plaintiff's contentions have no merit.

A magistrate judge's authority is derived from 28 U.S.C. § 636. While Section 636(c)(1) does set forth duties which can be performed by a magistrate judge "[u]pon consent of the parties, " Section 636(b) sets forth duties which can be performed by a magistrate judge irrespective of whether the parties consent. Such duties include nondispositive pretrial matters. Local Rule 302(a) states that "[i]t is the intent of this Rule that Magistrate Judges perform all duties permitted by 28 U.S.C. § 636(a), (b)(1)(A), or other law where the standard of review of the Magistrate Judge's decision is clearly erroneous or contrary to law." This Court has upheld a magistrate judge's authority to screen complaints, so long as any dismissal is non-dispositive and leave to amend is granted. See Robinson v. Adams, No. 1:08-cv-1380 AWI GSA PC, 2009 WL 1953167, at *1-2 (E.D. Cal. Jul. 7, 2009).

Based upon the foregoing, the Court rejects Plaintiff's objections to the February 23, 2015 order dismissing ...


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