United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
MARK A. BROOKS-ALBRECHTSEN, Plaintiff,
MITCHELL Officer, in his individual and official capacity as a police officer for the Indianapolis Metro. Police Dep't., Department of Public Safety, Defendant.
ORDER ON OBJECTION
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Judge United States District Court
action stems from a forty-second traffic encounter between
pro se Plaintiff Mark A. Brooks-Albrechtsen and
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Mitchell.
After that encounter, Mr. Brooks-Albrechtsen sued Officer
Mitchell in his individual capacity pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. [Filing No. 2.] Presently pending
before the Court is Mr. Brooks-Albrechtsen's Objection to
the Magistrate Judge's Order denying his Motion for
Sanctions. [Filing No. 55 (objecting to
Filing No. 54).] For the reasons that follow, the
Court denies Mr. Brooks-Albrechtsen's Objection.
[Filing No. 55.]
district judge “may designate a magistrate judge to
hear and determine any pretrial matter pending before the
court, ” with certain exceptions. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(A); see also Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 72
(providing that a pretrial, non-dispositive matter may be
referred to the assigned magistrate judge for decision). Any
timely objections to the magistrate judge's order will be
considered, and the Court will “modify or set aside any
part of the order that is clearly erroneous or is contrary to
law.” Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 72(a). Under the clear error
standard, the Court will not reverse the decision unless it
is “left with the definite and firm conviction that a
mistake has been committed.” Kanter v. C.I.R.,
590 F.3d 410, 417 (7th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted).
action was initiated on November 19, 2015. [Filing No.
2.] On February 2, 2016, Mr. Brooks-Albrechtsen moved
for summary judgment in his favor. [Filing No. 13.]
On February 8, 2016, Officer Mitchell moved for an extension
of time until June 1, 2016 to file his response brief.
[Filing No. 17.] As support for that request,
Officer Mitchell stated that he “did not anticipate
Plaintiff's summary judgment at this early point in the
litigation before the parties had their initial pretrial
conference, before a case management plan had been entered,
and before any discovery had been conducted.”
[Filing No. 17 at 2.] Officer Mitchell requested
some time to conduct discovery and obtain affidavits that he
anticipated would be used in opposing Mr.
Brooks-Albrechtsen's summary judgment request.
[Filing No. 17 at 2.] Mr. Brooks-Albrechtsen filed
an objection in response to Officer Mitchell's extension
request, contending that discovery was unnecessary.
[Filing No. 18.]
February 9, 2016, the Magistrate Judge entered a Case
Management Plan and granted Officer Mitchell's extension
request in part. [Filing No. 19 at 10.]
Specifically, the Magistrate Judge granted Officer Mitchell
until April 6, 2016 to file his summary judgment response,
noting that while some discovery was likely needed in light
of Mr. Brooks-Albrechtsen's early summary judgment
motion, Officer Mitchell's proposed scope of discovery
exceeded what was necessary to respond. [Filing No. 19 at
10.] The Magistrate Judge concluded that if Officer
Mitchell “needs additional time to conduct discovery to
file his own summary judgment motion, Defendant can file that
motion at a later date.” [Filing No. 19 at
Magistrate Judge held a telephonic conference on March 24,
2016, and enlarged the deadline for Officer Mitchell to
respond to the pending summary judgment motion until May 13,
2016. [Filing No. 21.] On May 9, 2016, Officer
Mitchell filed a Second Motion for Extension of Time to
Respond to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment,
requesting until June 3, 2016 to file his response brief
because although discovery had been exchanged, Officer
Mitchell's counsel had multiple deadlines in other cases
that had interfered with preparing the response brief.
[Filing No. 25.] Officer Mitchell indicated that Mr.
Brooks-Albrechtsen objected to the request, [Filing No.
25], but the Court granted the extension and ordered
Officer Mitchell to file his response brief by June 3, 2016,
[Filing No. 26.]
3, 2016, Officer Mitchell responded to Mr.
Brooks-Albrechtsen's Motion for Summary Judgment and
filed a Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment on Mr.
Brooks-Albrechtsen's claim. [Filing No. 28;
Filing No. 29.]
5, 2016, Mr. Brooks-Albrechtsen filed a Motion for Sanctions,
asking for sanctions against defense counsel pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1927 “due to their unreasonable and
vexatious filings that have multiplied the
proceedings.” [Filing No. 39 at 1.]
Specifically, Mr. Brooks-Albrechtsen contends although he
moved for summary judgment “on a relatively simple
case, ” Officer Mitchell's extension requests
resulted in an unreasonable delay by making the
“typical 14-day responsive window . . . a 121-day
delay.” [Filing No. 39 at 3.] Mr.
Brooks-Albrechtsen contends that the extension requests were
unnecessary and unwarranted and that Officer Mitchell's
subsequent objection to a requested extension by Mr.
Brooks-Albrechtsen “has unduly delayed the course of
action through the courts.” [Filing No. 39 at
4.] Officer Mitchell opposed Mr.
Brooks-Albrechtsen's sanctions request. [Filing No.
August 4, 2016, the Magistrate Judge issued the following
marginal entry on Mr. Brooks-Albrechtsen's Motion for
Sanctions: “Motion denied. The complained of conduct
does not rise anywhere near sanctionable conduct under 28
U.S.C. § 1927. Motions such as these waste the
Court's time, and are more troublesome than the conduct
of which Plaintiff complains.” [Filing No.
54.] On August 10, 2016, Mr. Brooks-Albrechtsen filed an
Objection to the Magistrate ...