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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit issues one Indiana opinion today

In Pinkston, James v. Madry, Anthony (ND Ind., Robert L. Miller, Jr., Chief Judge), a 25-page opinion, Judge Coffey writes:

COFFEY, Circuit Judge. On May 3, 2000, James Pinkston filed a complaint in federal court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that two correctional officers at the Indiana Department of Corrections Maximum Control Complex in Westville, Indiana, violated his Eighth Amendment rights when they allowed another prisoner to assault him and thereafter refused to assist him in receiving adequate medical care. While discovery was underway, the district court assigned a magistrate judge to dispense with all non-dispositive matters and to file proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). The magistrate judge subsequently convened an evidentiary hearing and, after performing a de novo review of the evidentiary hearing transcript and the magistrate judge’s recommendations, the district court adopted the magistrate judge’s decision granting the defendants-appellees motion for “Judgment on Partial Findings” under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 52(c). We affirm. * * *

Despite Pinkston’s suggestion that we should do otherwise, Judge Miller is a most knowledgeable, experienced and well-respected Article III judge and, without strong evidence to the contrary, we will take him at his word when he informs us that he has conducted a de novo review and considered the plaintiffs objections in compliance with § 636(b)(1). * * * To do otherwise would be contrary to our very system of law. Accordingly, we refuse to accept Pinkston’s invitation to inquire as to whether the district court “rubber stamped” the magistrate’s opinion, and hold that a district court’s assurance in a written order that the court has complied with the requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 636 is sufficient, in all but the most extraordinary of cases, to resist assault on appeal.

The decision of the district court is AFFIRMED.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 14, 2006 12:43 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions