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K.D. v. Wooten

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division

March 13, 2015

K.D., a minor child, by and through her parents and guardians, J.D. and S.D., Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL WAYNE WOOTEN, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

KARON OWEN BOWDRE, Chief District Judge.

This matter comes before the court on Defendants Birmingham Board of Education and Aaron Moyana's Motion for Summary Judgment (doc. 42); the magistrate judge's report and recommendation filed on November 12, 2014 (doc. 49); the Plaintiff's partial objections (doc. 50); and the Defendants' response to those objections (doc. 51).

Claims Voluntarily Abandoned by the Plaintiff

In the Plaintiff's response to the motion for summary judgment (doc. 45), she voluntarily abandoned her claims against the Board of Education and Moyana under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983; abandoned her state law claims of tort of outrage, defamation, false imprisonment, and assault and battery against Moyana; and agreed that the court should dismiss the Board as a party-defendant because it has sovereign immunity for any remaining state law claims against it. As such, the magistrate judge recommends that the court dismiss all of those claims voluntarily abandoned by the Plaintiff and dismiss the Board of Education as a party-defendant. The court ACCEPTS the magistrate judge's recommendation on these abandoned claims and ADOPTS her recommendation to dismiss these claims with prejudice and dismiss the Board of Education as a party-defendant in this action.

Plaintiff's Negligence and/or Wantonness and/or Recklessness Claim Against Defendant Moyana

The only remaining claim subject to the motion for summary judgment before the court is the Plaintiff's claim against Defendant Moyana in his individual capacity for negligence and/or wantonness and/or recklessness. The magistrate judge recommends that the court grant Moyana's motion for summary judgment regarding this remaining claim against Moyana and enter judgment in his favor because he is entitled to State-agent immunity under Alabama law.[1] (Doc. 49 at 15).

Plaintiff's Objections Regarding the Remaining Claim Against Moyana

On November 25, 2014, the Plaintiff filed her "Partial Objection to Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation of November 12, 2014, " restricting her objection "to the recommendation that Moyana be granted a summary judgment as to the claim[] of negligence, wantonness or recklessness and to the magistrate's conclusions that Moyana enjoys State-agent immunity as to this claim...." (Doc. 50 at 2). Specifically, the Plaintiff contends that the magistrate judge "accepted Moyana's factual' presentation while ignoring or discounting K.D.'s proffered evidence" and that she "summarily dismissed the existence of any conflict in the evidence." In her objections, the Plaintiff lists the facts that she contends the magistrate judge "ignored." (Doc. 50 at 6-7). The Plaintiff claims that the magistrate judge "made credibility determinations and weighed the evidence and did so in Moyana's favor even though he is the movant." (Doc. 50 at 11).

In her objections, the Plaintiff also claims that the magistrate judge erred by relying on the analysis of the Alabama Supreme Court in D.A.C. v. Thrasher, 655 So.2d 959 (Ala. 1995), which she contends is factually distinguishable from the present case. (Doc. 50 at 11-14). Moreover, the Plaintiff also claims that the magistrate judge's report and recommendation is "devoid of any mention of" the Alabama Supreme Court's decision in N.C. v. Caldwell, 77 So.3d 561 (Ala. 2011), which the plaintiff heavily relied upon in her response to the motion for summary judgment and claims supports her argument that Moyana is not entitled to State-agent immunity in this case. (Doc. 50 at 19).

Defendants' Response to Plaintiff's Partial Objections

On December 4, 2014, the Defendants Birmingham Board of Education and Aaron Moyana filed a response to the Plaintiff's objection. (Doc. 51). Although the court did not give the Board or Moyana specific permission to file such a response, Fed. R. Civ. P 72(b)(2) allows a party 14 days to respond to a party's objections; the Defendants' response was timely; the Plaintiffs did not object to the filing; and the response is helpful to the court in making its decisions in this case. As such, the court, in this instance, will consider the arguments contained in the Defendants' response to the Plaintiff's objections.

De Novo Review of Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation

The court has carefully reviewed and considered de novo all materials in the court file relevant to the case, including the parties' briefs and evidentiary material submitted in support of them; the magistrate judge's report and recommendation; the Plaintiff objections; and the Defendants' response to the Plaintiff's objections. The court ADOPTS the magistrate judge's REPORT with the following additional factual discussion and ACCEPTS her recommendation that the court grant Defendant Moyana's motion for summary judgment and enter judgment in his favor on the negligence and/or wantonness and/or recklessness claim against him in his individual capacity because he is entitled to State-agent immunity under Alabama law.

As to the Plaintiff's objection regarding the magistrate's findings of fact, the court finds that, to the extent that the magistrate judge failed to specifically include or discuss in her report the specific facts listed by the Plaintiff in her objections (doc. 50 at 6-7), the court SUSTAINS the objection. In making its de novo review in this case, the court specifically considered the entire record, including those specific facts listed in the objections. The court OVERRULES the Plaintiff's objections in ...


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