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Earl C. Davis v. United States Department of Labor

February 24, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Royce C. Lamberth, Chief Judge



Before the Court are plaintiff's Appeal of Magistrate Judge Order Docket No. 180 to the Federal District Judge ("Appeal") [185], defendant's Opposition to Plaintiff's Appeal ("Opp'n") [186], and plaintiff's Reply to Defendant's Opposition ("Reply") [187]. Plaintiff appeals the Magistrate Judge's order [182] denying plaintiff's Motion for Clarity [180]. Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate Judge exceeded her authority under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act ("LHWCA"), 33 U.S.C. § 921(d) (2006), by refusing to give proper weight to the findings of the LHWCA administrative complaint process. Id. §§ 921(a)-(c); see Appeal at 2. Plaintiff also requests that this Court issue an injunction ordering compliance with its prior order in this case. Id. at 4-5, 17. Having carefully considered the appeal, opposition, reply, and the voluminous record in this case, the Court will affirm the Magistrate Judge's order and deny plaintiff's request for injunction. Additionally, since there is no longer an active controversy within this Court's jurisdiction, this case will be terminated from the Court's active docket.


A.Summary of the Case

In 1982, plaintiff Earl C. Davis was adjudicated under the LHWCA as permanently disabled by an on-the-job injury that occurred in 1965, while he was in the employ of defendant George Hyman Construction Company ("Hyman"). See Director's Response to Magistrate Robinson's July 1, 2005 Order ("Director's Response") [117] at 1-2. In 1982, this court entered judgment in the form of an order ("1982 Order") establishing the procedures by which the Mr. Davis was to submit reimbursements to defendant Liberty Mutual Insurance Company ("Liberty Mutual") (defendant Hyman's insurance carrier), and the time and format by which Liberty Mutual was to respond. Director's Response Ex. A (copy of the 1982 Order). In 2000, in response to Mr. Davis' ongoing difficulties in obtaining reimbursements from Liberty Mutual, this Court granted Mr. Davis' motion to revive the judgment. Sept. 1, 2000 Order [23]. In 2001, Mr. Davis' motion to hold Liberty Mutual in contempt of the 1982 Order was referred to the Magistrate Judge. Feb. 28, 2001 Order [46]. The Magistrate Judge modified the 1982 Order to clarify the reporting requirements and to provide that Liberty Mutual would be subject to a monetary penalty for delays in compliance with the 1982 Order. Mar. 15, 2001 Order ("Modified Order") [50].

Since 2002 the parties have had an ongoing dispute involving four requests for reimbursement filed by Mr. Davis. See Appeal at 8; Reply at 10. These claims were pursued via the administrative process of the LHWCA, including a determination by an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"), an appeal to the Benefits Review Board ("BRB"), and an appeal to the D.C. Circuit, resulting in a final decision that partially granted, partially denied, and partially dismissed Mr. Davis' claims. See Director's Response at 3-4; see generally Reply Attach. 18- 49.*fn1 While the administrative process was ongoing, Mr. Davis pursued an action in this Court to enforce the 1982 Order under § 921(d) of the LHWCA, to require Liberty Mutual to respond to Mr. Davis' reimbursement requests in the form specified by the Modified Order, and to enforce the monetary penalty specified in the Modified Order for lack of timely response by Liberty Mutual. In November 2003, the Magistrate Judge ordered Liberty Mutual to submit a detailed response addressing each of the four disputed reimbursement requests ("Document Production Order"), which is the basis of Mr. Davis' argument to this Court. Appeal at 10.

B.Procedural History

The record is replete with hearings before the Magistrate Judge, orders for consultations and status reports, and orders in response to a series of motions in an attempt to resolve this ongoing enforcement dispute over an administrative action that received its final status almost seven years ago.*fn2 The following is a short summary of the relevant history of this case.

In May 2005, Mr. Davis moved to compel compliance with the Modified Order and to impose the penalty specified in that order. See generally Pl.'s Mot. to Compel Compliance [111]; Pl.'s Mot. to Impose Penalty [103]. In November 2005, the Department of Labor provided a status update in response to the Magistrate Judge's order. See generally Director's Response. In May 2006, the Magistrate Judge ordered the parties to meet and submit a detailed report on all outstanding issues, and dismissed Mr. Davis' two motions without prejudice. See generally May 5, 2006 Order [119].

At a January 2007 status hearing, the Magistrate Judge fined Liberty Mutual $5,500 for late payment of one of the disputed claims and again ordered the parties to confer and produce a status report on the remaining claims. See Jan. 10, 2007 Minute Order; Pl.'s Mot. Leave to File Resp. [141] at 23-24 (quoting portions of transcript of Jan. 10, 2007 hearing). This Court upheld the fine imposed by the Magistrate Judge. Oct. 12, 2008 Order [168].

In 2008 the Magistrate Judge denied Mr. Davis' outstanding motions for enforcement of the Modified Order. See generally Sept. 22, 2008 Mem. Order [165]. Also in 2008, defendant Department of Labor was dismissed from the case. Sept. 23, 2008 Minute Order. Mr. Davis' Motion for Reconsideration and subsequent Motion for Enforcement were denied in 2009 and 2010, respectively. See generally Sept. 21, 2009 Order [171]; Mar. 31, 2010 Mem. Order [179]. Mr. Davis' Motion for Clarity was denied in 2011. See generally Mar. 23, 2011 Order [182]. The appeal of this most recent order is now before this Court.


The Court finds that the decision of the Magistrate Judge was not "clearly erroneous or contrary to law." L. Civ. R. 72.2(c). Therefore the Appeal will be denied. Additionally, since the matter of the four disputed requests for reimbursement has been now been settled, and there are no other reimbursement disputes active between the parties, this Court has no further ...

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