United States District Court, District of Columbia
SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION NATIONAL INDUSTRY PENSION FUND, et al., Plaintiffs,
HEBREW HOMES HEALTH NETWORK, INC., et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
N. McFADDEN, U.S.D.J.
than a year after discovery closed-after full summary
judgment briefing and a Report and Recommendation-Hebrew
Homes Health Network, Inc., and its co-defendants
(collectively, “Hebrew Homes”), have moved to
supplement the record with letters they claim are relevant to
their statute of limitations defense in this ERISA case. For
the reasons below, Hebrew Homes' Motion to Supplement the
Record is denied.
applicable statute and the Federal Rules provide that a
district court may receive more evidence when
reviewing a magistrate judge's order. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(C); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). But “[w]hile the
court may receive further evidence, attempts to
introduce new evidence after the magistrate judge has acted
are disfavored.” Caldwell v. Jackson, 831
F.Supp.2d 911, 914 (M.D. N.C. 2010) (emphasis added).
“In appropriate cases . . . the district court may
exercise its discretion and accept further evidence when a
party offers sufficient reasons for so doing.”
Id. But Hebrew Homes have not offered sufficient
reasons for their eleventh-hour request to supplement the
Homes had ample opportunity for discovery. Service Employees
International Union Nation Industry Pension Fund sued Hebrew
Homes in June 2017, Compl., ECF No. 1, and the Court referred
the matter to Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey for full
case management. In October 2017, Judge Harvey set a schedule
allowing five months for discovery. See Scheduling
Order, ECF No. 15. But he later granted Hebrew Homes'
motion to extend discovery by three months, requiring
discovery to close by June 2018. See Order, ECF No.
18. Then Hebrew Homes again moved to extend the discovery
period, this time by eight days. Mot. for Extension of Time,
ECF No. 22. Judge Harvey granted the further extension.
See Order, ECF No. 23. After Judge Harvey held a
post-discovery status conference, he allowed Hebrew Homes
even more discovery. See 6/25/18 Minute Order.
Finally, in July 2018, discovery closed.
discovery closed, the parties engaged in summary judgment
briefing that lasted until December 2018. The parties'
cross-motions for summary judgment were pending before Judge
Harvey until July 2019. But at no time between October 2017
and July 2019 did Hebrew Homes try to introduce the letters
now attached to their Motion to Supplement the Record. That
is true, even though they apparently had the documents in
their possession and the statute of limitations issue was
central to their defense, see, e.g., Defs.' Mem.
in Supp. of Mot. for Summ. J. at 15-26, ECF No. 37-2. Only
after Judge Harvey issued his Report and Recommendation and
the Court granted Hebrew Homes' request for an extension
of time to file objections did they proposed to introduce
delay? Hebrew Homes suggest only that they “discovered
documents”-the letters-“which were not included
by either party in their initial disclosures.” Mem. in
Supp. of Mot. to Supplement ¶ 1, ECF No. 53-1. There is
no explanation for why the documents were only discovered now
or what efforts were made earlier that failed to produce
with the plaintiffs' consent, this is insufficient
justification for undermining the efforts of the magistrate
judge-who did not have the benefit of this evidence in
crafting his recommendation on the parties' cross-motions
for summary judgment-and delaying the administration of
justice. The referral process, especially in the summary
judgment context, is inefficient and wasteful of judicial
resources when the district court considers objections to the
magistrate judge's recommendation that are based on facts
the magistrate judge did not have the benefit of considering.
A party needs a better justification than “we
forgot.” See Heisler v. Nationwide Mutual Ins.
Co., __F.3d__, 2019 WL 3417277, at *8 (8th Cir. July 30,
Homes is simply “trying to add evidence [they] should
have introduced [more than twelve] months earlier, ”
and “[their] realization after reading the magistrate
judge's recommendation that [they] had failed to
introduce all of the evidence [they] needed to survive
summary judgment is not a particularly persuasive ground for
convincing a district court to accept new evidence.”
Id. “The district court [is] free to accept
further evidence, but it [is] under no obligation to permit a
party to fix its own errors in compiling the summary judgment
the Court finds that Hebrew Homes had significant opportunity
for discovery and has not adequately justified its failure to
include the proposed new evidence prior to the Report and
Recommendation, it is hereby ORDERED ...