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Rule 72 Objections – D. Montana

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  • Rule 72 Objections – D. Montana

    Here’s a new case out of the District of Montana, Missoula Division, Lesley M. Fix v. The Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company. There’s nothing particularly interesting about this case as far as the ruling. It is a pretty solid defense victory with pretty standard arguments. The only interesting point that I saw is that the plaintiff here tries to recycle her previous arguments in her Rule 72 objections and in an attempt to re-litigate her case. The court calls her on this, but still analyzes the Magistrate Judge’s decision.

    Upon close review of Fix's objections, it appears that she slightly modified her briefs in support of the motion for summary judgment to serve as her Rule 72 objections. (Compare Docs. 26 and 30, with Doc. 34.) Further, though these objections discuss Judge Lynch's conclusions generally, Fix essentially recycles her previous arguments in an attempt to relitgate her case. This is not the purpose of 28 U.S.C. § 636. See Kenneally v. Clark, CV-10-67-BU-RFC-JCL, 2011 WL 4959672, at *1 (D. Mont. Oct. 18, 2011) ("Objections to a magistrate's Findings and Recommendations are not a vehicle for the losing party to relitigate its case.") (citing Camarda v. General Motors Hourly-Rate Employees Pension Plan, 806 F.Supp. 380, 382 (W.D.N.Y.1992) ("There is no increase in efficiency, and much extra work, when a party attempts to relitigate every argument which it presented to the Magistrate Judge.")). Thus, as a result of Fix's failure to specify her objections in accordance with Rule 72, the Court is permitted to overrule the objections without analysis. Kenneally, 2011 WL 4959672, at* 1 (citing Sullivan v. Schriro, CV-04-1517-PHX-DGC, 2006 WL 1516005, at *1 (D. Ariz. May 30, 2006)).

    Nevertheless, despite Fix's lack of specified objections to Judge Lynch's legal conclusions, the Court is not relieved of its duty to review the Findings and Recommendation. Id. Upon review of the Findings or Recommendations, the Court agrees with Judge Lynch that Fix's motion should be denied. Harfford's decision to terminate Fix's disability insurance benefits was not an abuse of discretion, or arbitrary or capricious. See Tapley v. Locals 302 and 612 of the International Union of Operating Engineers-Employers Construction Industry Retirement Plan, 728 F.3d 1134, 1139-1140 (9th Cir. 2013) (equating the abuse of discretion standard with the arbitrary and capricious standard of review when reviewing a denial of ERISA benefits).
    The opinion is attached below.
    Attached Files