Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

MAGIN v. MONSANTO COMPANY

January 12, 2005.

JON MAGIN, Plaintiff
v.
MONSANTO COMPANY, PHARMACIA CORPORATION and CP KELCO U.S., INC. Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES HOLDERMAN, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

On July 9, 2004, this court granted defendants Monsanto Company ("Monsanto"), Pharmacia Corporation ("Pharmacia"), and CP Kelco U.S., Inc ("Kelco"), motions for summary judgment dismissing plaintiff Jon Magin's ("Magin"), claims. (Dkt. Nos. 108, 109.) Magin had previously alleged that the defendants violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq., by not paying him certain claimed severance benefits. On August 19, 2004, Monsanto and Pharmacia filed a motion for an award of attorneys' fees and costs under ERISA's fee shifting provision and an assessment of sanctions against Magin and his counsel pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("Rules"), and 28 U.S.C. § 1927. For the reasons set forth below, this court grants Monsanto and Pharmacia's motion in part and denies it in part.

BACKGROUND

  Magin has experienced several set backs during his tenure before this court. On May 8, 2003, this court dismissed his case for failure to comply with the court's order of April 22, 2003. (Dkt. Nos. 21, 22.) Magin failed to meet the court's deadline of April 29, 2003 for filing and serving his amended complaint. Magin had filed for leave to file an amended complaint on April 17, 2003 in response to the defendants motions to dismiss his original complaint. (Dkt. Nos. 19, 20.)

  This court eventually allowed Magin to file his amended class action complaint on May 23, 2003, but his amended class complaint was dismissed on August 4, 2003 pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. (Dkt. Nos. 25, 45.) In light of the dismissal, this court, in an August 26, 2003 minute order, granted Magin leave to file a second amended complaint which he filed on September 3, 2003. (Dkt. Nos. 46, 47.) Monsanto and Pharmacia moved to dismiss the second amended complaint and this court, in its minute order of September 23, 2003, set a briefing schedule for that motion which required Magin to file his response by September 30, 2003. (Dkt. No. 56.) Magin failed to meet his September 30, 2003 deadline for filing his response with this court and instead this court, in its minute order of October 2, 2003, granted Magin's untimely motion to extend the filing of his response to October 9, 2003. (Dkt. No. 59.) This court, in its November 14, 2003 minute order, granted in part and denied in part Monsanto and Pharmacia's motion to dismiss. (Dkt. No. 64.) The court held that the second amended complaint did state a claim under ERISA, but Magin's state law claims were preempted under ERISA. (Id.) This was the second time that this court had dismissed Magin's state law claims as preempted under ERISA. The court, in its August 4, 2003 minute order, had previously dismissed Magin's state law claims when they were presented in the first amended complaint. (Dkt. No. 45.)

  On November 25, 2003, Monsanto and Pharmacia filed their answer to the second amended complaint along with affirmative defenses and a cross claim. (Dkt. No. 66.) Magin responded with motion to strike the affirmative defenses. (Dkt. No. 72.) This court, in its January 20, 2004 minute order denying Magin's motion to strike, noted that Magin failed to provide any basis for striking the affirmative defenses. (Dkt. No. 80.)

  On February 3, 3004, during the pretrial discovery period, Monsanto and Pharmacia brought a motion to deny class certification, (Dkt. No. 81.), and Magin was given until February 19, 2004 to file a motion for class certification, (Dkt. No. 82.), but did not file his motion until February 20, 2004. (Dkt. No. 83.) This court, in its April 8, 2004 minute order, denied Magin's motion for class certification and granted the defendants' motion to deny class certification. (Dkt. No. 92.) In the April 8, 2004 minute order, this court noted that Magin had not moved for class certification until after fact discovery had closed. (Id.) In fact, Magin had waited until the defendants had brought their motion against class certification before bringing his motion for class certification. This led the court to question whether "had defendants not moved to deny certification, would plaintiff have ever moved to certify?" (Id.) Furthermore, the extent of Magin's argument for class certification was a "four-page conclusory motion with little factual or legal support." (Id.)

  On April 2, 2004, when this court was considering the motion for class certification, Magin brought a motion for leave to add additional parties plaintiff. (Dkt. No. 90.) This court, in its April 20, 2004 minute order denying Magin's motion for leave to add additional parties plaintiff, noted that the motion had been filed over two months after discovery in the case had been closed and less than one month before motions for summary judgment were due. (Dkt. No. 96.)

  This court then dismissed Magin's remaining claims on July 9, 2004 when it granted the defendants motions for summary judgment on the remaining counts. (Dkt. Nos. 108, 109.) As the court explained, "The bottom line is that Magin has failed to identify with the requisite particularity the evidence that supports his claims. The entirety of Magin's `Argument' section of his memorandum in response runs less than three pages and contains no citations to the record. Magin has not affirmatively demonstrated, by specific factual allegations, as opposed to reliance on his pleadings and conclusory assertions, that there is a genuine issue of material fact that requires a trial." (Dkt. No. 109.)

  ANALYSIS

  A. Attorneys Fees and Costs Under ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(1)

  Monsanto and Pharmacia, as the prevailing party, request an award of $271,548.47 for attorneys' fees and costs under ERISA's fee shifting provision. 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(1). Magin argues against any award and he questions whether the $271,548.47 figure is a proper amount.

  1. The Parties Must Comply With Local Rule 54.3

  As a preliminary matter, the court notes that the parties have failed to comply with the requirements of Local Rule 54.3. In particular, the parties have failed to confer and meet in good faith to agree on a potential amount as required under Local Rule 54.3(d) or provide to the court a Joint Statement of disputed items as required under Local Rule 54.3(e). The procedures set forth in the Local Rules cultivate the groundwork of financial information that this court must ultimately review when arriving at a determination of whether the requested dollar amount is proper. The court does note that Monsanto and Pharmacia attached a letter dated August 3, 2004 sent to opposing counsel and a one half inch thick stack of legal invoices. However, these submissions are not ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.