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Millar v. Lakin Law Firm

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS


October 20, 2009

JEFFREY MILLAR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE LAKIN LAW FIRM, P.C., LAKINCHAPMAN, LLC, AND BRADLEY M. LAKIN, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Appeal of Magistrate Judge Philip M. Frazier's Decision (Doc. 78). Specifically, Plaintiff appeals numerous objections sustained in Magistrate Judge Frazier's Minute Order (Doc. 70) of September 2, 2009. These objections concern Plaintiff's First and Second Requests for Production of documents directed to Defendants The Lakin Law Firm, P.C. and LakinChapman, LLC, as well as Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6) deposition notices. Defendants have responded (Doc. 85), and Plaintiff filed a reply (Doc. 88).

The bulk of the appealed rulings concern the exact same subject matter previously ruled upon by the Court in a prior Plaintiff's Appeal (Doc. 63), namely L. Thomas Lakin's indictment and subsequent guilty plea. Further, appealed rulings regarding certain ERISA discovery, which Magistrate Judge Frazier apparently tabled for the time being, will not be explored. This leaves the issues of discovery concerning communications between The Lakin Law Firm and its clients about Richard Burke, the firm's former class action supervisor, leaving the firm and the firm's staffing/duties of its class action department following Burke's termination. Much of this documentation raises concerns about attorney-client privilege and Plaintiff's interest in Burke's lawsuit.*fn1 Magistrate Judge Frazier erred on the side of caution, and the Court finds such prudence to be justified.

A district court reviewing a magistrate judge's decision on non-dispositive issues should only modify or set aside that decision if it is clearly erroneous or contrary to law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) (2006). The Court, being fully advised of the premises, does not find Magistrate Judge Frazier's decision falls below the deference afforded him. Accordingly, the Court AFFIRMS his rulings and DENIES the instant appeal (Doc. 78). The objections to the numerous interrogatories and Rule 30(b)(6) notices remain sustained.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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