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Depuy Synthes Sales, Inc. v. Jones

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Norfolk Division

March 21, 2014

DEPUY SYNTHES SALES, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL JONES, JACOB SCHOOLS, and SKY SURGICAL, INC., Defendants.

OPINION and ORDER

MARK S. DAVIS, District Judge.

This matter is currently before the Court on two motions to dismiss Counts III and IV of the complaint for failure to state a claim, one filed by corporate defendant Sky Surgical, Inc. ("Sky Surgical"), and one filed collectively by Michael Jones ("Jones") and Jacob Schools ("Schools").[1] This Court previously referred such motions to a United States Magistrate Judge, pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) (1) (B) for report and recommendation. The Magistrate Judge assigned to this case held a hearing and thereafter issued a detailed Report and Recommendation ("R&R") recommending that the pending motions be DENIED in their entirety. Sky Surgical thereafter filed objections to the R&R, and defendants Jones and Schools filed collective objections to the R&R. Plaintiff DePuy Synthes Sales, Inc. ("Plaintiff") filed a response to such objections, but did not itself object to the R&R.

After carefully considering the Magistrate Judge's thorough R&R, the parties' subsequent filings, and the relevant law, this Court hereby ADOPTS and APPROVES the findings and recommendations set forth in the R&R. The instant Opinion supplements the R&R in order to address Defendants' objections and the Virginia Supreme Court's recent opinion in Dunlap v. Cottman Transmission Systems, LLC, ___ Va. ___, 754 S.E.2d 313 (2014).

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The parties have not filed objections challenging the accuracy of the factual and procedural background as detailed in the R&R. R&R 2-5, ECF No. 21. Upon review of the R&R and record, this Court finds no clear error in the R&R as to such matters, and thus, hereby adopts and incorporates such background herein.

Subsequent to the issuance of the R&R, Defendants filed objections to the R&R challenging the Magistrate Judge's interpretation of Virginia law and his application of such law to the facts of this case. Plaintiff filed a brief responding to such objections, arguing in favor of the Magistrate Judge's position. Subsequent to the issuance of the R&R and the filing of the parties' briefs, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued its opinion in Dunlap. As discussed in greater detail below, the ruling in Dunlap is consistent with, and lends additional support to, the Magistrate Judge's thorough and well-reasoned analysis.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

The well-established standard of review governing motions to dismiss filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is accurately set forth in the R&R and is not objected to by the parties. Accordingly, this Court incorporates such standard herein.

As to the review procedure for an R&R, "any party may serve and file written objections" to the proposed findings and recommendations set forth in the R&R within fourteen (14) days after service of the R&R. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). "The Federal Magistrates Act requires a district court to make a de novo determination of those portions of the [magistrate judge's] report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.'" Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co. , 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)) (alteration in original). As to those portions of the R&R that no party has challenged through advancing a "specific written objection, ' [a] district court [is] free to adopt [the] magistrate judge's recommendation... without conducting a de novo review." Id. at 316. As to these unchallenged portions, the reviewing court need only "satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation.'" Id. at 315 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 Advisory Committee's Note).

III. DISCUSSION

A. Unobjected-to Portions of R&R

Having reviewed the Magistrate Judge's detailed R&R, relevant case law, and the relevant portions of the record, this Court is satisfied that there is no clear error as to all portions of the R&R that were not specifically objected to by the parties. Diamond , 416 F.3d at 315. Accordingly, this Court hereby ADOPTS the findings and recommendations set forth in the R&R as to all unobjected-to matters.

B. Objections to the R&R

Defendants' objections to the R&R appear to include both specific objections warranting a de novo review, and broader conclusory objections contending that the Magistrate Judge erred, but not explaining the purported error. Because, in the end, Defendants' collective objections to the R&R are specific enough to challenge the bulk of the Magistrate Judge's legal reasoning, this Court fashions the instant Opinion in a manner that directly addresses the primary legal issues in dispute, rather than attempting to address each individually numbered objection in Defendants' filings. Stated differently, this Court has conducted a de novo review of the analysis set forth on pages 7-22 of the R&R. Having conducted such de novo review, this Court adopts and incorporates herein the entirety of the Magistrate Judge's analysis as the Defendants' objections are not well-founded. Moreover, the ...


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