On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh) (D.C. Civil No. 82-803)
This appeal raises two issues: First, whether the 10 day period specified in the Magistrate's Act, 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), for filing objections to a Magistrate Report is jurisdictional, and second, the date service on a prisoner is considered to have been made. The latter issue is one that implicates various federal procedural rules.
Walter Grandison, an inmate at the State Correctional Institutional at Graterford, Pennsylvania, brought this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against three members of the Program Review Committee, and the warden, a sergeant and a captain at the State Correctional Institution at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (SCIP). Grandison claims that he was denied procedural due process on two occasions when he was transferred to SCIP and placed in administrative custody there as a security risk. Grandison claims he did not received notice or a hearing on the first occasion, December 3, 1980. He admits that on the second occasion, September 23, 1981, he received notice and appeared before three members of the Program Review Committee, which was responsible for determining whether he should be administratively confined, but claims that the hearing was inadequate.
The district court referred the case to a magistrate for an evidentiary hearing, proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation for disposition. The magistrate found that "plaintiff established and defendants did not contest that at the time of his December 3, 1980, transfer to solitary confinement he received no notice of the reason for his placement in administrative segregation and no opportunity to present his views to the prison officials." The magistrate concluded, however, that plaintiff failed to establish that any of the defendants to this action participated in his placement in administrative custody on December 3, 1980. With respect to plaintiff's placement in segregation on September 23, 1981 for a period of 16 days, the magistrate found that Grandison appeared before the Program Review Committee on September 24, 1981 and was given an opportunity to present his views. Therefore she concluded that defendants did not deprive plaintiff of due process.
The magistrate's report was dated June 17, 1985. The final paragraphs, containing the recommendation, provided as follows:
It is recommended that judgment be entered against plaintiff and on behalf of the defendants.
In accordance with the Magistrates Act, 28 U.S.C. Section 636(b)(1)(B) and (C), and Rule 4 of the Local Rules for Magistrates, the parties are allowed ten (10) days from the date of service to file objections to this report and recommendation.
On July 3, 1985, the district court adopted the magistrate's proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, adopted the report and recommendation of the magistrate as the opinion of the court, and entered judgment in favor of the defendants and against the plaintiff. The court stated that "[n]o objections have been filed."
On July 8, 1985, plaintiff's objections to the magistrate's proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law and recommendations for disposition were filed. These were dated July 3, 1985 and were accompanied by plaintiff's certificate of service on defense counsel on July 3, 1985. On July 19, 1985, plaintiff filed Objections to the District Court's Memorandum Order in which he alleged that he was served with the magistrate's report and recommendation on June 28, 1985. He further explained that his mail was sent to the "Western Pen address" [SCIP] where he had been transferred for an evidentiary hearing but that he had already been returned to Graterford when his forwarded mail arrived at SCIP.
The district court dismissed plaintiff's objections by order dated July 24, 1985, accompanied by the following memorandum:
On July 8, 1985, plaintiff filed untimely objections to the magistrate's Proposed Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Recommendation for Disposition dated June 17, 1985. The magistrate's report was served on plaintiff on June 20, 1985 and his objections were therefore due on July 1, 1985 since June 30, 1985 was a Sunday. His objections were executed on July 3, 1985 and filed with the Clerk on July 8, 1985. Both the Magistrate's Act, 28 U.S.C. Section 636(b)(1) and this court's Local Rules for Magistrates, Rule 4(b) require a party to file objections to a report and recommendation within ten days after service. The report of the magistrate also advised plaintiff that he had ten days to file objections to a report and recommendation within ten days after service. The report of the magistrate also advised plaintiff that he had ten days to file objections. Since his objections were untimely they shall be dismissed.
It appears that the district court treated the 10 day statutory period for filing objections to the magistrate's report as jurisdictional. We see no good reason why it should be so regarded. Nothing in the statutory language or legislative history suggests that the 10 day provision is one that speaks in jurisdictional terms. Under these circumstances, analogous statutory provisions establishing time requirements have been treated as statutes of limitations subject to recognized equitable doctrines. See, e.g., Zipes v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 455 U.S. 385, 71 L. Ed. 2d 234, 102 S. Ct. 1127 (1982). We agree with the holding in Zelaskowski v. Johns-Manville, ...