Roell v. Withrow, 538 U.S. 580, 5 (2003)

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584

ROELL v. WITHROW

Opinion of the Court

Court, stating that "they consented to all proceedings before this date before the United States Magistrate Judge, including disposition of their motion for summary judgment and trial." Id., at 22a.

The District Court nonetheless referred the Court of Appeals's enquiry to the same Magistrate Judge who had conducted the trial, who reported that "by their actions [Roell and Garibay] clearly implied their consent to the jurisdiction of a magistrate." Id., at 19a. She was surely correct, for the record shows that Roell and Garibay voluntarily participated in the entire course of proceedings before the Magistrate Judge, and voiced no objection when, at several points, the Magistrate Judge made it clear that she believed they had consented.1 The Magistrate Judge observed, however, that under the Circuit's precedent "consent cannot be implied by the conduct of the parties," id., at 18a, and she accordingly concluded that the failure of Roell and Garibay to give express consent before sending their postjudgment letter to the District Court meant that she had lacked jurisdiction to hear the case, ibid. The District Court adopted the report and recommendation over the petitioners' objection. Id., at 14a-15a.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court, agreeing that "[w]hen, pursuant to 636(c)(1), the magistrate judge

1 On at least three different occasions, counsel for Roell and Garibay was present and stood silent when the Magistrate Judge stated that they had consented to her authority. First, in a status teleconference involving the addition of a new defendant, Danny Knutson, who later settled with Wi-throw and was dropped from the suit, the Magistrate Judge stated that "all of the other parties have consented to my jurisdiction." App. 18. Petitioners later filed a motion for summary judgment, which the Magistrate Judge denied, noting in her order that "this case was referred to the undersigned to conduct all further proceedings, including entry of final judgment, in accordance with 28 U. S. C. 636(c)(1)." App. to Pet. for Cert. 26a. And finally, during jury selection, the Magistrate Judge told the panel that both sides had consented to her jurisdiction to hear the case. Id., at 27a.

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