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Legal Memorandum: Magistrate's Authority in VI

Issue: What is the scope of a Magistrate’s authority in the Virgin Islands?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Magistrate's authority; Question of law
Jurisdiction: Federal, Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 412 F.3d 429; 176 F.3d 187; 717 F.2d 100; 757 F.2d 66; 229 F.3d 992; 346 F.3d 402; 341 F.3d 256; 892 F.2d 305; 39 F.3d 1410; 79 F.3d 1168; 530 F.2d 160; 981 F.2d 810
Cited Statutes: 28 U.S.C., §§ 631-639, § 631, § 636, § 636(b)(1)(A), (B), 636(b)(2), 636(c), § 1448, § 1447, § 636(b)(1)(A), § 636(b)(4); Fed. R. Civ. P. 83(a), Rule 16 (b), Rule 16 (b), Rule 83(a), Rule 72 (a), (b); LRCi. 72.1 (a) (1)-(3, 1(c); 48 U.S.C. § 1614(b), § 1614(b)
Date: 07/01/2007

The same standard of review applies to the appellate review of a decision by a magistrate judge as to the decision of a district court judge.  James v. Hyatt Corp. of Del., 981 F.2d 810, 812 (5th Cir. 1993).  Accord Alexander v. Anthony Int’l, L.P., 341 F.3d 256, 263 (3d Cir. 2003).  “The scope of a magistrate judge’s authority is a question of law over which this Court exercises plenary review.”  Beazer East, Inc. v. Mead Corp., 412 F.3d 429, 437, n. 9 (3d Cir. 2005) citing Bowers v. National Collegiate Athletic Ass’n, 346 F.3d 402, 410 (3d Cir.2003).  The Court of Appeals reviews an order of dismissal de novoBuck v. Hampton Twp. Sch. Dist., 452 F.3d 256, 260 (3d Cir. 2006).

The Federal Magistrates Act of 1968 created the position of magistrate judge and specified the matters that district court judges may refer to magistrates for determination, subject to various levels of review by the district courts.  See Chapter 43 of Title 28 U.S.C., §§ 631-639.  By its terms, “[i]n the case of a magistrate judge appointed by the district court of the Virgin Islands, . . . this chapter shall apply as though the court appointing such a magistrate judge were a United States district court.”  28 U.S.C. § 631.  Section 636 of Title 28 defines the “Jurisdiction, powers, and temporary assignment” of magistrate judges.  See 28 U.S.C. § 636.  

“The jurisdiction […]

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