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What is a Magistrate Judge and why has my case been referred to a Magistrate Judge?

In this district, Magistrate Judges hold scheduling conferences, issue pretrial scheduling orders, and hear and determine most pretrial matters. The District Judge may refer motions to dismiss or summary judgment motions to the Magistrate Judge who will issue a Report and Recommendation. The District Judge will issue a decision after reviewing the Report and Recommendation and any objections filed. A Magistrate Judge may determine dispositive motions without the need for a Report and Recommendation if the parties consent to have the Magistrate Judge handle the case.