United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
Decided April 29, 2015.
Jacob Greenspan, Plaintiff, Pro se, Charleston, SC.
For Brothers Property Corporation, Brothers Property Management Corporation, Defendants: John Sulau, Wendy L Furhang, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Jackson Lewis PC, Greenville, SC.
Richard Mark Gergel, United States District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation (" R & R" ), Dkt. No. 32, recommending that this Court deny Defendants' Motion to Strike (Dkt. No. 24) and grant Plaintiff's Motion to Remand (Dkt. No. 21). For the reason stated below, the Court ADOPTS the R & R, DENIES the motion to strike and GRANTS the motion to remand.
Plaintiff filed this action in state court against his former employers Brothers Property Corporation and Brothers Property Management Corporation (collectively " the Brothers Defendants" or " Defendants" ), raising a number of state law causes of action. Brothers Property Management Corporation does business as Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina (" the Resort" ) and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Defendant Brothers Property Corporation. ( See Dkt. No. 34 at 3). Plaintiff was hired as an Accounting Manager for the Resort in 2009 and later promoted to Controller for the Resort in 2010. (Dkt. No. 14 at ¶ ¶ 14-15). In June of 2012, Plaintiff was terminated ostensibly for tardiness and absences at work. ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 117-118). Plaintiff claims his termination was for unlawful reasons. ( See generally Dkt. No. 14).
The Brothers Defendants properly removed this action to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction. (Dkt. No. 1). After removal, but before the defendants answered, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint as a matter of course under Rule 15(a). (Dkt. No. 14). This First Amended Complaint names three additional individual defendants: Oliver Rooskens, Victor Fuller, and Ana Reina. Rooskens is the General Manager of the Resort, Fuller is the President of the parent company Brothers Property Corporation, and Reina is the Chief Financial Officer of the parent company Brothers Property Corporation. (Dkt. No. 14 at ¶ ¶ 7-10). Plaintiff alleges that as Controller, he reported directly to CFO Reina. ( Id. at ¶ 15). However, documents attached to the Complaint show that Plaintiff reported to both Rooskens, as General Manger of the Resort, and to the corporate CFO Reina. (Dkt. No. 1-1 at 58-60). Plaintiff alleges that Fuller and Reina are residents of Florida, and Rooskens is a resident of South Carolina. ( Id. ).
The addition of Defendant Rooskens defeats diversity jurisdiction, and Plaintiff filed a motion to remand on this basis. (Dkt. No. 21). The Brothers Defendants responded with a Motion to Strike the First Amended Complaint (Dkt. No. 24), claiming Plaintiff's addition of Defendant Rooskens is a " procedural trick to defeat diversity jurisdiction." (Dkt. No. 34 at 19). The Magistrate Judge recommended denying Defendants' motion to strike and granting Plaintiff's motion to remand. (Dkt. No. 32). The Brothers Defendants filed timely objections. (Dkt. No. 34).
II. Legal Standard
A. Report and Recommendation
The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination remains with the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71, 96 S.Ct. 549, 46 L.Ed.2d 483 (1976). This Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the R & R 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)); accord Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b).
As to portions of the R & R to which no specific objection has been made, this Court " must 'only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation.'" Id. (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee note). Moreover, in the absence of specific objections to the R & R, the Court need not give any explanation for adopting the Magistrate ...