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Davis v. Medical University of South Carolina Physicians

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division

August 17, 2016

Kisha Marie Davis, Plaintiff,
Medical University of South Carolina Physicians, Defendant.


          Richard Mark Gergel, United States District Court Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, recommending that Defendant's amended motion to dismiss be granted. For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts the Report and Recommendation and dismisses this action.

         I. Background

         In 2014, Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, brought suit alleging that while employed with Defendant, she was passed over for a promotion because of her age and race. Davis v. MUSC-Physicians, Civ. No. 2:14-3152-MGB (the "2014 Lawsuit").[1] She also brought claims of retaliation, disability discrimination, and interference with rights provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act. While cross-motions for summary judgment were pending in that action, Plaintiff filed the present action, which restates the FMLA claim she brought in 2014, [2] in response to Defendant's motion for summary judgment, in which Defendant argued that it was not clear that Plaintiff had alleged FMLA claims in her initial filing. Mot. Consol., 2014 Lawsuit, Dkt. No. 24 at 4-5.

         On March 29, 2016, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant on all claims in the 2014 Lawsuit. Order, 2014 Lawsuit, Dkt. No. 94. That judgment fully adjudicated Plaintiffs FMLA claims, and is currently pending on direct appeal. Defendant has now moved to dismiss the present action, which Plaintiff admits is a restatement of her FMLA claims from the 2014 Lawsuit, as a duplicative action and because of res judicata (Defendant amended the motion to dismiss to assert res judicata). On July 28, 2016, the Magistrate Judge recommended that Defendant's amended motion to dismiss be granted. (Dkt. No. 32.) Plaintiff has filed no objections to the Report and Recommendation.

         II. Legal Standard

         A. Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility for making a final determination remains with this Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). This Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which specific objection is made. Additionally, the Court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This Court may also "receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions." Id. Where the plaintiff fails to file any specific objections, "a district court need not conduct a de novo review, but instead must only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation, " see Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation omitted), and this Court is not required to give any explanation for adopting the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198 (4th Cir. 1983).

         B. Motion to Dismiss

         Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits the dismissal of an action if the complaint fails "to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Such a motion tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint and "does not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of the claim, or the applicability of defenses. . . . Our inquiry then is limited to whether the allegations constitute 'a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Republican Party of N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992) (quotation marks and citation omitted). In a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court is obligated to "assume the truth of all facts alleged in the complaint and the existence of any fact that can be proved, consistent with the complaint's allegations." E. Shore Mkts., Inc. v. J.D. Assocs. Ltd. P'ship, 213 F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir. 2000). However, while the Court must accept the facts in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, it "need not accept as true unwarranted inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments." Id.

         To survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must state "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Ail. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570(2007). Although the requirement of plausibility does not impose a probability requirement at this stage, the complaint must show more than a "sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A complaint has "facial plausibility" where the pleading "allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id.

         III. Discussion

         A. Duplicative Action

         Generally, a federal suit may be dismissed "for reasons of wise judicial administration ... whenever it is duplicative of a parallel action already pending in another federal court." Serlin v. Arthur Andersen & Co., 3 F.3d 221, 223 (7th Cir.1993); see also Colo. River Water Conservation Dist. v. United States,424 U.S. 800, 817 (1976) (noting that although there is no specific rule regarding federal cases, "the general principle is to avoid duplicative litigation"). Duplicative claims include those in which there are no significant differences between the claims, parties, and available relief in the two suits. Serlin, 3 F.3d at 223. In this action, Plaintiff asserts claims that she asserted in the 2014 Lawsuit, arising from facts that she alleged in the 2014 Lawsuit, against the same Defendant as in the 2014 Lawsuit. The 2014 Lawsuit is currently pending in another ...

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