United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
RUFUS JULIUS CORNELIUS ANDERSON, a/k/a Rufus Julius C. Anderson, a/k/a Rufus J. Anderson, Plaintiff,
GREENVILLE HEALTH SYSTEM, Defendant.
ORDER ADOPTING THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION,
GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS, DENYING
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STRIKE, AND HOLDING AS MOOT
PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS FOR ISSUANCE OF SUBPOENAS
GEIGER LEWIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
filed this case as an employment discrimination action. He is
proceeding pro se. The matter is before the Court for review
of the Report and Recommendation (Report) of the United
States Magistrate Judge suggesting Defendant's motion to
dismiss be granted, Plaintiff's motion to strike be
denied, and Plaintiff's motions for issuance of subpoenas
be held as moot. The Report was made in accordance with 28
U.S.C. § 636 and Local Civil Rule 73.02 for the District
of South Carolina.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The
responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270 (1976).
The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of
those portions of the Report to which specific objection is
made, and the Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole
or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge or
recommit the matter with instructions. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1). The Court declines to conduct a de novo review,
however, “when a party makes general and conclusory
objections that do not direct the court to a specific error
in the [Magistrate Judge's] proposed findings and
recommendations.” Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d
44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b).
Thus, the Court will address each specific objection to the
Report in turn. As provided above, however, the Court need
not-and will not-address any of Plaintiff's arguments
that fail to point the Court to alleged specific errors the
Magistrate Judge made in the Report.
Magistrate Judge filed the Report on October 14, 2016, and
the Clerk of Court entered Plaintiff's objections to the
Report on October 26, 2016. The Court has reviewed the
objections, but holds them to be without merit. Therefore, it
will enter judgment accordingly.
addressing Plaintiff's objections, the Court will provide
a brief roadmap to the reader so as to make its discussion of
those objections more understandable. Plaintiff's
complaint brings several retaliation claims, all but one of
which are barred by the statute of limitations. Accordingly,
the Court will address Plaintiff's objection as to his
unbarred claim first.
first objects to the Magistrate Judge's suggestion that
he failed to state a claim for relief that is plausible on
its face regarding Plaintiff's July 23, 2015, arrest. In
Plaintiff's attempt to demonstrate an initial inference
of retaliation, he contends the alleged retaliation-his July
23, 2015, arrest-took place twenty-seven days after Plaintiff
filed a separate civil action against Defendant. Plaintiff
avers Defendant was aware Plaintiff had filed the civil
action prior to causing Plaintiff's arrest. Further,
Plaintiff inexplicably questions the Magistrate Judge's
alleged changing of her opinion in this matter by comparing
her recommendation that process be served on Defendant with
her Report suggesting dismissal of this action.
cogency of Plaintiff's arguments elude the Court. As
noted by the Magistrate Judge, Plaintiff's allegations
that Defendant retaliated against him by having him arrested
shortly after he filed a lawsuit against Defendant alleging
employment discrimination utterly fail to state a claim for
retaliation that is plausible on its face. And, he has
completely neglected to provide any factual allegations to
create a plausible inference that Defendant had anything to
do with Plaintiff's arrest or that he was arrested
because he filed a lawsuit alleging employment
Plaintiff's suggestion the Magistrate Judge changed her
opinion in this case is unfounded. The Magistrate Judge
granted Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis, and after Plaintiff brought the case into proper
form, the Magistrate Judge ordered service of process on
Defendant. In taking these actions, the Magistrate Judge in
no way indicated an opinion as to the merits of
Plaintiff's action. All one can rightly ascertain from
the Magistrate Judge's decision to order Defendant be
served is that summarily dismissing Plaintiff's complaint
was improper. Her Report is therefore devoid of any
inconsistency. Consequently, the Court will overrule
Plaintiff's first objection.
Plaintiff objects to the Magistrate Judge's conclusion
that Plaintiff has failed to establish why equitable tolling
should apply to his remaining time-barred claims. Plaintiff
alleges he requires subpoenas to seek information in support
of the specific reasons why equitable tolling should apply to
his claims. Plaintiff further asserts the Director of the
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Patricia
Fuller, had Plaintiff arrested on June 20, 2011, and at that
time, Plaintiff was unaware of the dismissal and notice of
rights issued by the EEOC on June 13, 2011. Plaintiff
declares he suffered individualized hardship such that
equitable tolling should apply, as he was purportedly induced
and tricked into allowing the filing deadline to pass as to
his claims. Ultimately, Plaintiff insists he was misled and
confused by the initial disposition of the EEOC regarding his
Court is unable to agree. Although the requirement in Title
VII that “suits be filed within 90 days of receiving a
notice of right to sue from the [EEOC may] be subject to
tolling in appropriate circumstances, ” Office of
Personnel Management v. Richmond, 496 U.S. 414, 439
(1983), “[f]ederal courts have typically extended
equitable [tolling] only sparingly, ” Irwin v.
Department of Veterans Affairs, 498 U.S. 89, 96 (1990).
Federal courts “have allowed equitable tolling in
situations where the claimant has actively pursued his
judicial remedies by filing a defective pleading during the
statutory period, or where the complainant has been induced
or tricked by his adversary's misconduct into allowing
the filing deadline to pass.” Irwin, 498 U.S.
at 96 (footnote omitted). Federal courts “have
generally been much less forgiving in receiving late filings
where the claimant failed to exercise due diligence in
preserving his legal rights.” Id.
“any invocation of equity to relieve the strict
application of a statute of limitations must be guarded and
infrequent, lest circumstances of individualized hardship
supplant the rules of clearly drafted statutes.”
Harris v. Hutchinson, 209 F.3d 325, 330 (4th Cir.
2000). “To apply equity generously would loose the rule
of law to whims about the adequacy of excuses, divergent
responses to claims of hardship, and subjective notions of
fair accommodation.” Id. Consequently,
“any resort to equity must be reserved for those rare
instances where-due to circumstances external to the
party's own conduct-it would be unconscionable to enforce
the limitation period against the party and gross injustice
would result.” Id.
light of the standard set forth above, the Court holds
Plaintiff has failed to establish that equitable tolling
should be granted as to his time-barred claims. Plaintiff
uses language in accordance with the high standard required
to justify equitable tolling; however, Plaintiff's
statements are conclusory and neglect to provide the Court
with specific allegations of how he was purportedly induced
or tricked into allowing the filing deadline to pass as to
his claims. The Court concludes Plaintiff is unable to show
this is one of those rare instances where it would be
unconscionable to enforce the limitation period against him
or gross injustice would result. Rather, the Court holds
Plaintiff failed to exercise due diligence in preserving his
legal rights. As such, the Court will grant Defendant's
motion to dismiss.
thorough review of the Report and the record in this case
pursuant to the standard set forth above, the Court overrules
Plaintiff's objections, adopts the Report, and
incorporates it herein. Therefore, it is the judgment of this
Court that Defendant's motion to dismiss is GRANTED,
Plaintiff's motion to ...