United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson Division
Bernard T. Smith, Jr., Plaintiff,
Terri Hozey, Defendant.
OPINION & ORDER
M. Herlong, Jr. Senior United States District Judge
matter is before the court with the Report and Recommendation
of United States Magistrate Judge Jacquelyn D. Austin, made
in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil
Rule 73.02 of the District of South Carolina. Bernard T. Smith,
Jr. (“Smith”), proceeding pro se, filed a
complaint against Terri Hozey (“Hozey”) asserting
an employment discrimination claim in violation of Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”). In
addition, Smith alleges a state law claim for slander.
Factual Background and Procedural History
was employed by Strataforce LLC, a temporary staffing agency,
and worked in the Greenwood, South Carolina location of
Fujifilm. (Def. Mot. Dismiss Ex. 1 (Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss
2), ECF No. 6-1.) Hozey is a human resources manager for
Fujifilm. (Id. Ex. 1 (Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss 2
n.1), ECF No. 6-1.) In 2015, Smith was terminated from his
position at Fujifilm. (Notice of Removal Ex. 1 (State Ct.
Docs. 7), ECF No. 1-1.) Smith subsequently filed a request
for unemployment benefits, which was denied. (Id.
Ex. 1 (State Ct. Docs 7-10), ECF No. 1-1.) Additionally,
Smith filed a claim of discrimination with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), which
was dismissed on the basis that no violations of statutes had
occurred. (Id. Ex. 1, (State Ct. Docs 6), ECF No.
15, 2016, Smith filed the instant case in the
Magistrate's Court of Greenwood County, South Carolina
asserting “Civil Rights - Title VII.”
(Id. Ex. 1 (State Ct. Docs. 4), ECF No. 1-1.) The
complaint does not contain any specific allegations but
attaches several documents, including the Dismissal and
Notice of Rights issued by the EEOC, documents relating to
his claim for unemployment benefits, and various personnel
file documents relating to him. (Id. Ex. 1 (State
Ct. Docs, generally), ECF No. 1-1.) Smith seeks $7, 500 for
“slander and pain and suffering” and $80 for
court costs. (Notice of Removal Ex. 1 (State Ct. Docs. 4),
ECF No. 1-1.) On August 19, 2016, Hozey removed the case to
federal court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1331. On August 22, 2016, Hozey
filed the instant motion to dismiss. (Mot. Dismiss, ECF No.
6.) Smith responded on October 6, 2016. (Resp. Opp'n Mot.
Dismiss, ECF No. 18.) On October 14, 2016, Hozey replied.
(Reply, ECF No. 20.) Magistrate Judge Austin issued her
Report and Recommendation on October 18, 2016, recommending
that Hozey's motion to dismiss be granted with respect to
the Title VII claim and that Smith's remaining slander
claim be remanded to state court. (R&R, ECF No. 23.)
Hozie filed objections on November 3, 2016. (Def. Objs., ECF
No. 27.) Smith filed objections on November 7, 2016. (Pl.
Objs., ECF No. 28). This matter is now ripe for review.
Report and Recommendation
Judge Austin recommends granting Hozey's motion to
dismiss Smith's Title VII claim because it seeks to hold
Hozey individually liable, which is prohibited by Title VII.
(R&R 4, ECF No. 23.) Magistrate Judge Austin also
recommends the court decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over Smith's slander claim and remand it to
the state court where Smith originally filed this case.
(Id. at 4-5, ECF No. 23.)
to the Report and Recommendation must be specific. Failure to
file specific objections constitutes a waiver of a
party's right to further judicial review, including
appellate review, if the recommendation is accepted by the
district judge. See United States v. Schronce, 727
F.2d 91, 94 & n.4 (4th Cir. 1984). In the absence of
specific objections to the Report and Recommendation of the
magistrate judge, this court is not required to give any
explanation for adopting the recommendation. See Camby v.
Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983). Hozey
specifically objects that the magistrate judge erred by
recommending that the court not retain supplemental
jurisdiction over Smith's slander claim. (Def. Objs. 2-5,
ECF No. 27.) Hozey argues that the factors the court must
consider support the exercise of supplemental jurisdiction.
(Id., ECF No. 27.) Hozey further objects that the
slander claim should be dismissed. (Id., ECF No.
27.) Hozey argues that the complaint fails to state a claim
with the required degree of specificity. (Id., ECF
No. 27.) Smith also filed objections. Upon review, the court
finds that Smith's objections are non-specific, unrelated
to the dispositive portions of the magistrate judge's
Report and Recommendation, or merely restate his claims.
Thus, the court adopts the magistrate judge's
recommendation to dismiss the Title VII claim.
objects that the magistrate judge erred by not recommending
that the court retain supplemental jurisdiction and dismiss
Smith's slander claim. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1367(c)(3), the district court may decline to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction if “the district court has
dismissed all claims over which it has original
jurisdiction.” “[U]nder the authority of 28
U.S.C. § 1367(c), authorizing a federal court to decline
to exercise supplemental jurisdiction, a district court has
inherent power to dismiss the case or, in cases removed from
State court, to remand, provided the conditions set forth in
§ 1367(c) for declining to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction have been met.” Hinson v. Norwest Fin.
S.C., Inc., 239 F.3d 611, 617 (4th Cir. 2001). Because
dismissing the Title VII claim removes the sole federal claim
and basis for original jurisdiction, the court finds that
remand of the slander claim is warranted. See United Mine
Workers of America v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 726 (1966)
(“Needless decisions of state law should be avoided
both as a matter of comity and to promote justice between the
parties . . . . Certainly, if the federal claims are
dismissed before trial, even though not insubstantial in a
jurisdictional sense, the state claims should be dismissed as
well.”). Based on the foregoing, the court declines to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state
that Hozey's motion to dismiss, docket number 6, is
granted with respect to the Title VII claim. It is further
that the Clerk of Court remand the remaining slander claim to
the Magistrate's ...