United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
C. NORTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on United States Magistrate Judge
Kevin F. McDonald's report and recommendation
(“R&R”), ECF No. 63, that the court grant the
motion to dismiss of third-party defendant U.S. Department of
the Navy (“Navy”), ECF No. 40, and grant the
motion for summary judgment of defendant and third-party
plaintiff The OMO Group (“OMO”), ECF No. 44. For
the reasons sets forth below, the court adopts the R&R,
granting the Navy's motion to dismiss and granting
OMO's motion for summary judgment. Additionally, the
court adopts those portions of the R&R which are not
inconsistent with this Order.
R&R ably recites the relevant facts, and it is
unnecessary to review the details of the complaint and
depositions that constitute the factual record to this point.
In short, Rose Brown (“Brown”), an
African-American female, began working in January 30, 2012 as
a dental hygienist for OMO, a federal contractor that
provides dental workers for the Navy's dental clinic at
Parris Island in Beaufort, South Carolina. During Brown's
pregnancy, she was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance and
had emergency surgery to remove cysts on her ovaries, losing
an ovary in the process. ECF No. 66, Ex. 4. She was later
ordered to bedrest for the remainder of her pregnancy due to
preeclampsia and gestational hypertension. ECF No. 66, Ex. 4
filed a complaint against OMO on July 15, 2014, alleging
pregnancy, race, and sex discrimination in violation of
the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title
VII”), as amended, along with a state law claim for
breach of contract. ECF No. 1. On January 16, 2015, OMO filed
an amended answer and third-party complaint alleging causes
of action for breach of contract and for indemnity against
the Navy. ECF No. 18. The Navy filed a motion to dismiss for
lack of jurisdiction on May 24, 2016, arguing that contract
claims in excess of $10, 000 can only be heard in the Court
of Federal Claims under the Tucker Act. ECF No. 40 at 2.
case is now before the court on the magistrate judge's
R&R, which recommends that the court: (1) grant the
Navy's motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction, and (2) grant OMO's motion for summary
judgment. ECF No. 63 at 16. Brown filed timely objections to
the R&R, ECF No. 65, and OMO filed a response, ECF No.
67. The Navy also filed a response, ECF No. 66. The matter is
now ripe for the court's review.
STANDARDS OF REVIEW
court is charged with conducting a de novo review of
any portion of the magistrate judge's report to which
specific, written objections are made, and may accept,
reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendations
contained in that report. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The
magistrate judge's recommendation does not carry
presumptive weight, and it is the responsibility of this
court to make a final determination. Mathews v.
Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). A party's
failure to object may be treated as agreement with the
conclusions of the magistrate judge. See Thomas v.
Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985).
judgment shall be granted “if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “Only disputes over facts that
might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law
will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). “[S]ummary judgment will not lie if the dispute
about a material fact is ‘genuine, ' that is, if
the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.
“[A]t the summary judgment stage the judge's
function is not himself to weigh the evidence and determine
the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a
genuine issue for trial.” Id. at 249. The
court should view the evidence in the light most favorable to
the nonmoving party and draw all justifiable inferences in
its favor. Id. at 255.
party seeking summary judgment shoulders the initial burden
of demonstrating to the district court that there is no
genuine issue of material fact.” Major v.
Greenville Hous. Auth., No. 6:12-cv-183, 2012 WL
3000680, at *1 (D.S.C. Apr. 11, 2012). Nevertheless,
“when a properly supported motion for summary judgment
is made, the adverse party ‘must set forth specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.'” Id. (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)).
The plain language of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c)
“mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate
time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails
to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an
element essential to that party's case, and on which that
party will bear the burden of proof at trial.”
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
“[C]onclusory allegations or denials, without more, are
insufficient to preclude the granting of the summary judgment
motion.” Major, 2012 WL 2000680, at *1.
R&R found that Brown's employment discrimination
claim fails because OMO's perception that it was being
pressured by the Navy to terminate Brown's employment was
a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for her termination.
ECF No. 63 at 14. All of Brown's objections go to the
R&R's recommendation that the court grant OMO's
motion for summary judgment as to the employment
discrimination claim-she makes no objections to the
R&R's recommendation that the court grant summary
judgment on either claim. In the absence of a timely filed
objection, a district court need “only satisfy itself
that there is no clear error on the face of the record in
order to accept the recommendation.” Diamond v.
Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315
(4th Cir. 2005) (internal citations omitted). Upon review,
the court is satisfied that there is no clear error in the
magistrate judge's determination of the breach of
contract claim and adopts the R&R's reasoning as to
the breach of contract claim.
were also no objections filed against the magistrate
judge's recommendation that the court grant the
Navy's motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. Having carefully reviewed the Magistrate
Judge's detailed R&R, relevant case law, and the
relevant portions of the record, the court is satisfied that