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Glover v. United Parcel Service Inc.

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

March 29, 2017

William James Glover, Plaintiff,
v.
United Parcel Service, Inc., Defendant.

          ORDER

          Timothy M. Cain United States District Judge

         Plaintiff, William James Glover, filed this action alleging discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”); discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; violation of the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”); and state law claims for conversion, fraud and deceit, negligent misrepresentation, and ratification. (ECF No. 5 at 11-17). In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02, D.S.C., this matter was referred to a magistrate judge for pretrial handling. Before the court is the magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation (“Report”) (ECF No. 22), issued January 12, 2017, recommending that the court grant defendant United Parcel Service, Inc.'s (“UPS”) motion to dismiss as to Counts 1 and 2 (ADEA), Count 4 (Title VII retaliation), Count 5 (EPA), and Count 9 (ratification) of Glover's amended complaint (ECF No. 5) and deny it in all other respects. Further, the Report recommends that the court grant Glover's motion for leave to file a second amended complaint as to Count 1 (Title VII discrimination), Count 2 (Title VII failure to promote), Count 3 (Title VII disparate pay), Count 6 (conversion), Count 7 (fraud), and Count 8 (negligent misrepresentation) of Glover's proposed second amended complaint (ECF No. 15-1) and deny it as to Count 4 (Title VII retaliation) and Count 5 (Fair Pay Act) of Glover's proposed second amended complaint (ECF No. 15-1). (ECF No. 22). On January 26, 2017, UPS filed objections to the Report. (ECF No. 24). Glover did not file objections to the Report. On February 9, 2017, Glover filed a response to UPS's objections. (ECF No. 26).

         The recommendations set forth in the Report have no presumptive weight and the responsibility to make a final determination in this matter remains with this court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (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). However, the court need not conduct a de novo review when a party makes only “general and conclusory objections that do not direct the court to a specific error in the magistrate's proposed findings and recommendations.” Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). In the absence of a timely filed, specific objection, the magistrate judge's conclusions are reviewed only for clear error. See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005).

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         The magistrate judge summarized the facts of this action in his Report (ECF No. 22 at 1- 2). Briefly, in the amended complaint, Glover, a forty-six-year-old African American male, alleges that UPS, the company that employed him for approximately twenty-six years, discriminated against him based on his race. (ECF No. 5 at 3-8). He argues that he did the work of a full time Reload Supervisor from December 2002 to January 2015, but was paid differently and given disparate benefits from others performing the same work and that, in January 2015, a white co-worker was officially promoted to the full time Reload Supervisor position instead of Glover. Id. As noted above, Plaintiff seeks relief pursuant to the ADEA, Title VII, the EPA, and South Carolina state law. Id.

         Glover filed a complaint against UPS on June 16, 2015 (ECF No. 1) and amended his complaint as a matter of course on July 1, 2016 (ECF No. 5). On August 8, 2016, defendant UPS filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. (ECF No. 9). On September 23, 2016, Glover filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint and filed the proposed second amended complaint as an attachment. (ECF No. 15). On September 26, 2016, Glover filed his response in opposition to UPS's motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 16). UPS filed a reply on October 6, 2016. (ECF No. 18). Before the court are the magistrate judge's Report on UPS's motion to dismiss Glover's claims (ECF No. 9) and Glover's motion for leave to file a second amended complaint (ECF No. 15). On January 26, 2017, UPS filed objections to the Report. (ECF No. 24). On February 9, 2017, Glover filed a response to UPS's objections. (ECF No. 26).

         II. APPLICABLE LAW

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim should not be granted unless it appears certain that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts which would support her claim and entitle her to relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). When considering a motion to dismiss, the court should “accept as true all well-pleaded allegations and should view the complaint in a light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir.1993). However, the court “need not accept the legal conclusions drawn from the facts” nor “accept as true unwarranted inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments.” Eastern Shore Mkts., Inc. v. J.D. Assocs. Ltd. P'ship, 213 F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir.2000). A complaint “need only give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam) (citations omitted). While “a plaintiff is not required to plead facts that constitute a prima facie case in order to survive a motion to dismiss . . ., factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Coleman v. Md. Court of Appeals, 626 F.3d 187, 190 (4th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted).

         A plaintiff's complaint only needs to include “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “As the Supreme Court has recognized, specific facts are not necessary in a pleading, and a plaintiff need only give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Miller v. Carolinas Healthcare System, 561 Fed. App'x 239 (4th Cir. 2014) (unpublished) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). “In evaluating a civil rights complaint for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), ” the court must be “especially solicitous of the wrongs alleged. [The court] must not dismiss the complaint unless it appears to a certainty that the plaintiff would not be entitled to relief under any legal theory which might plausibly be suggested by the facts alleged.” Harrison v. U.S. Postal Serv., 840 F.2d 1149, 1152 (4th Cir. 1988) (internal citations omitted).

         III. DISCUSSION

         UPS contends that the magistrate judge erred by recommending that Glover be permitted to amend his complaint and by recommending that Counts 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, and 8 of Glover's proposed second amended complaint be permitted to proceed. UPS addressed each count in a separate objection.

         A. Discrimination under Title VII

         In its first objection, UPS refers to Count 3 in Glover's amended complaint and Count 1 in Glover's proposed second amended complaint and requests “that the District Court make a definitive ruling and dismiss any hostile work environment harassment claim that Mr. Glover may be asserting in this case.” (ECF No. 24 at 6).

         It appears to the court that Count 3 of Glover's amended complaint (and, correspondingly, Count 1 of Glover's proposed second amended complaint) is a generalized claim of race discrimination while count 4 of his amended complaint[2] and counts 2, 3, and 4 of his proposed second amended complaint[3] allege specific instances of race discrimination. (ECF No. 15-1 at 13-16). As stated by the magistrate judge, the United States Supreme Court has held “that an employment discrimination complaint need not include [specific facts establishing a prima facie case of discrimination under the McDonnell Douglas framework] and instead must contain only ‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.'” Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 508 (2002); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 8. Glover alleged that UPS discriminated against him on the basis of his race by treating a white, similarly situated co-worker more favorably than Glover under similar circumstances. The magistrate judge recommended the Title VII discrimination claim be allowed to proceed because Glover “has alleged enough facts in the amended complaint to state a race discrimination claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” (ECF No. 22 at 7). The court agrees with the magistrate judge's reasoning and finds that UPS's motion to dismiss the Title VII race discrimination claim (Claim 3 of the amended complaint) should be denied and Glover should be permitted to bring such a claim in a second amended complaint.

         UPS's objection notes that Glover's Title VII race discrimination claim contains mention of a “hostile work environment.” UPS requests for the court to dismiss any hostile work environment claim that Glover may be asserting in this case. However, the court declines to preemptively rule on a hostile work environment claim not explicitly made by Glover.

         B. Failure to ...


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