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Noisette v. Holy City Hospitality & Embassy Suites

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

August 2, 2017

Nikia Noisette, Plaintiff,
v.
Holy City Hospitality and Embassy Suites, (Hilton), Defendants.

          ORDER AND OPINION

          Richard Mark Gergel United States District Court Judge

         This matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge. For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts in part and declines to adopt in part the Report and Recommendation, grants Defendant Holy City Hospitality's motion to dismiss, grants Embassy Suites' motion to dismiss, and dismisses the complaint without prejudice.

         I. Background

          Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed the present action against Defendants Holy City Hospitality ("HCH") and Embassy Suites (Hilton) on August 12, 2016. Plaintiff alleges she lost her job because of sexual harassment, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and because she requested a Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") form, in violation of the FMLA. She further alleges that she was "denied unemployment benefits because of what the employer said, " she lost her apartment, and suffered "emotional and mental" trauma." (Dkt. No. 1 at 5.) She seeks $150, 000 in damages. (Id.) The complaint contains no further factual allegations.

         On December 22, 2016, HCH moved to dismiss. (Dkt. No. 18.) Plaintiff filed an opposition to HCH's motion on January 23, 2017. (Dkt. No. 22.) On March 30, 2017, Embassy Suites Management LLC, responding on behalf of "Embassy Suites (Hilton), " moved to dismiss. (Dkt. No. 24.) By order filed March 31, 2017, Plaintiff was advised of the possible consequences if she failed to respond to the motion by May 1, 2017. (Dkt. No. 27.) Plaintiff did not respond to the motion. On June 9, 2017, the Court extended the time to respond to June 29, 2017. (Dkt. No. 29.) Plaintiff still did not respond to Embassy Suites' motion. On July 13, 2017, the Magistrate Judge recommended that Plaintiffs sexual harassment claim be dismissed without prejudice and that the motions to dismiss be denied as to the FMLA claim. Defendants objected to the Report and Recommendation, but Plaintiff filed no objections. Plaintiff has not communicated with the Court since January 2017.

         II. Legal Standard

         A. Report and Recommendation

         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 Under Rule 12(b)(1)

         A motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction filed under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure challenges the jurisdiction of a court to adjudicate the matter before it. Arbaugh v. Y & H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006). A challenge to subject-matter jurisdiction may contend either 1) that the complaint fails to allege facts sufficient to establish subject matter jurisdiction or 2) "that the jurisdictional allegations of the complaint [are] not true." Adams v. Bain, 697 F.2d 1213, 1219 (4th Cir. 1982). Where the sufficiency of the jurisdictional allegations in the complaint is challenged facially, "the facts alleged in the complaint are taken as true, and the motion must be denied if the complaint alleges sufficient facts to invoke subject matter jurisdiction." Kerns v. United States, 585 F.3d 187, 192 (2009). If, however the defendant contends "that the jurisdictional allegations of the complaint [are] not true, " the plaintiff bears the burden to prove facts establishing jurisdiction and the district court may "decide disputed issues of fact." Id. In that case, because the plaintiffs allegations are not presumed true, "the court should resolve the relevant factual disputes only after appropriate discovery." 24th Senatorial Dist. Republican Comm. v. Alcorn, 820 F.3d 624, 629 (4th Cir. 2016). And where "the jurisdictional facts and the facts central to a tort claim are inextricably intertwined, " so that a challenge to the truth of the jurisdictional facts indirectly challenges the plaintiffs claims on the merits, "the trial court should ordinarily assume jurisdiction and proceed to the intertwined merits issues." Kerns, 585 F.3 at 193.

         C. Motion to Dismiss Under 12(b)(6)

         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 Atl. 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 ...


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