United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
ORDER AND OPINION
RICHARD MARK GERGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation
of the Magistrate Judge, recommending that Defendants'
motion to dismiss be granted in part and denied in part. For
the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts the Report and
alleges she is a current employee at the Medical University
of South Carolina ("MUSC"), where she has been
employed since 1988. She alleges that she has epilepsy. In
2015, Plaintiffs epilepsy allegedly forced her to take leaves
of absence under the Family Medical Leave Act
("FMLA"). Plaintiff alleges that MUSC employees
Christine Cooley (Plaintiffs supervisor) and Megan
Shiverdecker thereafter retaliated against her with various
forms of harassment, and that she sought assistance from MUSC
human resources but received no assistance.
January 5, 2017, Plaintiff filed the present action asserting
FMLA interference and retaliation claims under the
"self-care" provisions of the FMLA, 29 U.S.C.
§ 2612(a)(1)(D), and state-law defamation claims.
Plaintiff seeks monetary damages from all Defendants,
declaratory relief, and attorney's fees. Plaintiffs
prayer for relief does not specifically seek injunctive
relief, but Plaintiff prays for general relief and she states
that she seeks injunctive relief in the complaint's
introductory paragraph. Defendants moved to dismiss, and on
July 19, 2017, the Magistrate Judge recommended granting in
part and denying in part the motion to dismiss. (Dkt. No.
13.) No party filed objections to the Report and
Report and Recommendation
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).
Motion to Dismiss Under Rule 12(b)(1)
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
Motion to Dismiss Under Rule 12(b)(6)
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.
survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must state
"enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." BellAtl. 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.