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Milford v. Middleton

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

January 10, 2018

Eugene Milford, Plaintiff,
v.
Alex Middleton, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER AND OPINION

          Richard Mark Gergel United States District Court Judge

         This matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendations of the Magistrate Judge, recommending that Defendants Alex Middleton and Charleston County School District's motion to dismiss, Alan Wilson, Dru James, Jim Griffith, and the South Carolina Department of Education's motion to dismiss, Defendant the U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina's motion to dismiss, Defendants Nancy McGinley, Gerrita Postlewait, Bobbie Grant, and Bill Briggman's motion to dismiss, and Defendants Walker Willcox and Katherine Ryan's motion for summary judgment be granted, and on Defendant Pamela Brock, Teresa A Knox, Noelle Redd, the South Carolina Board of Education, the South Carolina Department of Revenue, and James Turner's motion to dismiss and Defendants Holly Aguilar and Austin Harris's motion to dismiss. For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts the Report and Recommendations as the Orders of the Court and grants Defendants' motions to dismiss.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, has filed this action alleging causes of action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"), Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and possibly other federal statutes. (See Dkt. No. 83 (second amended complaint).) Plaintiff is an African-American male over 40 years of age. (Id. at 1.)

         Plaintiffs claims appear to relate to his attempts to gain employment as a teacher with the Charleston County School District ("CCSD"). Plaintiff makes additional allegations regarding his attempts to receive a teaching certificate, his past criminal proceedings, and the collection action for his student loan debt. This action was commenced on July 6, 2016, and all twenty Defendants have now filed motions to dismiss or for summary judgment. The Magistrate Judge has issued Report and Recommendations regarding Defendants Alex Middleton and the CCSD's motion to dismiss, Defendants Alan Wilson, Dru James, Jim Griffith, and the South Carolina Department of Education's motion to dismiss, Defendant the United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina's motion to dismiss, and Defendants Nancy McGinley, Gerrita Postlewait, Bobbie Grant, and Bill Briggman's motion to dismiss (Dkt. No. 145); Defendants Walker Willcox and Katherine Ryan's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 147); and Plaintiffs motion for injunctive relief, motion to vacate, and motion for relief from a judgment under Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Dkt. No. 151). Plaintiff has filed objections to the Report and Recommendations.

         No Report and Recommendation has been entered regarding Defendants Pamela Brock, Teresa A Knox, Noelle Redd, the South Carolina Board of Education, the South Carolina Department of Revenue, and James Turner's motion to dismiss or Defendants Holly Aguilar and Austin Harris's motion to dismiss, but those motions have been fully briefed following the issuance of Roseboro orders to Plaintiff.

         II. Legal Standard

         A. Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination remains with the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976). The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which specific objection is made. The Court may accept reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         When a proper objection is made to a particular issue, "a district court is required to consider all arguments directed to that issue, regardless of whether they were raised before the magistrate." United States v. George, 971 F.2d 1113, 1118 (4th Cir. 1992). However, "[f]he district court's decision whether to consider additional evidence is committed to its discretion, and any refusal will be reviewed for abuse." Doe v. Chao, 306 F.3d 170, 183 & n.9 (4th Cir. 2002). "[A]ttempts to introduce new evidence after the magistrate judge has acted are disfavored, " though the district court may allow it "when a party offers sufficient reasons for so doing." Caldwell v. Jackson, 831 F.Supp.2d 911, 914 (M.D. N.C. 2010) (listing cases).

         B. Motion to Dismiss

         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 Ail. 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.

         C. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is appropriate if a party "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). In other words, summary judgment should be granted "only when it is clear that there is no dispute concerning either the facts of the controversy or the inferences to be drawn from those facts." Pulliamln v. Co. v. Cameo Props., 810F.2d 1282, 1286 (4th Cir. 1987). "In determining whether a genuine issue has been raised, the court must construe all inferences and ambiguities in favor of the nonmoving party." HealthSouth Rehab. Hosp. v. Am. Nat'l Red Cross, 101 F.3d 1005, 1008 (4th Cir. 1996). The party seeking summary judgment shoulders the initial burden of demonstrating to the court that there is no genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323(1986).

         Once the moving party has made this threshold demonstration, the non-moving party, to survive the motion for summary judgment, may not rest on the allegations averred in his pleadings. Id. at 324. Rather, the non-moving party must demonstrate that specific, material facts exist that give rise to a genuine issue. Id. Under this standard, "[c]onclusory or speculative allegations do not suffice, nor does a 'mere scintilla of evidence'" in support of the non-moving party's case. Thompson v. Potomac Elec. Power Co., 312 F.3d 645, 649 (4th Cir. 2002) (quoting Phillips v. CSX Transp., Inc., 190 F.3d 285, 287 (4th Cir. 1999)).

         III. Discussion

         A. Motion to Dismiss by Alex Middleton and the Charleston ...


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