United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Beaufort Division
C. NORTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on United States Magistrate Judge
Marchant Bristow's report and recommendation
("R&R"), ECF No. 30, that the court deny
defendant NHC Healthcare/Bluffton, LLC's
("NHC") motion for summary judgment, ECF No. 21.
For the reasons set forth below, the court adopts the R&R
and denies NHC's motion for summary judgment.
case arises out of the alleged sexual harassment and
retaliation of plaintiff Tyrone Williams
("Williams") while employed as a sous chef by NHC,
a long-term care facility. R&R 2. Specifically, Williams
contends that another employee sexually harassed him on
multiple occasions, NHC knew about and failed to remedy the
harassment, and as a result of his complaints of the
harassment to supervisors, he was terminated. The R&R
ably recites the detailed facts of the case, and because it
is unnecessary to recapitulate the complaint, pleadings,
depositions, and exhibits constituting the factual record,
this order dispenses with a recitation thereof. Like the
R&R, the court construes the facts in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party in considering the motion
for summary judgment.
brings two causes of action for sexual harassment/hostile
work environment and retaliation in violation of Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-2000e-17. Compl. 5-7. On August 14, 2017, NHC filed the
instant motion for summary judgment as to both causes of
action. On September 26, 2017, Williams filed a response in
opposition, ECF No. 24, and on October 17, 2017, NHC filed a
reply thereto, ECF No. 28.
December 14, 2017, the magistrate judge issued the R&R,
recommending that the court deny NHC's motion for summary
judgment, allowing Williams's" claims to proceed to
trial. The R&R specifically advised the parties of the
procedure for filing objections thereto and the consequences
if they failed to do so. R&R 25-26. On December 28, 2017,
NHC timely filed objections to the R&R, ECF No. 31, and
on January 11, 2018, Williams filed a reply thereto, ECF No.
32. The matter is now ripe for the court's review.
STANDARDS OF REVIEW
magistrate judge makes only a recommendation to the court.
Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270 (1976). The
recommendation carries no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
court. Id. at 270-71. The court may "accept,
reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations made by the magistrate judge ... or recommit
the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions."
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The court is charged with making
a de novo determination of any portion of the
R&R to which a specific objection is made. Id.
However, in the absence of a timely filed, specific
objection, the court reviews the R&R only for clear
error. Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins.
Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (citation
omitted). Furthermore, "[a] party's general
objections are not sufficient to challenge a magistrate
judge's findings." Greene v. Quest Diagnostics
Clinical Labs., Inc., 455 F.Supp.2d 483, 488 (D.S.C.
2006) (citation omitted). When a party's objections are
directed to strictly legal issues "and no factual issues
are challenged, de novo review of the record may be dispensed
with:" Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th
Cir. 1982) (citation omitted). Analogously, de novo
review is unnecessary when a party makes general and
conclusory objections without directing a court's
attention to a specific error in the magistrate judge's
proposed findings. Id., Finally, the failure to file
specific, written objections to the R&R results in a
party's waiver of the right to appeal from the judgment
of the district court based upon such recommendation.
United States v. Schronce, 727 F.2d 91, 94 (4th Cir.
judgment is appropriate "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). A genuine issue of material fact exists
if the evidence presented could lead a reasonable fact finder
to return a verdict in favor of the non-moving party.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.. 477 U.S. 242, 255
(1986). The court must view all facts and draw all reasonable
inferences from the evidence before it in a light most
favorable to the non-moving party. Id. The party
moving for summary judgment "bears the initial burden of
pointing to the absence of a genuine issue of material
fact." Temkin v. Frederick Cty, Comm'rs,
945 F.2d 716, 718 (4th Cir. 1991) (citing Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986)). If the movant
carries this burden, then the burden "shifts to the
non-moving party to come forward with facts sufficient to
create a triable issue of fact." Id. at 718-19
(citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48). "A mere
scintilla of evidence supporting the [non-moving party's]
case is insufficient" to defeat a motion for summary
judgment. Shaw v. Stroud, 13 F.3d 791, 798 (4th Cir.
1994); see also Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256 (noting
that a non-moving party "may not rest upon the mere
allegations or denials of his pleading, but. .. must set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue