United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston 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. 29, that the court grant in
part and deny in part defendant SERCO, Inc.'s motion for
summary judgment, ECF No. 26, granting it with respect to
plaintiff Marcius Varner's first and second causes of
action and denying it as to his third cause of action. The
R&R further recommends that the court: (1) dismiss the
first and second causes of action with prejudice; and (2)
decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the third
cause of action and dismiss it without prejudice in order to
allow plaintiff to pursue this claim in state court.
reasons set forth below, the court adopts in part and rejects
in part the R&R: (1) adopting its recommendation to grant
summary judgment on the first and second causes of action and
dismiss those claims with prejudice; (2) adopting its
recommendation to deny summary judgment on the third cause of
action; but (3) rejecting its recommendation to decline
supplemental jurisdiction and dismiss without prejudice the
third cause of action. Accordingly, the court grants in part
and denies in part defendant's motion for summary
judgment, ECF No. 26, dismissing the first and second causes
of action with prejudice.
case arises out of the alleged discrimination and retaliation
against plaintiff while employed as a warehouse associate by
defendant. R&R 2. Specifically, plaintiff alleges that
defendant: (1) discriminated against him on the basis of his
disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities
Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12213,
("ADA"); (2) violated his rights under the Family
Medical Leave Act of 1993, 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2654,
("FMLA"); and (3) retaliated against him for filing
a workers' compensation claim in violation of S.C. Code
§ 42-1-80. Compl. ¶¶ 43-65. The R&R
details the salient facts of the case, and because it is
unnecessary to recapitulate the pleadings 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.
initiated this action in federal court on June 29, 2016. ECF
No. 1. Per the court's scheduling order, the deadline for
discovery expired on April 7, 2017. ECF No. 15. On July 14,
2017, defendant filed the instant motion for summary judgment
as to all causes of action. On August 11, 2017, plaintiff
filed a response in opposition, ECF No. 27, and on August 18,
2017, defendant filed a reply thereto, ECF No. 28.
October 27, 2017, the magistrate judge issued the R&R,
recommending that the court grant in part and deny in part
defendant's motion for summary judgment, granting it as
to the federal causes of action, denying it as to the state
law cause of action, but further recommending refusal to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the latter.
R&R specifically advised the parties of the procedure for
filing objections thereto and the consequences if they failed
to do so. R&R 31-32. On November 22, 2017, after
receiving an extension, both parties timely filed objections
to the R&R, ECF Nos. 32, 33, and on December 6, 2017,
both parties filed replies, ECF Nos. 34, 35. 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.