United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
F. Anderson, Jr. United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendant Hammond School's
(“Defendant” or “Hammond”) Partial
Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 5). Plaintiff June Kerr
(“Plaintiff” or “Kerr”) brought this
action, alleging violations of the Equal Pay Act, negligence,
and breach of contract. (ECF No. 1). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 626(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2), this matter
was referred to a Magistrate Judge for review.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Plaintiff served as the Director of Operations and Human
Resources for Defendant for the 2016-2017 school year until
her termination on May 16, 2017. (ECF No. 24 p. 1). Plaintiff
filed a complaint on October 27, 2017, alleging breach of
contract, negligence and a violation of the Equal Pay Act.
Id. On November 16, 2017, Defendant filed a Partial
Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. (ECF No. 5). On November 30, 2017,
Plaintiff responded to the Defendant's Motion (ECF No.
11), and Plaintiff filed a reply on December 7, 2017 (ECF No.
reviewing the pleadings, the Magistrate Judge assigned to
this actionprepared a thorough Report and
Recommendation (“Report”) on February 22, 2018.
(ECF No. 23). The Magistrate opines that Defendant's
Partial Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 5) should be granted. (ECF
No. 23). The Report sets forth, in detail, the relevant facts
and standards of law on this matter, and this Court
incorporates those facts and standards without a recitation.
Plaintiff filed objections to the Report on March 8, 2018.
(ECF No. 24). Therefore, this matter is ripe for review.
district court is only required to conduct a de novo
review of the specific portions of the Magistrate Judge's
Report to which an objection is made. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b); Carniewski v. W.
Virginia Bd. of Prob. & Parole, 974 F.2d 1330 (4th
Cir. 1992). In the absence of specific objections to portions
of the Magistrate's Report, this Court is not required to
give an explanation for adopting the recommendation. See
Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983). Thus,
the Court must only review those portions of the Report to
which Plaintiff has made a specific written objection.
Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416
F.3d 310, 316 (4th Cir. 2005).
objection is specific if it ‘enables the district judge
to focus attention on those issues-factual and legal-that are
at the heart of the parties' dispute.'”
Dunlap v. TM Trucking of the Carolinas, LLC, No.,
2017 WL 6345402, at *5 n.6 (D.S.C. Dec. 12, 2017) (citing
One Parcel of Real Prop. Known As 2121 E. 30th St.,
73 F.3d 1057, 1059 (10th Cir. 1996)). A specific objection to
the Magistrate's Report thus requires more than a
reassertion of arguments from the Complaint or a mere
citation to legal authorities. See Workman v. Perry,
No. 6:17-cv-00765-RBH, 2017 WL 4791150, at *1 (D.S.C. Oct.
23, 2017). A specific objection must “direct the court
to a specific error in the magistrate's proposed findings
and recommendations.” Orpiano v. Johnson, 687
F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982).
stated, nonspecific objections have the same effect as would
a failure to object.” Staley v. Norton, No.
9:07-0288-PMD, 2007 WL 821181, at *1 (D.S.C. Mar. 2, 2007)
(citing Howard v. Secretary of Health and Human
Services, 932 F.2d 505, 509 (6th Cir.1991)). The Court
reviews portions “not objected to-including those
portions to which only ‘general and conclusory'
objections have been made-for clear error.”
Id. (citing Diamond, 416 F.3d at 315;
Camby, 718 F.2d at 200; Orpiano, 687 F.2d
at 47) (emphasis added).
Plaintiff's first objection, she argues that her
“negligence claim, in so much as it concerns her
termination, falls outside of the exclusivity
provision” of the South Carolina Workers'
Compensation Act (the “Act”). (ECF No. 24 p. 3).
The Act provides the following:
Employee's rights and remedies under title exclude all
others against employer.
The rights and remedies granted by this title to an employee
when he and his employer have accepted the provisions of this
title, respectively, to pay and accept compensation on
account of personal injury or death by accident,
shall exclude all other rights and remedies of such
employee, his personal representative, parents, dependents or
next of kin as against his employer, at common law or
otherwise, on account of such injury, loss of service or
death. Provided, however, this limitation of actions shall
not apply to injuries resulting from acts of a subcontractor
of the employer or his employees or bar actions by an
employee of one subcontractor against another subcontractor
or his employees when both subcontractors are hired by a
S.C. Code Ann. § 42-1-540 (West 2018) (emphasis added).
Thus, if Plaintiff suffered a personal injury, she cannot
seek damages from her employer under the Act. The Act defines
“personal injury” in the following way:
(A) “Injury” and “personal injury”
mean only injury by accident arising out of and in the course
of employment and shall not include a disease in any form,
except when it results naturally and unavoidably from the
accident and except such diseases as are compensable under
the provisions of Chapter 11 of this title. In construing
this section, an accident arising out of and in the course of
employment includes employment of an employee of a
municipality outside the ...