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Sibert v. Raycom Media, Inc.

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

April 19, 2018

William D. Sibert, Plaintiff,
v.
Raycom Media, Inc., Adam Cannavo, and Lyle Schulze, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          CAMERON MCGOWAN CURRIE, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Through this action, William D. Sibert (“Sibert”) seeks recovery for events relating to his employment with WIS-TV, an entity owned by Defendant Raycom Media, Inc. (“Raycom”). Sibert asserts statutory discrimination claims against Raycom under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. (“ADA”) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621, et seq. (“ADEA”). He asserts a state common law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”) against Defendants Adam Cannavo (“Cannavo”) and Lyle Schulze (“Schulze”).

         The matter is before the court on motion of all Defendants for dismissal of all claims. For reasons set forth below, the motion is granted as to the IIED claim and denied as to the ADA and ADEA claims. In light of this ruling, Defendants Cannavo and Schulze are dismissed from this action.

         Report and Recommendation

         In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02 (B)(2), D.S.C., this matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Kaymani D. West for pre-trial proceedings and a Report and Recommendation (“Report”) on any dispositive motions. On March 19, 2018, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report recommending Defendants' motion to dismiss be granted as to the IIED claim and denied as to the ADA and ADEA claims. ECF No. 15.

         The recommended dismissal of the IIED claim relied on a single ground: Sibert's failure to allege facts sufficient to support all elements of this claim. Id. at 21; see also Id. at 18 (“assuming without deciding that the [South Carolina Workers Compensation Act's (“SCWCA”)] exclusivity provision would not bar Plaintiff from pursuing his IIED claim against Cannavo and Schulze”). In support of this recommendation, the Report addresses additional allegations included in Sibert's present Complaint that were not included in his Complaint in an earlier action asserting a similar claim against Raycom, Cannovo, and Schulze, which was dismissed for failure to state a claim.[1]

         The Magistrate Judge advised the parties of their right to object to the Report and the time within which objections must be filed. Only Plaintiff filed objections, challenging dismissal of his IIED claim. ECF No. 17. Defendants filed a memorandum in opposition to Plaintiff's objections. ECF No. 19.

         STANDARD

         The 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 the court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976). The court is charged with making a de novo determination of any portion of the Report to which a specific objection is made. The court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). In the absence of a specific objection, the court reviews only for clear error. See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (“in the absence of a timely filed objection, 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.'”) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee's note)).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Recommended denial of motion to dismiss ADA and ADEA claims

         Because there is no objection, the court has reviewed the recommended denial of the motion to dismiss the ADA and ADEA claims for clear error. Finding none, the court adopts both the reasoning and recommendation of this aspect of the Report.

         II. Recommended grant of motion to dismiss IIED claim

         Through his objections, Sibert argues the Report errs in recommending dismissal of his IIED claim. In doing so, he misreads the Report to recommend dismissal based both on application of the SCWCA's exclusivity bar and based on a failure to allege facts sufficient to support all elements of an IIED claim. The Report relies only on the ...


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