United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
ORDER AND OPINION
RICHARD MARK GERGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation
("R & R") of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 35)
recommending that the Court grant Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 28). Plaintiff filed objections to
the R & R. (Dkt. Nos. 39.) For the reasons set forth
below, the Court adopts the R & R as the order of the
Herman Lawrence is an African-American man and was hired as a
temporary worker by Defendant Hitrak Staffing, Inc.
("Hitrak"), a staffing agency, to work for
Defendant Detyens Shipyards, Inc. ("Detyens") in
January 2014. Temporary assignments generally last no longer
than ninety days, yet after ninety days he had not been hired
as a Detyens employee. (Dkt. No. 30.) Plaintiff alleges that
this was based on his race. (Dkt. No. 30-4 at 237 - 239.)
Plaintiff also alleges he complained to a supervisor, Larry
Reynolds, that the only reason he was not hired was because
of his "skin tone." (Dkt. No. 28-4 at 194: 15 -
25.) Plaintiff was hired as a Detyens employee on August 4,
2014. (Dkt. No. 28-3 at 13 - 14.)
Plaintiff was hired, Jim Youker, the Human Resources
Director, received three Complaints within a six month period
regarding inappropriate behavior by Plaintiff. In the first,
on April 23, 2015, a painter complained that Plaintiff
"yell[ed] at him," "us[ed] bad language"
and kicked a bucket which got chemicals all over the painter.
(Dkt. No. 28-3 at 16 - 17.) Plaintiff received a verbal
warning. The second complaint, on June 22, 2015, from a
subordinate, alleged that the Plaintiff had "started
cussing" at him, called the employee the
"[n-word]" and told the employee that he is
"going to make me F- him up." (Dkt. No. 28-3 at 18
- 20.) Youker interviewed two employee witnesses about the
complaint. (Id.) Plaintiff acknowledged having a
"verbal confrontation." (Dkt. No. 28-4 at 18: 5-7.)
Plaintiff was suspended for three days. (Dkt. No. 28-3 at
20.) Finally, on October 22, 2015, a third employee
complained that Plaintiff had hit him in the face and knocked
him backwards onto the floor after getting into a verbal
confrontation. (Dkt. No. 28-3 at 21.) Three witnesses
confirmed that there was a verbal confrontation and that the
Plaintiff shoved another employee. (Id. at 21 - 24.)
Plaintiff was terminated on October 23, 2015. (Id. at 21
- 25.) Plaintiff further alleges that while he was
employed, he was subject to rumors that he had murdered his
wife, who is white, and had been present for a
racially-charged joke made by a fellow employee regarding a
"hanging tree." (Dkt. No. 30-1 at 10.)
brought claims that he was terminated for discriminatory and
retaliatory reasons, and was subject to a hostile work
environment. (Dkt. No. 1-1.) Defendants moved for
summary judgment, and Plaintiff opposed. (Dkt. Nos. 28, 30.)
The Magistrate Judge recommended granting summary judgment.
(Dkt. No. 35.)
prevail on a motion for summary judgment, the movant must
demonstrate that there is no genuine issue of any material
fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The party seeking summary
judgment has the burden of identifying the portions of the
"pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, any
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
which show there is no genuine issue as to any material fact
and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322 (1986). The Court will construe all inferences and
ambiguities against the movant and in favor of the non-moving
party. U.S. v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655
(1962). The existence of a mere scintilla of evidence in
support of the non-moving party's position is
insufficient to withstand a motion for summary judgment.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252
(1986). However, an issue of material fact is genuine if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict in favor of the non-movant. Id. at 257.
the moving party has carried its burden under Rule 56(c), its
opponent must do more than simply show that there is some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts."
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). "In the language of the Rule,
the nonmoving party must come forward with 'specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.'" Id. at 587. "Where the record
taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to
find for the non-moving party, there is no 'genuine issue
for trial.'" Id. (quoting First
Nat'l Bank of Ariz. v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S.
253, 289 (1968)).
Report and Recommendation
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
this Court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270
- 71 (1976). This Court is charged with making a de
novo determination of those portions of the Report and
Recommendation to which specific objection is made.
Additionally, the Court may "accept, reject, or modify,
in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by
the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). In
the absence of any specific objections, "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." See Diamond v. Colonial Life &
Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005).
Plaintiff filed objections and the R & R is reviewed
initial matter, Plaintiff concedes that summary judgment
should be granted on his claims against Hitrak. The Court