United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
ORDER ADOPTING THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION,
GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, AND
DISMISSING THE CASE
Geiger Lewis United States District Judge
case was brought alleging violations of Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964. All parties are represented by
counsel. The matter is before the Court for review of the
Report and Recommendation (Report) of the United States
Magistrate Judge suggesting Defendant Richland School
District One's (the District) motion for summary judgment
be granted and the case dismissed. The Report was made in
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Local Civil Rule
73.02 for the District of South Carolina.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The
responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270 (1976).
The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of
those portions of the Report to which specific objection is
made, and the Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole
or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge or
recommit the matter with instructions. 28 U.S.C. §
Magistrate Judge filed the Report on January 11, 2019, ECF
No. 37, and the Clerk of Court entered Plaintiff Percy
Burnell's (Burnell) objections to the Report on January
28, 2019, ECF No. 41. The Court has reviewed the objections,
but holds them to be without merit. Therefore, it will enter
Magistrate Judge suggested Burnell neglected to show he was
satisfactorily performing his job when the District
discharged him. The Magistrate Judge thus recommended Burnell
failed to present a prima facie case of Title VII
discrimination. Further, the Magistrate Judge advanced the
District's motion for summary judgment should be granted
because Burnell neglected to raise an inference his discharge
was due to religious discrimination, and failed to counter
the District's non-discriminatory reason for his
discharge. Burnell avers he supplied evidence via his
affidavit that: 1) he was satisfactorily performing his job
when the District discharged him; and 2) the District's
purported reason for discharging him was pretextual.
Title VII case based upon circumstantial evidence such as the
case at bar, the plaintiff proceeds under the burden-shifting
framework outlined in McDonnell Douglas Corp v.
Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973). Under that framework,
plaintiff must first make a prima facie showing of
discrimination by showing: 1) he was a member of a protected
class; 2) he was satisfactorily performing his job; 3) he
suffered an adverse employment action; and 4) he was treated
differently from similarly situated employees who were not
members of the class. Coleman v. Md. Ct. of App.,
626 F.3d 187, 190 (4th Cir. 2010). Once plaintiff makes the
initial showing, his employer must present a
non-discriminatory reason for the adverse employment action.
McDonnell Douglas Corp., 411 U.S. at 802. The burden
then shifts back to plaintiff to show his employer's
purportedly non-discriminatory reason is pretextual.
Id. at 804.
opposing a motion for summary judgment, a party must,
inter alia, point to evidence in the record,
including affidavits. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). However, a
self-serving affidavit is insufficient to withstand a motion
for summary judgment. See Nat'l Enters., Inc. v.
Barnes, 201 F.3d 331, 335 (4th Cir. 2000).
arguing he has shown he was satisfactorily performing his job
when the District discharged him, Burnell relies on his
affidavit. Through the affidavit, Burnell avers he was
adequately performing his job. The affidavit, however, is
self-serving, and thus insufficient to defeat a motion for
summary judgment. Further, it is the District's opinion
of Burnell's performance, not Burnell's opinion which
determines whether he was satisfactorily performing his job.
See DeJarnette v. Corning Inc., 133 F.3d 293, 299
(4th Cir. 1998). For those reasons, the Court will overrule
Burnell's objection regarding whether he was
satisfactorily performing his job.
Burnell has neglected to show he was satisfactorily
performing his job, he likewise fails to meet his burden to
present a prima facie case of Title VII
discrimination. Because the issue of satisfactory job
performance is sufficient to decide this case, the Court
declines to reach Burnell's remaining objections. See
Karsten v. Kaiser Found. Health Plan of Mid-Atl. States,
Inc., 36 F.3d 8, 11 (4th Cir. 1994) ("If the first
reason given is independently sufficient, then all those that
follow are surplusage; thus, the strength of the first makes
all the rest dicta.").
thorough review of the Report and the record in this case
pursuant to the standard set forth above, the Court overrules
Plaintiff's objections, adopts the Report, and
incorporates it herein. Therefore, it is the judgment of this
Court Defendant's motion for summary judgment is
GRANTED and this case is