United States District Court, D. South Carolina
C. COGGINS, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiff's Fifth Cause of Action. ECF No. 6.
Plaintiff filed a Response in Opposition, and Defendant filed
a Reply. ECF Nos. 9, 11. 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
Jacquelyn D. Austin for pre-trial proceedings and a Report
and Recommendation (AReport@). On August 20, 2018, the
Magistrate Judge issued a Report recommending that the Motion
be granted. ECF No. 17. Plaintiff filed objections to the
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
Court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976).
The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of
any portion of the Report of the Magistrate Judge to which a
specific objection is made. The Court may accept, reject, or
modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation made by the
Magistrate Judge or recommit the matter to the Magistrate
Judge with instructions. See 28 U.S.C. §
636(b). The Court will review the Report only for clear error
in the absence of an objection. See Diamond v. Colonial
Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th
Cir. 2005) (stating that Ain the absence of 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.@ (citation omitted)).
Fifth Cause of Action alleges Defendant violated the South
Carolina Payment of Wages Act (“Wages Act”), SC
Code Ann. § 41-10-10, et. seq. Defendant contends that
Plaintiff has failed to plausibly allege that she was not
paid her agreed-upon salary. The Wages Act creates a
“cause of action for an employee against an employer
for the employer's failure to pay wages as required by
the Act.” Meisner v. Zymogenetics, Inc., No.
3:12-cv-00684-CMC-PJG, 2014 WL 4721680, at *25 (D.S.C. Sept.
22, 2014) (citing S.C. Code Ann. § 41-10-80(c)). The
Wages Act defines “wages” as
all amounts at which labor rendered is recompensated, whether
the amount is fixed or ascertained on a time, task, piece, or
commission basis, or other method of calculating payments
which are due to an employee under any employer policy or
S.C. Code Ann. § 41-10-10(2) (emphasis added).
Magistrate Judge agreed that Plaintiff failed to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted. She provides a
thorough review of the facts and applicable law. The
Magistrate Judge determined that it was undisputed that
Plaintiff failed to allege that Defendant did not pay her in
accordance with the parties' agreement. The Magistrate
Judge further determined that Plaintiff's argument that
Defendant violated its own policy regarding the salary it
should have agreed to fails to account for the fact that the
amount of wages due in the context of the Wages Act must be
determined by reference to the agreement entered into by the
parties. The Magistrate Judge concluded that Plaintiff's
allegations fall outside the scope of the Wages Act.
objects to the Magistrate Judge's findings. She briefly
contends that she alleged that Defendant failed to pay
Plaintiff her agreed upon salary because Defendant
misclassified Plaintiff's years of experience to
calculate her starting salary. This argument was considered
by the Magistrate Judge.
Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge's conclusion that
Plaintiff's allegations fall outside the scope of the
Wages Act. See Meisner, 2014 WL 4721680, at *26
(stating that the Wages Act “creates a right to be paid
wages due based upon an employment contract”);
Baugh v. Columbia Heart Clinic, 738 S.E.2d 480, 495
(S.C. Ct. App. 2013) (holding that the amount of wages due to
the employees within the meaning of the Wages Act depended
upon the terms of the employees' contracts); Matthews
v. City of Greenwood, 407 S.E.2d 668, 670 (S.C. Ct. App.
1991) (holding that payments to which a plaintiff claimed
entitlement were “not ‘wages' within the
[meaning of the Wages Act]” because they were based on
statutory rights rather than a “contractual right
arising by agreement with his employer”).
requests that, in the event the Court agree with the
recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, the Court allow
Plaintiff an opportunity to amend her Complaint. The Court
finds that it would be futile to allow Plaintiff to amend her
Complaint with respect to the Wages Act.
the Court adopts and incorporates the Report of the
Magistrate Judge. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss  is
GRANTED and Plaintiff's Fifth Cause of
Action pursuant to the South Carolina Payment of Wages Act is
OF RIGHT TO APPEAL
parties are hereby notified of the right to appeal this order
pursuant to Rules 3 and 4 of the ...