United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
Bryan Harwell United States District Judge
case arises out of alleged violations of the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 29 U.S.C.
§§ 621-634, (the “ADEA”) and South
Carolina state law. This matter is before the Court on the
Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) of United
States Magistrate Judge Thomas E. Rogers, III. [ECF No. 100].
The Magistrate Judge recommends the Court grant Defendants
S.C. Department of Social Services (“SCDSS”) and
Reese Palmer's motion for summary judgment [ECF No. 68],
dismiss Plaintiff Clara Lewis Brockington's ADEA claim,
and decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
Plaintiff's state law claims. R&R at 13.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the Court.
The Magistrate Judge's recommendation has no presumptive
weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination
remains with the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S.
261, 270-71 (1976). The Court must conduct a de novo
review of those portions of the R&R to which specific
objections are 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. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). However, the
Court need not conduct a de novo review of
“general and conclusory objections that do not direct
the [C]ourt to a specific error in the [M]agistrate
[Judge]'s proposed findings and recommendations.”
Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982).
Also, objections that merely rehash arguments previously
raised and considered by the Magistrate Judge are
insufficient to direct the Court to a specific error.
Weber v. Aiken-Partain, C/A No. 8:11-cv-02423-GRA,
2012 WL 489148, at *2 (D.S.C. Feb. 15, 2012). In the absence
of specific objections to the R&R, the Court reviews only
for clear error, Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident
Insurance Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005), and
the Court need not give any explanation for adopting the
Magistrate Judge's recommendation. Camby v.
Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199-200 (4th Cir. 1983). “A
finding is ‘clearly erroneous' when although there
is evidence to support it, the reviewing court is left with
the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been
committed.” United States v. U.S. Gypsum Co.,
333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948).
brings this action pro se, alleging she was
wrongfully terminated from employment at SCDSS because of her
age. Am. Compl. at 1. She also alleges that when she left
work, she fell in SCDSS's parking lot, injuring herself.
Id. She further alleges that SCDSS wrongfully
refused to provide her workers' compensation benefits for
the injury. Id. at 2.
15, 2018, Defendants filed the instant motion for summary
judgment, claiming that Plaintiff's employment was
terminated because she failed to pass her basic certification
test twice and she has failed to produce evidence showing
that her termination was due to her age. [ECF No. 68]. On or
about June 4, 2018, Plaintiff filed a response in opposition
thereto. [ECF No. 80]. On February 13, 2019, the Magistrate
Judge issued the R&R, recommending the Court grant
Defendants' motion for summary judgment, dismiss the ADEA
claim, and decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
any state law claim. R&R at 13. The R&R notes that
Plaintiff's response fails to meaningfully respond to the
motion for summary judgment, raising for the first time an
untimely claim that she could not respond to the motion due
to insufficient discovery responses. R&R at 1-2.
Accordingly, the Magistrate Judge issued an order noting that
Plaintiff failed to point to any specific discovery she
requested and did not receive, providing a ten-day extension
to respond to the motion for summary judgment. [See
ECF No. 93 at 2-3]. On the day Plaintiff's response was
due, she filed a motion for extension of time to respond,
which the Magistrate Judge denied but gave leave to file any
response as part of her objections to the R&R.
[See ECF No. 99]. The Magistrate Judge specifically
advised the parties of the procedure for filing objections to
the R&R and the consequences if they failed to do so.
R&R at 13; Notice of Right to File Objs. [ECF No. 100-1].
about February 28, 2019, Plaintiff timely filed
objections to the R&R. [ECF No. 102]. In her
objections, Plaintiff: (1) objects to the R&R “in
its entirety[, ]” Objs. at 4; (2) rehashes her argument
that she cannot respond to the motion for summary judgment
because she did not receive discovery in a timely manner,
id. at 1; (3) objects to the R&R “due to
the . . . references to documents, emails, conversations,
etc., that . . . Plaintiff has never seen, received, [or]
discussed[, ]” id. at 3; (4) moves “to
deny Defendants [R&R] due to their habitual untruth,
knowingly violation of the University of South Carolina and
DSS Policies and Procedures, using non-qualified and
uncertified trainers to teach Child Welfare Certification
Classes[, ]” id. at 4; (5) asks the Court to
“note that Defendants reference numerous documents from
Elmore and other DSS staffs that are not ATTACHED to their
Report and Recommendation, which does not allow [Plaintiff]
to respond properly and professional[ly] to their report[,
]” id. at 5; (6) states she cannot
“respond to the [R&R] adequately and
professionally, due to insufficient evidence and documents
that were NOT provided by the Defendants which were mentioned
in their [R&R][, ]” id. at 6; (7) has
“no knowledge of any documents . . . in the [R&R]
to establish a prima facie case of discrimination[, ]”
id. at 7; and (8) asks “the record to reflect
Defendants have made [an] accusation that [her] State Law
Claim was filed for Defamation[, ]” and requests the
Court “to ask Defendants' Counsel to refrain from
making accusations that he does not see in the record to
avoid further actions.” Id. at 10.
with respect to the Magistrate Judge's order giving
Plaintiff leave to file any response in opposition to summary
judgment in her objections, Plaintiff fails to offer evidence
supporting her opposition to summary judgment, relying on
mere allegations. See, e.g., Objs. at 5-6
(“Summary judgment is NOT proper because . . .
Plaintiff cannot dispute the material facts and establish an
essential element of any cause of action[, ] . . . Plaintiff
will be able to bear the burden of coming forward with
specific facts which will show a genuine dispute for trial[,
] [and] ha[s] facts and inferences, as well as new hires from
DSS, physicians, therapists, family members, friends,
neighbors, etc., to testify so that [Plaintiff] won't
have to rely on beliefs, conjecture, speculation or
with one exception, Plaintiff's objections either merely
rehash arguments previously raised to and considered by the
Magistrate Judge or fail to point the Court to a specific
error. In the absence of specific objections, the Court
reviews only for clear error. Having reviewed the general
objections and R&R, the Court discerns no clear error.
However, the Court corrects one harmless mistake on the
R&R noted by Plaintiff.
R&R recommends the Court “decline to retain
supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law
claim for defamation.” R&R at 13. A review of the
amended complaint indicates there is no claim for defamation.
[See ECF No. 32]. Even if there was, the Court would
decline supplemental jurisdiction. The R&R correctly
notes that the amended complaint seeks damages for a personal
injury resulting from Plaintiff's fall and
Defendants' alleged wrongful denial of workers'
compensation benefits, recommending the Court decline to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over those state law
claims. R&R at 12-13. The Court agrees and dismisses
Plaintiff's state law claims without prejudice. See
Crotty v. Windjammer Vill. of Little River, South