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Drake v. Science Applications International Corp.

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

April 11, 2019

ELLEN DRAKE, Plaintiff,



         This matter is before the court on United States Magistrate Judge Mary Gordon Baker's report and recommendation (“R&R”) that the court grant defendant Science Applications International Corporation's (“SAIC”) motion for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the court adopts the R&R and grants SAIC's motion for summary judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case arises out of SAIC's alleged discrimination against its former employee, plaintiff Ellen Drake (“Drake”). Drake brought claims against SAIC for sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), disability discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), hostile work environment based on sex and age in violation of Title VII and the ADEA, and retaliation in violation of Title VII and the ADEA. Despite Drake's objection to the R&R's recitation of the facts, the court finds that the R&R ably recites the detailed facts of the case, and because it is unnecessary to recapitulate the complaint, pleadings, depositions, and exhibits constituting the factual record, this order dispenses with a recitation thereof.

         Drake filed her initial complaint on October 3, 2017, ECF No. 1, and subsequently filed an amended complaint on December 7, 2017, ECF No. 14, and a second amended complaint on September 18, 2018, ECF No. 44. On November 20, 2018, SAIC filed its motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 52. Drake responded to the motion on December 17, 2018, ECF No. 59, and SAIC replied on December 27, 2018, ECF No. 61. On March 4, 2019, the magistrate judge issued the R&R, recommending that the court grant SAIC's motion for summary judgment as to all of Drake's claims. ECF No. 62. Drake filed objections to the R&R on March 18, 2019, ECF No. 63, and SAIC replied to Drake's objections on March 25, 2019, ECF No. 64. The matter is now ripe for the court's review.

         II. STANDARD

         A. R&R

         The magistrate judge makes only a recommendation to the court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270 (1976). The recommendation carries no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination remains with the court. Id. at 270-71. The court may “accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge . . . or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The court is charged with making a de novo determination of any portion of the R&R to which a specific objection is made. Id. However, de novo review is unnecessary when a party makes general and conclusory objections without directing a court's attention to a specific error in the magistrate judge's proposed findings. Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). In the absence of a specific objection, the court reviews the R&R only for clear error. Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (citation omitted). “A finding is ‘clearly erroneous' when although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the entire evidence 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).

         B. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment shall be granted if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). “By its very terms, this standard provides that the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). “Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.” Id. at 248. “[S]ummary judgment will not lie if the dispute about a material fact is ‘genuine,' that is, if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. “[A]t the summary judgment stage the judge's function is not himself to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial.” Id. at 249. The court should view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all inferences in its favor. Id. at 255.


         Drake first objects to the R&R's recitation of the facts in the factual background portion of the R&R, arguing that they are improperly presented in a light most favorable to SAIC. Drake then fills 21 pages of her objections with her recitation of the facts. Drake also makes various objections about the R&R's findings on her individual claims. The court finds none of these objections convincing.

         A. The R&R's Recitation of Facts

         Drake first argues that the R&R improperly drew its recitation of the facts primarily from SAIC's motion for summary judgment and from Drake's second amended complaint, which Drake explains consists only of allegations and not evidence. As a result, Drake contends, the R&R views the facts in the light most favorable to SAIC. However, this argument fails for several reasons. First, in considering the allegations of the second amended complaint in its recitation of the facts, the R&R viewed the facts in the light most favorable to Drake because they are Drake's allegations. And despite claiming that the R&R “does make rare cites to the Plaintiff's exhibits Docket No. 59, ” ECF No. 63 at 7, the R&R contains numerous citations to Docket No. 59 and its exhibits, which is Drake's response to the motion for summary judgment. Indeed, this court ...

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