United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
C. NORTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court on United States Magistrate Judge
Mary Gordon Baker's report and recommendation
(“R&R”), ECF No. 44, that the court grant CSC
Government Solutions, LLC (“CSC”), and CSRA
LLC's (“CRSA”) (together,
“defendants”) motion for summary judgment, ECF
No. 35. For the reasons set forth below, the court adopts the
R&R and grants defendants' motion for summary
facts of this case are set forth fully in the R&R, and as
such, the court refrains from a lengthy recitation here. In
summary, this case arises out of plaintiff Paul Dinda's
(“Dinda”) employment with CSC. Dinda was hired by
CSC as a Software Engineer Senior Professional in March 2012.
ECF No. 35-4, Dinda Dep. 34:25. At the time he began his
employment, Dinda was fifty-six years old and had previously
been diagnosed by the Department of Veterans Affairs
(“VA”) with keratoconus, a vision disorder. ECF
No. 39-3, EEOC at 8. Sometime after beginning work at CSC,
the government team merged with SRA International and formed
CRSA, making Dinda an employee of CRSA. ECF No. 23 ¶ 14,
ECF No. 35 at 4. In his position at CRSA, Dinda consistently
worked on contracts with the VA. ECF No. 35-4, Dinda Dep.
in December 2015, CRSA entered into a subcontract with
Technatomy Corporation (“Technatomy”). Under this
agreement, Technatomy reserved the right to approve or deny
the assignment of any CSRA employees to the project. ECF No.
35-2, Ward Dep. Ex. 5. Dinda worked on this project, under
the supervision of Lisa Ward (“Ward”) starting in
January 2016. Id. 66:1-6. The team serving under
Ward involved various other individuals, including Megan
Kotos (“Kotos”), Technatomy Senior Test Lead;
Jennifer Givens (“Givens”), CSRA Automation Test
Lead; Deborah Gillespie, CSRA Tester and plaintiff's
principal subordinate; and Eliberto Marquez, VA Project
Manager. ECF No. 35-3, Kotos Dep. 13:1; ECF No. 35-2, Ward
Dep. 48:10-11; ECF No. 35-4, Dinda Dep. 50:6-8.
this project, Dinda reported to Kotos, primarily
communicating with her via electronic means, as he worked
remotely. ECF No. 35-3, Kotos Dep. 111:8-16. Dinda claims
that he and Kotos did not always get along and that he voiced
his concerns to his supervisor about their working
relationship. ECF No. 35-4, Dinda Dep. 92:2-4. Kotos also
regarded much of her communication from Dinda as
disrespectful and antagonistic, which resulted in her making
several complaints about Dinda to his supervisor, Ward. ECF
No. 35-3, Kotos Dep. Ex. 18. These complaints varied in
specifics, but primarily related to Dinda's failure to
attend meetings and his lack of open communication. Issues
prevailed between Dinda and his employer, particularly as
more complaints about his performance were reported by
CRSA's client, Technatomy, in the following months. ECF
No. 35-2, Ward Dep. 56:19-23. As a result of these
complaints, Ward met with Dinda at least twice between
January 2016 and June 2016 to discuss his workplace behavior
and attitude. ECF No. 35-2, Ward Dep. 51:16-53:1. The first
of these sessions occurred on an unspecified date in February
2016, Id. 52:6-9, and the second conversation
occurred on March 16, 2016, id. 30:13-24. During
these meetings, Dinda specifically agreed to work on
improving his relationship with Kotos. ECF No. 35-4, Dinda
April 2016, Dinda complained to Ward of Kotos' treatment.
Upon reviewing emails between Dinda and Kotos, Ward concluded
that Kotos' attitude was a byproduct of Dinda's
insubordination and disrespect. ECF No. 35-2, Ward Dep.
52:12-17. In May 2016, Technatomy formally requested that
Dinda be removed from their project, citing his resistance to
and failure to meet their requests. Id. 56:22. These
issues culminated in Dinda's suspension from CSRA in May
2016, pending the outcome of an employee relations
investigation. Upon the conclusion of this investigation,
Dinda was terminated from his position with CSRA on June 22,
2016. ECF No. 39-9, Letters at 2.
12, 2016, Dinda filed a Charge of Discrimination with the
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).
ECF No. 39-3, EEOC at 1. The EEOC replied in August 2017,
dismissing Dinda's charge and issuing a notice of right
to sue. ECF No. 7-3, EEOC Dismissal. The instant case was
then filed on November 21, 2017. ECF No. 1. Dinda amended his
complaint on February 21, 2018, bringing the following
claims: (1) disability discrimination in violation of the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”); (2) sex
discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964 (“Title VII”); (3) age discrimination
in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
(“ADEA”); (4) hostile work environment based on
Dinda's disability, sex and age; and (5) retaliation in
violation of the ADA, Title VII, and the ADEA. ECF No. 23. On
December 21, 2018, defendants filed a motion for summary
judgment, ECF No. 35, to which Dinda responded on January 20,
2019, ECF No. 39. On March 21, 2019, Magistrate Judge Mary
Gordon Baker filed a Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”) recommending that the court grant the
motion for summary judgment on each of Dinda's claims.
ECF No. 43. On April 2, 2019, Dinda filed his objections to
the R&R, ECF No. 45, and on April 16, 2019, defendants
filed their response, ECF No. 46.
STANDARDS OF REVIEW
Report and Recommendation
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
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.
objections to the R&R are disorganized, confusing, and
incoherent at times but seem to claim that the R&R
improperly viewed the facts in the light most favorable to
defendants, not to Dinda. The court has difficulty
determining exactly which facts Dinda takes issue with and in
relation to which claim. Dinda enumerates several
“facts” without any context to inform the court
whether these are facts from the R&R to which Dinda
objects or whether they are the facts that Dinda now wishes
this court to accept as true. ECF No. 45 at 7-9. Dinda then
enumerates several “direct fact differences” but
again fails to explain the impact each of these fact
differences would have on the R&R's conclusions.
Id. at 9-11. Rather, Dinda summarily concludes that
“[t]he facts as presented by the Defendant fail to meet
the elements of the law” and that “[i]t is clear
from the Plaintiff's statement of facts there is a
genuine issue of material fact to all of the issues as
presented by the Defendant.” Id. at 12.
court reviews the R&R's recommendations and
Dinda's objections as to each claim and grants summary
judgment on each of them.