United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
ORDER AND OPINION
Richard M. Gergel United States District Court Judge
matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation
("R & R") of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 41)
recommending that the Court grant Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 22). For the reasons set forth
below, the Court adopts the R & R as the Order of the
Court and grants Defendant's Motion.
Court adopts the detailed facts in the R & R, which
relies largely on Plaintiff Grady Glover's
deposition. (Dkt. No. 41 at 2 - 14.) Plaintiff was a
Station Manager in Charleston, South Carolina, for Defendant
Southwest Airlines, Co. responsible for managing
approximately 47 employees. The incidents leading to this
claim began in February 1, 2017, where Plaintiff began to
have a contentious relationship with one of his subordinates,
an Operations Agent named Danielle Chapman, who initially
complained about her rate of pay for an overtime assignment
given while she was on vacation, and who later refused a
mandatory overtime assignment from Plaintiff. Chapman claimed
that Plaintiff yelled at her during meetings between
Plaintiff, Chapman, and Chapman's union representative,
including a meeting on March 8, 2017, regarding the refusal
of overtime and potential discipline for the refusal of
overtime, which Plaintiff denies. Chapman was ultimately
issued a letter of warning and filed a complaint against
Plaintiff regarding his treatment of her.
supervisor, Doug Currie, traveled to Charleston to
investigate the March 8thincident. Plaintiff drove
Currie back to his hotel, and when discussing the incident,
Currie stated that he believed the problem was due to a
"generational gap." Currie later told Plaintiff to
remove the letter of warning to Chapman, which Plaintiff only
did after reiteration from Currie. Plaintiff also failed to
inform Chapman he had removed the letter. Currie asked the
Plaintiff to come to Houston to meet with him on April 6,
2017, in order to discuss how the matter with Chapman could
have been handled better. At the time, Plaintiff prepared a
three-page letter with twenty-five pages of attachments,
detailing his disagreements with Chapman's actions,
Currie's managerial decisions, and stating that he
believed the statement that the issue was
"generational" was discriminatory. He ultimately
did not give the letter to Currie and did not discuss the
"age discrimination" issue. At the meeting, Currie
instructed Plaintiff to sit down with Chapman.
the meeting, Plaintiff repeatedly failed to meet with
Chapman, missing a key opportunity on April 11, 2017.
Plaintiff ultimately met with Chapman on April 20, 2017 but
prefaced the meeting by stating Currie directed him to have
the conversation. Currie sent Plaintiff a letter of
expectation on May 5, 2017, based on Plaintiffs "failure
to defuse an emotional situation" and failure to follow
Currie's directive to meet with Chapman. The letter
further stated that future incidents could lead to
discipline, including termination. Plaintiff reported Currie
to Employee Relations, claiming Currie's behavior was
harassing and retaliatory, and attaching the letter he had
previously drafted but had not given to Currie in Houston.
Plaintiff also claimed Currie's actions affected
Plaintiffs "health and blood pressure."
May 16, 2017, Currie and two other supervisors determined
that the best course of action was to separate with
Plaintiff, as he had lost the ability to lead and had been
insubordinate. Following that determination, Plaintiff
participated in a conference call with the two supervisors,
again stating that Currie was unreasonable and unjustified,
and reiterating that he had not yelled at Chapman. Plaintiff
was terminated on June 15, 2017. The letter stated Plaintiff
was terminated for improperly handling the incident with
Chapman, failed to follow Currie's direction, and had
failed to improve following the letter of expectation.
receiving a right to sue letter from the EEOC, Plaintiff
filed this Complaint, claiming disability discrimination
under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"),
age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment
Act ("ADEA"), retaliation under the ADA, and a
hostile work environment. (Dkt. No. 1.) After removing the
case to this Court, Defendant moved for summary judgment,
which Plaintiff opposed. (Dkt. Nos. 22, 33.) On June 28,
2019, the Magistrate Judge issued an R & R recommending
that summary judgment be granted in favor of Defendant on all
claims. (Dkt. No. 41.) Plaintiff filed objections to the R
& R. (Dkt. No. 42.)
prevail on a motion for summary judgment, the movant must
demonstrate that there is no genuine issue of any material
fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The party seeking summary
judgment has the burden of identifying the portions of the
"pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, any
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
which show there is no genuine issue as to any material fact
and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322 (1986). The Court will construe all inferences and
ambiguities against the movant and in favor of the non-moving
party. U.S. v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655
(1962). The existence of a mere scintilla of evidence in
support of the non-moving party's position is
insufficient to withstand a motion for summary judgment.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252
(1986). However, an issue of material fact is genuine if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict in favor of the non-movant. Id. at 257.
the moving party has carried its burden under Rule 56(c), its
opponent must do more than simply show that there is some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts."
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). "In the language of the Rule,
the nonmoving party must come forward with 'specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.'" Id. at 587. "Where the record
taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to
find for the non-moving party, there is no 'genuine issue
for trial.'" Id. (quoting First
Nat'l Bank of Ariz. v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S.
253, 289 (1968)).
Report and Recommendation
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility for making a final determination remains with
this Court. See Mathews v. Weber,423 U.S. 261, 270
- 71 (1976). This Court is charged with making a de
novo determination of those portions of the Report and
Recommendation to which specific objection is made.
Additionally, the Court may "accept, reject, or modify,
in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by
the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). In
the absence of any specific objections, "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 ...