United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
matter is before the court for review of the Magistrate
Judge's Report and Recommendation (“Report”)
filed on July 3, 2019. (ECF No. 43.) The Magistrate Judge
recommends that the court grant Defendant Halocarbon Products
Corporation's (“Halocarbon”) Motion for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 33) and dismiss Plaintiff Todd
Lawrence's (“Lawrence”) case. (Id.
at 1, 16.) For the reasons set forth herein, the court
ACCEPTS the Magistrate Judge's Report
(ECF No. 43) and GRANTS Halocarbon's
Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 33).
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Report sets forth the relevant facts and legal standards,
which this court incorporates herein without a full
recitation. (ECF No. 43.) As brief background, Lawrence
worked for Halocarbon, a company located in North Augusta
South Carolina, as an Assistant Shift Supervisor and oversaw
eleven (11) production operators. (ECF No. 34 at 2; ECF No.
38-1 at 1.) During the course of his employment with
Halocarbon, Lawrence participated in Halocarbon's drug
testing program approximately eight (8) to ten (10) times
without any issues. (ECF No. 38-6 at 9-10.) However, on
October 27, 2016, Halocarbon announced that it was drug
testing its employees, however, on October 28, 2016, the day
of the drug test, Lawrence did not attend work because he was
allegedly sick. (ECF No. 43 at 2.) While Lawrence was sick at
home, two individuals at Halocarbon called Lawrence and
advised him to receive his drug test at Urgent M.D., a local
medical provider in North August because he could not
participate in an on-site drug test. (Id.; ECF No.
38-6 at 11-14.) Lawrence went to Urgent M.D. to take the drug
test on October 28, 2016. (ECF No. 38-6 at 14.) On November
1, 2016, Lawrence was informed that there was a
“problem” with his provided specimen, and he
needed to submit to a second drug test. (ECF No. 38-6 at 28-
29.) Lawrence's first drug test produced an
“invalid” test result. (ECF No. 33-1 at 57.)
After these issues with the first drug test, Lawrence
provided a second sample for drug testing. (ECF No. 38-6 at
30-31; ECF No. 33-2 at 4.) The lab results for Lawrence's
second test indicated that the specimen was
“dilute.” (ECF No. 33-1 at 58.) Lawrence
maintains that the dilution resulted from his excessive
consumption of water, while officials with Halocarbon opine
that other employees consume large amounts of water and do
not have similar test results. (Pursuant to its Substance
Abuse Policy (ECF No. 33-3 at 16),  Halocarbon terminated
Lawrence on the basis that his testing sample was diluted.
(ECF No. 33-2 at 10.) By means of an administrative process
provided by Halocarbon, Lawrence's discharge was affirmed
by an appeals committee. (ECF No. 43 at 4; ECF No. 38-6 at
originally filed his Complaint against Halocarbon in the
Richland County Court of Common Pleas on November 29, 2017.
(ECF No. 1-1 at 1-16.) Within his Complaint, Lawrence brings
the following claims against Halocarbon: (1) interference
with rights and unlawful retaliation under the Family and
Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) of 1993, 29 U.S.C.
§§ 2615(a)-(b); (2) discrimination and unlawful
retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”) of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12112(a),
12203(a); and (3) discrimination under the Age Discrimination
in Employment Act (“ADEA”) of 1967, 29 U.S.C.
§ 623(a). (Id. at 10-15.) Halocarbon removed
Lawrence's action to the United States District Court for
the District of South Carolina on December 28, 2017. (ECF No.
1.) Halocarbon filed its Motion for Summary Judgment, seeking
judgment as to all of Lawrence's claims, on January 7,
2019, which subsequently elicited Lawrence's Responses in
Opposition on February 4, 2019, and February 5, 2019. (ECF
Nos. 33, 38, 40.)
response to Halocarbon's Motion and Lawrence's
Responses in Opposition, the Magistrate Judge filed his
Report on July 3, 2019. (ECF No. 43.) Within the Report, the
Magistrate Judge first reasoned, pertaining to his
interference claim under the FMLA, that Lawrence failed to
present sufficient evidence that he suffered any prejudice
from an interference with his rights under the FMLA because
he “did not lose any compensation or benefits as a
result of the difficulty obtaining FMLA forms, the charge of
attendance points (which was later remedied), the lack of
notice, or the drug test requirement.” (Id. at
8-9.) Turning to Lawrence's retaliation claim under the
FMLA, the Magistrate Judge found that Lawrence failed to
provide sufficient evidence of whether Halocarbon's
justification for firing him was pretext under the
burden-shifting framework set forth within McDonnell
Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973).
(Id. at 10-13.) Lastly, as it relates to
Lawrence's claims under the ADA, the Magistrate Judge
also concluded that Lawrence failed to show pretext
concerning Halocarbon's proffered reason for firing him
was pretext for a discriminatory or retaliatory reason.
(Id. at 16.) In addition to providing the court with
his recommendation, the Magistrate Judge advised both parties
of their rights to file specific objections to the Report.
(ECF No. 43.) To date, neither Lawrence nor Halocarbon
objects to the Report.
Magistrate Judge's Report is made in accordance with 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02 for the
District of South Carolina. The Magistrate Judge only makes a
recommendation to this court, and the recommendation has no
presumptive weight. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S.
261, 270-71 (1976). The responsibility to make a final
determination remains with the court. Id. at 271. As
such, the court is charged with making de novo
determinations of those portions of the Report to which
specific objections are made. See 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1). See also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3). In the
absence of specific objections to the Magistrate Judge's
Report, the court is not required to give any explanation for
adopting the Report. See Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d
198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983). Rather, “in the absence of a
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.” Diamond v. Colonial
Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir.
2005) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee's
note). Furthermore, a failure to file specific, written
objections to the Report results in a party's waiver of
the right to appeal from the judgment of the court based upon
such recommendation. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Thus, the
court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
Magistrate Judge's recommendation or recommit the matter
with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
parties were apprised of their opportunity to file specific
objections to the Report on July 3, 2019. (ECF No. 43.) Upon
review of the record, neither Lawrence nor Halocarbon filed
any objections to the Report. In the absence of specific
objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report, the court is
not required to give any explanation for adopting the Report
and must only discern whether the Report contains clear
error. See Camby, 718 F.2d at 199; Diamond,
416 F.3d at 315. After a thorough and careful review of the
record, the court finds the Magistrate Judge's Report
provides an accurate summary of the facts and law in the
instant case. (ECF No. 43.) Because specific objections were
not filed by either party and the Report does not contain
clear error, the court adopts the Report herein. See
Camby, 718 F.2d at 199; Diamond, 416 F.3d at
thorough review of the Report and record in this case, the
court ACCEPTS the Magistrate Judge's
Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 43) and incorporates it
herein. Accordingly, the court GRANTS
Halocarbon's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 33).
IS SO ORDERED.