United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Harrisonburg Division
KENNETH D. LIGGINS, Plaintiff,
G.A. & F.C. WAGMAN, INC., et al., Defendants.
ELIZABETH K. DILLON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Kenneth Liggins, proceeding pro se, filed this action against
his former employer, G.A. & F.C. Wagman, Inc. (Wagman),
alleging that Wagman “denied [him] equal pay for equal
work due to his race and color” in violation of Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§
2000e to 2000e-17. (Am. Compl. 1, Dkt. No. 13.) Defendant
moved to dismiss the amended complaint with prejudice under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Mot. to Dismiss,
Dkt. No. 18.) In accordance with 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(B), the court referred the motion to Magistrate
Judge Joel C. Hoppe for a report and recommendation
(R&R). (Order 1, Dkt. No. 30.)
22, 2019, Judge Hoppe issued his R&R recommending that
the court grant Wagman's motion but dismiss the case
without prejudice for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
(R&R 1, Dkt. No. 46.) Upon filing the R&R, the
magistrate judge advised the parties of their right under 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C) and Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 72(b)(2) to file written objections to his proposed
findings and recommendations within 14 days of service of the
R&R. (Id. at 9.)
10, 2019, Wagman filed a notice of filing supplemental
authority in which it cited a case decided by the Supreme
Court of the United States on June 3, 2019. (Notice Supp.
Auth., Dkt. No. 50.) Wagman cites Fort Bend Cty, Tex. v.
Davis, 139 S.Ct. 1843 (2019), for the proposition that
Liggins's failure to include allegations of unequal pay
in his charge filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC) requires the court to dismiss the case with
prejudice. (Id. at 2.)
11, 2019-the day after the objection deadline expired-Liggins
filed a “response” to the R&R in which he
stated he has “no objection to this case being
dismiss[ed] without Prejudice for lack of subject-matter
jurisdiction.” (Pl. Resp. to R&R 1, Dkt. No. 51.)
Liggins did not otherwise respond to Wagman's notice of
filing supplemental authority.
court adopts the recitation of facts and procedural
background as set forth in the R&R. (R&R 2-5.)
Because the court is ruling on a motion to dismiss, it
accepts as true the well-pleaded facts set forth in
Liggins's amended complaint. Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 572 (2007).
Standard of Review
district court sitting in review of a magistrate judge's
R&R must review de novo “those portions of the
report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to
which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
An objection is properly noted if it is stated “with
sufficient specificity so as reasonably to alert the district
court of the true ground for the objection.” United
States v. Midgette, 478 F.3d 616, 622 (4th Cir. 2007).
“[I]n 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 &
Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005)
(quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee's note). The
court “may accept, reject, or modify the recommended
disposition; receive further evidence; or return the matter
to the magistrate judge with instructions.”
not styled as an objection, Wagman's notice of filing
supplemental authority clearly sets forth its disagreement
with the magistrate judge's recommendation and asks the
court to reconsider a specific portion of that
recommendation. The court will thus construe Wagman's
notice as an objection to the R&R and will review de novo
the issue of whether Liggins's case should be dismissed
with prejudice. The remainder of the R&R will be reviewed
for clear error.
Liggins's Case Should Be Dismissed with
reviewing the record in this case, the court is satisfied
that there is no clear error as to the R&R's
recitation of facts or recommendation that Liggins's case
be dismissed. The court will therefore adopt those portions
of the R&R. It will not, however, adopt all of the
R&R's reasoning or the recommendation that dismissal
be without prejudice. In particular, the court will not adopt
the conclusion that the court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction over Liggins's Title VII claim for failure
to exhaust administrative remedies. Additionally, because the
deadline has passed for Liggins to file a charge with the
EEOC, Liggins's claim should be dismissed with prejudice.