Purvis v. Lutheran Hospice et al
ORDER AND OPINION RULING ON REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ACCEPTING IN PART 24 Report and Recommendation, granting in part denying in part 17 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Honorable J Michelle Childs on 3/30/2017. (asni, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Mary Cathy Purvis,
Lutheran Hospice d/b/a The Lutheran
Homes of South Carolina, Inc. and The
Lutheran Homes of South Carolina d/b/a
Civil Action No. 3:15-cv-02238-JMC
ORDER AND OPINION
Plaintiff Mary Cathy Purvis (“Purvis” or “Plaintiff”) filed this action against her former
employer, Defendant The Lutheran Homes of South Carolina, Inc.1 (“Defendant” or “Lutheran”),
alleging that she was subjected to discrimination, harassment and retaliation in violation of the
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101–12213, and wrongfully
denied benefits in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974
(“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001–1461. (ECF No. 1 at 9 ¶ 69–11 ¶ 94 & 14 ¶¶ 117–127.) Plaintiff
also alleges state law claims for breach of contract, breach of contract/detrimental reliance and
bad faith failure to pay insurance. (ECF No. 1 at 11 ¶ 95–14 ¶ 127.)
This matter is before the court on Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment pursuant
to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (ECF No. 17.) In accordance with 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b) and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(g) D.S.C., the matter was referred to United States
Magistrate Judge Shiva V. Hodges for pretrial handling. On November 14, 2016, the Magistrate
Judge issued a Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 24) in which she recommended that the
The Magistrate Judge observes that there is no dispute that The Lutheran Homes of South
Carolina, Inc. is the only Defendant in this action. (ECF No. 24 at 1.)
court grant Defendant’s Rule2 56 Motion. (Id. at 12.) Plaintiff filed Objections to the Magistrate
Judge’s Report and Recommendation, which Objections are presently before the court. (ECF
No. 25.) For the reasons set forth below, the court ACCEPTS IN PART the Magistrate Judge’s
recommendation and GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART Defendant’s Motion for
RELEVANT BACKGROUND OF THE MATTER
The facts of this matter are discussed in the Report and Recommendation. (ECF No. 24.)
The court concludes, upon its own careful review of the record, that the Magistrate Judge’s
factual summation is accurate and incorporates it by reference. The court will only reference
herein additional facts viewed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff that are pertinent to the
analysis of her claims.
Defendant is “a not-for-profit ministry of the South Carolina Synod of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church of America” and it “owns and manages five continuing care retirement
communities, a non-medical home service and a hospice program.” Lutheran Homes of South
Carolina, https://www.lutheranhomessc.org/about-us/ (last visited Mar. 29, 2017).
began working for Defendant as an RN case manager or nurse case manager on November 4,
2013. (ECF Nos. 17-3 at 2 & 17-12 at 5:16–19.) At the time of hire, Plaintiff was provided a
copy of Defendant’s “Employee Handbook for Lutheran Hospice.” (ECF Nos. 21-6 & 17-12 at
4:2–20.) In addition, on November 6, 2013, Plaintiff participated in but did not either pass or fail
a physical fitness screening to determine her fitness for the job. (ECF Nos. 17-12 at 8:11–13 &
21-8 at 7:23:6–23.)
On or around January 12, 2014, Plaintiff broke her right ankle at home in a non-workrelated accident. (ECF No. 17-2 at 4:5–10 & 21:6–14.) As a result of this injury, Defendant
The court observes that “rule” refers to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
placed Plaintiff on a medical leave of absence as if she was qualified under the Family and
Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”), even though she was not eligible for FMLA leave. (Id.
at 21:15–17; see also ECF No. 17-12 at 13:6–14.)
On May 20, 2014, Shirley Johnson, Defendant’s human resources manager for hospice
(ECF No. 21-8 at 2:5:11–19), began to complete a Personnel Action Form for the purpose of
terminating Plaintiff. (ECF No. 21-14.) On June 30, 2014, Plaintiff provided Defendant’s
patient care coordinator, Amy Evans, with a note from Plaintiff’s treating physician, Dr. Richard
S. McCain, which stated that she could return to full duty.
(ECF No. 17-8 at 44:2–21.)
Specifically, Dr. McCain wrote in the return-to-work note that Plaintiff had been under his care
from January 12, 2014, through June 30, 2014, and that she “can return to work @ Lowman
Home full duty.” (ECF No. 21-3 at 2.) Notwithstanding the contents of Dr. McCain’s note,
Johnson observed Plaintiff on June 30, 2014, wearing a walking boot and holding a cane and
perceived her to be “not stable.” (ECF No. 21-8 at 7:25:14–20.) As a result, Johnson, after
discussing the issue with Evans, decided that there needed to be clarification to determine if
Plaintiff could return to work and perform her job with or without a reasonable accommodation.
(Id. at 8:29:22–9:30:9.) Thus, at approximately 8:45 p.m. on June 30, 2014, Johnson called
Plaintiff and informed her that she would not be allowed to return to work the next day. (ECF
No. 17-2 at 24:7–9.)
On July 2, 2014, Johnson faxed a request to Dr. McCain to “review the attached job
description as well as the physical fitness determination test for Cathy Purvis, to ensure that she
is capable of returning to the full function of her job requirements without any restrictions.”
(ECF Nos. 21-3 at 1 & 17-8 at 8:15–26.) Thereafter, Johnson engaged in the following exchange
with Dr. McCain and his office:
He sent the job description back with nothing written on it, not, you know, no
indication that he even reviewed it and he sent the . . . well, I had to call the
doctor’s office again so the fitness test he sent back to us with everything checked
off as pass and the note saying evaluation of potential, well, I wasn’t real sure
exactly what that means so . . . meant so we had to call the doctor’s office again to
have him determine whether she would be able to return to the full scope of her
job. And, I did say review apparently he went through and did check off all the
items on the job description, it was only for him to take a look at to say whether
or not she would be safely . . . it would be safe for her to put her through the test.
(ECF No. 17-8 at 9:16–25.)
Dr. McCain provided Johnson with a “Physical Fitness
Determination” that stated that Plaintiff passed the following physical tests: “6-minute walk . . . ,
lift 20 pounds from the floor to waist and then waist to shoulder x 5 repetitions, carry crate with
weights totaling 20 pounds for 30 feet, maintain unsupported Squat for 1 minute and rise to
standing position without assistance, and push wheelchair with 200 pounds for 100 feet.” (ECF
No. 21-3 at 4.)
After receiving the information on Plaintiff from Dr. McCain, Johnson and Evans
decided that Plaintiff needed to participate in an in-house fitness screening and Evans conveyed
that information to Plaintiff on July 3, 2014. (ECF No. 17-8 at 35:21–36:10.) Thereafter,
between July 8 and July 10, 2014, Evans made several attempts by phone and in person to
contact Plaintiff to schedule the fitness examination but was unsuccessful. (Id. at 36:11–38:13.)
Plaintiff denies that she received any calls from Evans or Johnson to schedule the fitness test.
(Id. at 46:4–47:8.)
On July 14, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination (the “Charge”) with the
South Carolina Human Affairs Commission and the United States Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission. (ECF No. 21-2 at 2.) In the Charge, Plaintiff alleged that she suffered
discrimination and retaliation in violation of the ADA and checked boxes for “Retaliation” and
“Disability.” (Id.) She stated the following particulars:
I. I am a current employee of The Lutheran Homes of South Carolina, Inc. as a
hospice nurse. I have extensive experience as a hospice nurse. Recently I have
suffered a heart incident and an injury to my ankle. As a result of the injury I am
required to work with a cane and a brace on my foot. That my employer has
informed me that I will not be permitted to use any assistive devises [sic] while at
II. My employer has harassed my physician regarding my perceived disability and
my abilities to perform my position.
III. I am capable of performing any and all requirements of my position with or
without accommodation. I have complained to my employer about their actions
and failure to return me to work.
IV. The Defendant is treating me differently than other individuals that are not
perceived as disabled. My employer has not offered me any explanation for not
permitting me using the assistive devices, refusing to return me to work, harassing
my physician, or discriminating against me.
V. I believe that I have been discriminated against because of perceived, actual or
record of disability in violation of Americans with Disabilities Act. I believe that
I have been retaliated against in violation of ADA.”
(ECF No. 21-2 at 2.)
On July 25, 2014, Defendant informed Plaintiff by letter that her employment was
terminated. The contents of the termination letter are as follows:
This letter is to inform you that your employment with Lutheran Hospice has been
terminated effective today (07/25/2014). At the time of your Medical Leave on
January 13, 2014, you were advised that you did not qualify for Medical Leave
under the Family Medical Leave Act due to your length of employment with
However it is the policy of Lutheran Homes of SC to automatically terminate
employment, if an employee is unable to return to full active employment status at
the conclusion of his/her leave of absence or extended leave of absence.
If you can provide the required confirmation from your physician, stating that you
are able to demonstrate that you are fit for full active duty, then you may reapply
for a position with Lutheran Homes of SC/Lutheran Hospice. We will consider
your application for re-employment as we would any other applicant.
(ECF No. 21-5.)
After receiving notice of the right to sue from the EEOC as to the Charge, Plaintiff filed a
Complaint in this court on June 3, 2015, specifically alleging claims for disability discrimination
and harassment in violation of the ADA (“Count 1”), retaliation in violation of the ADA (“Count
2”), breach of contract (“Count 3”), breach of contract/detrimental reliance (“Count 2”3), bad
faith failure to pay insurance (“Count 4”), and violation of ERISA (“Count 5”). (ECF No. 1 at 9
¶ 69–14 ¶ 127.) Defendant answered the Complaint on July 20, 2015, denying its allegations.
(ECF No. 5.) On May 9, 2016, Defendant filed its Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No.
17.) Plaintiff filed a Response in Opposition to Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment on
June 2, 2016, to which Lutheran filed Defendant’s Reply to Plaintiff’s Memorandum in
Opposition to Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment on June 13, 2016. (ECF Nos. 21, 23.)
In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02 D.S.C., the
Magistrate Judge, after reviewing the parties’ summary judgment briefs and considering their
arguments, issued the aforementioned Report and Recommendation on November 14, 2016.
(ECF No. 24.) On December 1, 2016, Plaintiff filed Objections to the Magistrate Judge’s Report
and Recommendation. (ECF No. 25.)
This court has jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s ADA claim via 28 U.S.C. § 1331, as the claim
arises under a law of the United States, and also via 42 U.S.C. §§ 12117 & 2000e–5(f)(3), which
empower district courts to hear claims by “person[s] alleging discrimination on the basis of
disability.” The court may properly hear Plaintiff’s state law claims based on supplemental
jurisdiction since they are “so related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that
. . . it form[s] part of the same case or controversy . . . .” 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).
The Magistrate Judge identified this second “Count 2” as one of the irregularities in Plaintiff’s
Complaint. (See ECF No. 24 at 10 n.6.)
The Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation
The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court. The recommendation
has no presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a final determination remains with this
court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270–71 (1976). The court reviews de novo only
those portions of a magistrate judge’s report and recommendation to which specific objections4
are filed, and reviews those portions which are not objected to - including those portions to
which only “general and conclusory” objections have been made - for clear error. Diamond v.
Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005); Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198,
200 (4th Cir. 1983); Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). The court may accept,
reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the magistrate judge or recommit
the matter with instructions. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
Summary Judgment under Rule 56
Summary judgment should be granted “if the movant shows that there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.
R. Civ. P. 56(a). A fact is “material” if proof of its existence or non-existence would affect the
disposition of the case under the applicable law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
248–49 (1986). A genuine question of material fact exists where, after reviewing the record as a
whole, the court finds that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.
Newport News Holdings Corp. v. Virtual City Vision, 650 F.3d 423, 434 (4th Cir. 2011).
In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, a court must view the evidence in the light
An objection is specific if it “enables the district judge to focus attention on those issues—
factual and legal—that are at the heart of the parties’ dispute.” One Parcel of Real Prop. Known
As 2121 E. 30th St., 73 F.3d 1057, 1059 (10th Cir. 1996) (quoting Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140,
most favorable to the non-moving party. Perini Corp. v. Perini Constr., Inc., 915 F.2d 121, 12324 (4th Cir. 1990). The non-moving party may not oppose a motion for summary judgment with
mere allegations or denial of the movant’s pleading, but instead must “set forth specific facts”
demonstrating a genuine issue for trial. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 324 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986); Shealy v.
Winston, 929 F.2d 1009, 1012 (4th Cir. 1991). All that is required is that “sufficient evidence
supporting the claimed factual dispute be shown to require a jury or judge to resolve the parties’
differing versions of the truth at trial.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249.
speculation . . . is not enough to defeat a summary judgment motion.” Ennis v. Nat’l Ass’n of
Bus. & Educ. Radio, Inc., 53 F.3d 55, 62 (4th Cir. 1995).
The Report and Recommendation
Upon her review, the Magistrate Judge concluded that Plaintiff failed to state a prima
facie case of discrimination under the ADA because she was unable to demonstrate that (1) “she
was regarded as disabled, because her injury was transitory as defined by the ADA” (ECF No. 24
at 8); (2) she was a qualified individual with a disability because there were no facts in the record
showing that “Plaintiff could perform her job with or without a reasonable accommodation” (id.
at 9); and (3) she suffered an adverse employment action as a result of her disability. (Id.) As to
Plaintiff’s state law claims for breach of contract, breach of contract/detrimental reliance and bad
faith failure to pay insurance, the Magistrate Judge recommended dismissal of these causes of
action on the basis that all three are preempted by ERISA. (Id. at 11 (citing Coyne & Delany Co.
v. Selman, 98 F.3d at 1468–69 (4th Cir. 1996); Stiltner v. Beretta U.S.A. Corp., 74 F.3d 1473,
1480 (4th Cir. 1996)).) Finally, the Magistrate Judge recommends granting summary judgment
to Defendant on Plaintiff’s ERISA claim because it appears that she has abandoned the cause of
action. (Id. at 11–12.)
Plaintiff states both “general” and “specific” Objections to the Magistrate Judge’s Report
In her General Objections, Plaintiff argues that the Report and
Recommendation is erroneous because: (1) it recommends dismissal of Plaintiff’s claims in their
entirety (ECF No. 25 at 5); and (2) it stated background facts that were not in a light most
favorable to Plaintiff (id. at 5–6).5
As to her Specific Objections, Plaintiff first argues that the Magistrate Judge erroneously
ignored the fact that “Plaintiff’s employer entertained a misperception and believed he[r]
impairment was substantially limiting when it was not.” (ECF No. 25 at 19.) In this regard,
Plaintiff asserts that “it is clear that the Ms. Johnson who made the employment decisions
entertained the misperception that Ms. Purvis’ ability to walk and work was limited.” (Id.)
Plaintiff further argues that the Magistrate Judge erroneously determined that “Plaintiff’s
termination was not related to her perceived disability” when the facts in the light most favorable
to Plaintiff clearly demonstrate that she followed Defendant’s policies, but “was terminated for a
Finally, Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate Judge erroneously
determined that Plaintiff’s state law claims were pre-empted by ERISA because that legislation
neither “cover[s] employee handbooks” nor does it cover the fraudulent “representations of an
employer.” (Id. at 20.) As a result of the foregoing, Plaintiff asserts that the court should reject
the Report and Recommendation because it was clearly issued “in error considering the
testimony on the record, the circumstances of the Plaintiff’s employment and the Defendant’s
The court observes that Plaintiff thereafter provided fifty-one paragraphs of background facts
that were allegedly ignored by the Magistrate Judge. (See ECF No. 25 at 6 ¶ 1–17 ¶ 51.)
intentional discrimination against the Plaintiff.” (Id.)
The Court’s Review
1. Plaintiff’s General Objections
The court observes that it is not required to provide de novo review of Plaintiff’s general
complaints about the Report and Recommendation, but must “only satisfy itself that there is no
clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation.” Diamond, 416 F.3d
at 315. Upon review and consideration of Plaintiff’s complaints regarding the recommendation
of dismissal as to all her claims and the Report’s allegedly biased factual summary, the court
finds that the Report and Recommendation does not contain clear error. Accordingly, the court
overrules Plaintiff’s general Objections.
2. Plaintiff’s Specific Objections
a. Plaintiff’s ADA Claims
In her Objections, Plaintiff primarily complains that the Magistrate Judge’s
recommendation was in error because the facts clearly demonstrate that Plaintiff was terminated
as a result of her disability based on Defendant’s misperception regarding the extent to which
Plaintiff’s impairment limited her.
The court observes that as to her claims for ADA
discrimination6 and harassment,7 Plaintiff is required to demonstrate that she is a qualified
Absent direct evidence, to sufficiently allege the elements of a prima facie case of
discriminatory discharge under the ADA, a plaintiff must demonstrate (1) he was a qualified
individual who had a disability; (2) he was terminated; (3) he was fulfilling his employer’s
legitimate expectations when he was terminated; and (4) the discharge gives rise to a “reasonable
inference of unlawful discrimination.” Reynolds v. Am. Nat’l Red Cross, 701 F.3d 143, 150 (4th
Without direct evidence, a prima facie case of hostile work environment based on a disability
requires the plaintiff to demonstrate: (1) he is a qualified individual with a disability; (2) he was
subjected to unwelcome harassment; (3) the harassment was based on his disability; (4) the
harassment was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter a term, condition, or privilege of
employment; and (5) some factual basis exists to impute liability for the harassment to the
employer. Fox v. Gen. Motors Corp., 247 F.3d 169, 177 (4th Cir. 2001).
individual with a disability. Under the ADA, “[t]he term ‘disability’ means, with respect to an
individual--(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life
activities of such individual; (B) a record of such an impairment; or (C) being regarded as having
such an impairment (as described in paragraph (3)). 42 U.S.C. § 12102(1).
In her brief, Plaintiff asserts that Defendant and in particular Johnson viewed Plaintiff as
being regarded as having an impairment. (ECF No. 21 at 23.) “[A]n individual is ‘regarded as
having such an impairment’ if the individual is subjected to a prohibited action because of an
actual or perceived physical or mental impairment, whether or not that impairment substantially
limits, or is perceived to substantially limit, a major life activity.” 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(l).
However, an individual cannot be regarded as having an impairment if the impairment is
transitory and minor, i.e., it has “an actual or expected duration of 6 months or less.” 42 U.S.C.
In this matter, the duration of Plaintiff’s broken ankle was 5 months and 19 days, from
the date of the injury, January 12, 2014, to the date Plaintiff was cleared to return to work on
June 30, 2014. As a result, the court agrees with the Magistrate Judge that Plaintiff’s injury was
transitory and minor and, therefore, not an impairment under the ADA. E.g., Clark v. Boyd
Tunica, Inc., C/A No. 3:14-cv-00204-MPM-JMV, 2016 WL 853529, at *6 (N.D. Miss. Mar. 1,
2016) (“[B]roken bones, generally, are characterized as being “transitory and minor” for
purposes of ADA disability definitions.”) (citations omitted). Accordingly, because Plaintiff
cannot show that she was a qualified disabled individual, the court finds that the Magistrate
Judge did not commit error in concluding that Plaintiff could not state a prima facie case of
discrimination and/or harassment under the ADA. In this regard, Plaintiff’s Objections as to
these claims are overruled.8
b. Plaintiff’s State Law Claims
In this matter, Plaintiff alleged state law claims for breach of contract, breach of
contract/detrimental reliance and bad faith failure to pay insurance. (ECF No. 1 at 11 ¶ 95–14 ¶
127.) Defendant moved for summary judgment as to these claims on the basis that they were
preempted by ERISA. (ECF No. 17-1 at 33.) The Magistrate Judge agreed and recommended
dismissal of the claims because they were “all preempted by ERISA.” (ECF No. 24 at 11.)
The court observes that “[i]n determining whether ERISA preempts a plaintiff’s state law
claims, the primary consideration  requires applying the test the Fourth Circuit has adopted for
determining whether ERISA completely preempts a state law claim.” Hendrix v. Res. Real
Estate Mgmt., Inc., 170 F. Supp. 3d 879, 887 (D.S.C. 2016) (citing Sonoco Prod. Co. v.
Physicians Health Plan, Inc., 338 F.3d 366, 372 (4th Cir. 2003) (adopting the Court of Appeals
for the Seventh Circuit’s test for determining ERISA preemption); Tucci v. First Unum Life Ins.
Co., 446 F. Supp. 2d 473 (D.S.C. 2006) (considering Sonoco in the context of a long term
disability insurance plan)).
“[T]he test sets forth three requirements to establish complete
The court observes that the Magistrate Judge did not expressly address Defendant’s assertion
that it was entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff’s retaliation claim because she neither
“offered no evidence that she actually ‘complained’ of alleged discrimination” nor did she
demonstrate a causal connection between her alleged discrimination complaint and her
termination. (ECF No. 17-1 at 24–25.) Because the Magistrate Judge did not address
Defendant’s position, Plaintiff could not state an objection concerning her retaliation claim.
However, the court further notes that in her Response in Opposition to Defendant’s Motion for
Summary Judgment, Plaintiff stated that she “hereby releases her claim for retaliation.” (ECF
No. 21 at 33.) As a result of the foregoing, the court sua sponte grants Defendant’s Motion for
Summary Judgment without prejudice as to the retaliation claim with leave for Plaintiff to move
for reconsideration if the court has misapprehended her intent as to the retaliation claim.
(1) the plaintiff must have standing under [ERISA] § 502(a) to pursue its claim;
(2) its claim must fall within the scope of an ERISA provision that [it] can
enforce via § 502(a); and (3) the claim must not be capable of resolution without
an interpretation of the contract governed by federal law, i.e., an ERISA-governed
employee benefit plan.
Id. (quoting Sonoco, 338 F. 3d at 372).
Upon review, the court observes that neither Defendant (ECF No. 17-1 at 33) nor the
Magistrate Judge (ECF No. 24 at 10–11) addressed these factors before reaching the conclusion
that Plaintiff’s state law claims were preempted by ERISA. Without these factors having been
addressed by the movant, the court is not persuaded that Defendant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law on this issue. As a result, the court denies the Motion for Summary Judgment on
the basis of ERISA preemption as to Plaintiff’s state law claims for breach of contract, breach of
contract/detrimental reliance and bad faith failure to pay insurance without prejudice.
Upon careful consideration of the entire record, the court hereby GRANTS IN PART
AND DENIES IN PART the Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 17) of Defendant The
Lutheran Homes of South Carolina, Inc. The Motion is granted with prejudice as to Plaintiff’s
claims for violating ERISA9 (“Count 5”) and for discrimination and harassment in violation of
the ADA (“Count 1”). The Motion is granted without prejudice on Plaintiff’s ADA retaliation
claim (“Count 2”). The Motion is denied without prejudice as to Plaintiff’s state law claims for
breach of contract (“Count 3”), breach of contract/detrimental reliance (alternative “Count 2”)
and bad faith failure to pay insurance (“Count 4”). As a result of the foregoing, the court has
dismissed all claims for which it has original jurisdiction. However, in its discretion, the court
Plaintiff did not object to the Magistrate Judge’s recommendation to grant summary judgment
as to this claim.
will retain jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims.10
The court ACCEPTS IN PART the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation
(ECF No. 24) and incorporates it herein by reference.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
United States District Judge
March 30, 2017
Columbia, South Carolina
The Fourth Circuit explained the court’s discretion as follows:
Once the district court dismissed the federal claims against Defendants, the court
had the authority to retain jurisdiction over the state law claims that were closely
related to the original claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). However, the district court
also had the discretion to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over claims
outside its original jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3). We have recognized that
“trial courts enjoy wide latitude in determining whether or not to retain
jurisdiction over state claims when all federal claims have been extinguished.”
Shanaghan v. Cahill, 58 F.3d 106, 110 (4th Cir. 1995). In exercising that
discretion, the district court should consider “convenience and fairness to the
parties, the existence of any underlying issues of federal policy, comity, and
considerations of judicial economy.” Semple v. City of Moundsville, 195 F.3d
708, 714 (4th Cir. 1999). In addition, the dismissal may be an abuse of discretion
where the state statute of limitations expired prior to dismissal of the anchor
federal claim. Edwards v. Okaloosa County, 5 F.3d 1431, 1433–35 (11th Cir.
1993); Joiner v. Diamond M Drilling Co., 677 F.2d 1035, 1043 (5th Cir. 1982).
Katema v. Midwest Stamping, Inc., 180 F. App’x 427, 428 (4th Cir. 2006).
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