United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
KARESS M. MINER, Plaintiff,
ZOË'S KITCHEN USA LLC, et al., Defendants.
MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA, District Judge.
This is a sexual harassment action. The case initially was assigned to Magistrate Judge Harwell Davis. On February 20, 2015, Judge Davis entered a report in which he recommended that the Court dismiss Ms. Miner's Title VII claims because Ms. Miner waited too long to file her EEOC charge. (Doc. 29, pp. 9-10). Judge Davis also recommended that the Court dismiss Ms. Miner's state law claims without prejudice so that Ms. Miner may pursue those claims in state court if she wishes. (Doc. 29, pp. 10-11).
Ms. Miner filed objections to the report and recommendation. (Doc. 30). Because the parties did not consent unanimously to dispositive jurisdiction by a magistrate judge, the case was reassigned to the undersigned judicial officer for review of the record and consideration of Ms. Miner's objections to the report and recommendation. For the reasons stated below, the Court adopts Judge Davis's report and accepts his recommendation.
I. STANDARD OF REVIEW
A district court "may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). When a party makes timely objections to a Report and Recommendation, the district court "make[s] a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." Id.
When no party files objections, the district court need not conduct a de novo review. Garvey v. Vaughn, 993 F.2d 776, 779 n.9 (11th Cir. 1993); see also United States v. Slay, 714 F.2d 1093, 1095 (11th Cir. 1983) (per curiam) ("The failure to object to the magistrate's findings of fact prohibits an attack on appeal of the factual findings adopted by the district court except on grounds of plain error or manifest injustice.") (internal citation omitted), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 1050 (1984). In Macort v. Prem, Inc., 208 Fed.Appx. 781, 784 (11th Cir. 2006), the Eleventh Circuit stated:
Most circuits agree that "[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., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (quotations omitted); accord Johnson v. Zema Sys. Corp., 170 F.3d 734, 739 (7th Cir.1999) ("If no objection or only partial objection is made [to the magistrate judge's report], the district court judge reviews those unobjected portions for clear error."); United States v. Wilson, 864 F.2d 1219, 1221 (5th Cir. 1989) (noting that the "clearly erroneous" standard is appropriate where there has been no objection to the magistrate judge's ruling)....
The Eleventh Circuit does not appear to have expressly held that a district court should review a report and recommendation for plain error in the absence of objections; however, other courts in this Circuit have adopted such a position. Tauber v. Barnhart, 438 F.Supp.2d 1366 (N.D.Ga. 2006) ("[I]ssues upon which no specific objections are raised do not so require de novo review; the district court may therefore accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge, applying a clearly erroneous standard.") (internal citations and quotations omitted); Am. Charities for Reasonable Fundraising Regulation, Inc. v. Pinellas County, 278 F.Supp.2d 1301, 1307 (M.D. Fla. 2003) ("[W]hen no timely and specific objections are filed, case law indicates that the court should review the findings using a clearly erroneous standard."); Shuler v. Infinity Property & Gas, 2013 WL 1346615, at *1 (Mar. 29, 2013) (portions of a report and recommendation "to which no objections is filed are reviewed only for clear error."). Therefore, this Court reviews for clear error the portions of a report and recommendation to which no party has objected.
A. The Magistrate Judge Properly Converted the Defendants' Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to a Rule 56 Motion for Summary Judgment.
Ms. Miner contends that Judge Davis erred when he converted the defendants' Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss to a Rule 56 motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 30, ¶¶ 2, 11). The Court disagrees. Rule 12(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides:
If, on a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) or 12(c), matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule 56. All parties must be given a reasonable opportunity to present all the material that is pertinent to the motion.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d). In the Eleventh Circuit, "whenever a district judge converts a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss into one for summary judgment by considering matters outside the pleadings the judge must give all parties ten-days notice that he is so converting the motion." Christy v. Sheriff of Palm Beach Cnty., Fla., ...