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Grove v. Aramark Corp.

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

September 30, 2019

REGINA GROVE, Plaintiff,
v.
ARAMARK CORP., et al., Defendants.

          Carlson Magistrate Judge

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ROBERT D. MARIANI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION and PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff Regina Grove filed this action under Title VII against Defendants Aramark Corporation, Jim Castaldi, Elaine Evans, Precious Gillard, and Jan Krushinski alleging employment discrimination and retaliation. (Doc. 1 at 1.) Defendants Aramark Campus, LLC ("Aramark"), and Aramark employees Evans, Gillard, and Krushinski filed Aramark Defendant's [sic] Motion to Dismiss ("Motion to Dismiss") (Doc. 14) seeking dismissal of all claims against them.[1] Aramark Defendants attached numerous exhibits to their Motion to Dismiss and supporting brief. (See Docs. 14-2 through 14-26, 15-1 through 15-25.)

         The motion was referred to Magistrate Judge Carlson who determined that the Motion to Dismiss should be converted to a motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 30.) In accordance with the Third Circuit's directive in Renchenski v. Williams, 622 F.3d 315, 339 (3d Cir. 2010), he advised the parties of his intention to consider matters outside the pleadings and provided them notice and an opportunity to be heard with his July 22, 2019, Order. (Doc. 30 at 1-2.) Magistrate Judge Carlson allowed the parties the option to "file supplemental briefs addressing this case through the perspective of a summary judgment motion, or in the alternative file objections to the conversion of this motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgment." (Id. at 2.) He directed that "plaintiff may file any objections or a supplemental brief addressing the motion as a motion for summary judgment on or before August 12, 2019, and the defendant may file a supplemental response on or before August 26, 2019." (Id.) Plaintiff did not file either by the deadline set in the Order or since. Aramark Defendants filed a timely supplemental brief. (Doc. 31.)

         Magistrate Judge Carlson issued his R&R on September 12, 2019. (Doc. 32.) He recommends that Aramark Defendants' motion (Doc. 14), which was converted to a motion for summary judgment, be granted. (Doc. 32 at 26.) Plaintiff did not file objections to the recommended disposition and the time for doing so has passed.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A District Court may "designate a magistrate judge to conduct hearings, including evidentiary hearings, and to submit to a judge of the court proposed findings of fact and recommendations for the disposition" of certain matters pending before the Court. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). If a party timely and properly files a written objection to a Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation, the District Court "shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." Id. at § 636(b)(1)(C); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3); M.D. Pa. Local Rule 72.3; Brown v. Astrue, 649 F.3d 193, 195 (3d Cir. 2011). "If a party does not object timely to a magistrate judge's report and recommendation, the party may lose its right to de novo review by the district court." EEOC v. City of Long Branch, 866 F.3d 93, 99-100 (3d Cir. 2017). However, "because a district court must take some action for a report and recommendation to become a final order and because the authority and the responsibility to make an informed, final determination remains with the judge, even absent objections to the report and recommendation, a district court should afford some level of review to dispositive legal issues raised by the report." Id. at 100 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has described the appropriate level of review as "'reasoned consideration.'" Id. (quoting Henderson v. Carlson, 812 F.2d 874, 878 (3d Cir. 1987)).

         III. ANAYLSIS

         Upon "reasoned consideration" review of the R&R, the Court concludes that Magistrate Judge Carlson should not have converted the motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgment and, having done so, he did not apply the appropriate standard in reaching his conclusion that Aramark Defendants are entitled to summary judgment.

         At the outset of his discussion, Magistrate Judge Carlson stated the following:

Relying upon a body of what are now undisputed facts that Grove has not chosen to challenge, the defendants contend that Grove's claims fail on their merits because she has not sufficiently alleged or shown any facts that support a claim of racial discrimination or retaliation and the uncontested facts defat [sic] her claims as a matter of law.... We agree... and[] we will recommend that the defendants' motion be granted.

         (Doc. 32 at 2.) The Court finds this approach to addressing what was originally a motion to dismiss insufficient to permit a ...


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