PADILLA RUIZ v. John Cray; John Doe; Richard Roe, and their respective insurance companies, Defendants. (2020)
United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.
Raul PADILLA-RUIZ; Vivian J. Franceschini-Rodriguez; Conjugal Partnership, Legal Society of Earnings, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES, INC., Defendant-Appellee, John Cray; John Doe; Richard Roe, and their respective insurance companies, Defendants.
Decided: February 12, 2020
Before GREGORY, Chief Judge, KING, Circuit Judge, and TRAXLER, Senior Circuit Judge.
Juan R. Rodriguez, RODRIGUEZ LOPEZ LAW OFFICES, P.S.C., Ponce, Puerto Rico, for Appellants. Adam B. Pratt, KAUFMAN & CANOLES, P.C., Williamsburg, Virginia, for Appellee.
Raúl Padilla-Ruiz, Vivian J. Franceschini-Rodriguez, and their Conjugal Partnership (hereinafter Appellants) appeal the district court's order granting Communications Technologies, Inc.’s (COMTek) objections to the magistrate judge's recommendation, overruling Appellants’ objections to the magistrate judge's recommendation, and granting summary judgment to COMTek on Appellants’ complaint. COMTek has moved for summary disposition. We conclude that Appellants’ brief is not “manifestly unsubstantial,” 4th Cir. R. 27(f), but we have reviewed the record and find no reversible error.
On appeal, we confine our review to the issues raised in the appellant's brief. See 4th Cir. R. 34(b). Because Appellants’ opening brief does not challenge the district court's dispositive conclusions on their Puerto Rico tort claims, they have waived appellate review of those claims. Grayson O Co. v. Agadir Int'l LLC, 856 F.3d 307, 316 (4th Cir. 2017) (“A party waives an argument by failing to present it in its opening brief or by failing to develop its argument—even if its brief takes a passing shot at the issue.” (alterations and internal quotation marks omitted)).
We review the district court's grant of summary judgment de novo on Appellants’ claims pursuant to the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”), 38 U.S.C. §§ 4301-4335 (2018). As the district court noted, there was no evidence that Padilla-Ruiz's supervisors in the military, with whom COMTek was contracted, were agents of COMTek, so their alleged prejudice against Padilla-Ruiz's military service does not establish a prima facie USERRA claim. See 38 U.S.C. § 4311(a), (c); Staub v. Proctor Hosp., 562 U.S. 411, 418, 131 S.Ct. 1186, 179 L.Ed.2d 144 (2011) (providing standard). Instead, the record indicates that Padilla-Ruiz was ultimately terminated by his supervisor at COMTek based on findings that Padilla-Ruiz had lied about his work schedule and timecards. Accordingly, the district court properly granted summary judgment to COMTek.
Accordingly, although we deny COMTek's motion for summary affirmance, we affirm the district court's judgment. We dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before this court and argument would not aid the decisional process.
Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion.
Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.
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