Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

HARRIS v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


October 22, 1986

Julia A. HARRIS, Plaintiff,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, et al., Defendants

The opinion of the court was delivered by: SPORKIN

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

 SPORKIN, Judge.

 Plaintiff was a voucher examiner for the District of Columbia. In this action she alleges she was reprimanded, denied promotion, and ultimately dismissed from her employment because of gender discrimination on the part of the District and several of its employees. Her complaint states four causes of action -- the first cause of action is for declaratory and injunctive relief under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"); the second cause of action seeks compensatory and punitive damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("§ 1983"); the third cause of action is a common law claim for damages arising from the breach of collective bargaining agreement; and the fourth cause of action is a claim under § 1983 for damages arising from the intentional infliction of emotional distress. The case is before the Court on defendants' motion for summary judgment.

 For the reasons set out more fully below, defendant District of Columbia's summary judgment motion on the § 1983 claim is granted since it is undisputed that no municipal policy or custom contributed to the plaintiff's dismissal. Because the emotional distress action is premised on § 1983 liability, defendants' summary judgment motion with respect to this claim is also granted. Additionally, the Court will not exercise its pendant jurisdiction with respect to the collective bargaining claim. Hence only plaintiff's Title VII action remains and will be heard by this Court on Wednesday, November 12, 1986 at 10:00 am.

 I. BACKGROUND

 From May 22, 1978 until May 9, 1983, plaintiff was employed as a voucher examiner for the Board of Education of the District of Columbia. In her position she processed and prepared vouchers for the various offices within the school system. In March of 1980, plaintiff reported to her supervisor what she believed to be improper telephone charges by a school board member; her allegation is that this incident began a pattern of discrimination against her. Answers to Def. Interrogatories and Request for Production of Documents, at 20 ("Answer to to Def. Interrogatory 28").

 Specifically, plaintiff points to four incidents. First, in May of 1980, she was transferred from processing utility bills to processing food service orders -- a transfer which she perceived to be both a demotion and a violation of her union's collective bargaining agreement. Id. On June 10, 1980, plaintiff received a letter of reprimand for refusing to perform her new assignment. Id. Although she pursued a grievance through the union procedure, the reprimand was sustained in a decision dated December 29, 1980. Id.

 Some six months later, plaintiff filed a complaint concerning this same incident with the Equal Employment Officer for the District of Columbia Schools. Declaration of Julia Harris, Appended to Pl. Memorandum in Opposition to the Motion of Def. for Partial Summary Judgment and for Other Relief, at 5 ("Declaration of Julia Harris"). The officer's investigation did "not uncover any discriminatory treatment," Letter of Emanuel Carr to Julia Harris, September 8, 1981, id., at Exhibit 6, and plaintiff was informed of her "right to sue." She then filed a formal complaint with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights on September 18, 1981. Id., at Exhibit 7.

 The second incident plaintiff complains of occurred when, in November of 1981, she received a letter of suspension for refusing to carry out another assignment. Answer to Def. Interrogatory 28. Plaintiff again contested through the union grievance procedure, but when the union "did not pursue it," Declaration of Julia Harris, at 8, she amended her complaint at the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights to include this incident. Id.

 Third, plaintiff received a letter on September 24, 1982 from her supervisor charging her "AWOL" for certain absences; when it was brought to the supervisor's attention that her leave had been approved, the AWOL charge was "modified and plaintiff was placed on LWOP." Answer to Def. Interrogatory 28. She characterizes her supervisor's behavior in this incident as action taken in "bad faith." Id.

 Finally, a fourth incident occurred on April 14, 1983, when plaintiff received another letter of reprimand for refusing to perform mail desk duties; five days later, she was suspended from her job pending her termination on May 9, 1983. Id. She again filed a grievance through the union and again her grievance was denied. Declaration of Julia Harris, at 9. Following her suspension, plaintiff filed a complaint with the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, id. at Exhibit 11, and again with the Office of Human Rights. Id. at Exhibit 12.

 Failing to find the relief she desired, plaintiff commenced this suit on January 16, 1985. *fn1"

 II. SECTION 1983

 Plaintiff's § 1983 action is against the District of Columbia government and Superintendent McKenzie individually.

 A. Defendant District of Columbia

 In her case against the municipality, the District of Columbia, the plaintiff must show: 1) a custom or policy, 2) of the city's policymaker, 3) which was the moving force behind and affirmatively linked to, 4) a deprivation of her constitutional rights. See Monell v. New York City Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 98 S. Ct. 2018, 56 L. Ed. 2d 611 (1978); City of Oklahoma City v. Tuttle, 471 U.S. 808, 105 S. Ct. 2427, 85 L. Ed. 2d 791 (1985). Thus municipal liability is necessarily premised on the demonstrated presence of a government policy or custom. Monell, 436 U.S. at 694, 98 S. Ct. at 2037.

 In their motion for summary judgment, defendants argue that "there has been no allegation nor any evidence presented that any policy of the District of Columbia caused this mistreatment or indeed that any policy of the District of Columbia played any role in her mistreatment." Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Motion of Def. for Partial Summary Judgment, at 6 (emphasis in original). Specifically, defendants point to Interrogatory Nos. 28-32, in which plaintiff was asked to describe the incidents upon which her allegations are based and to state the facts upon which she relies to support her contentions. Defendants correctly point out that "in none of these answers was any policy of the District of Columbia mentioned." Id., at 7.

 Moreover, defendants point to pertinent sections of the District of Columbia Comprehensive Merit Personnel Act of 1978, D.C.Code § 1-601.1 et seq. (1981), and specifically to regulations concerning the Board of Education, 5 DCMR (D.C. Municipal Regulations) Board of Education 1010.1, to indicate that the District's policy is "to insure equality for women in the workplace." Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Motion of Def. for Partial Summary Judgment, at 7. Additionally, the defendants put into evidence, unchallenged, the fact that, according to the report by the D.C. Office of Human Rights, the affirmative action plan by the District of Columbia Public Schools for fiscal year 1983 reflected the following staff distribution by race and sex: Males Females Professional Staff 2,310 Blacks 5,679 Blacks 17 Hispanics 42 Hispanics 17 Asians 18 Asians 273 Others 461 Others 1 Amer. Indian Clerical Staff 289 Blacks 2,390 Blacks 7 Hispanics 17 Hispanics 1 Asian 8 Asians 9 Others 40 Others Service Workers 1,574 Blacks 751 Blacks 12 Hispanics 14 Hispanics 1 Asian 3 Asians 82 Others 19 Others

19861022

© 1992-2004 VersusLaw Inc.



Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.