duties, and because the relationship of the employer with exempt employees differs significantly from the employer's relationship with non-exempt employees, with regard to, inter alia, methods of payment of salary and performance evaluation, we believe that plaintiff, for the purposes of this [summary judgment] motion, has satisfied the standard of a 'new and distinct relationship (emphasis added)).
D. District of Columbia Human Rights Act Claims
The proposed amended complaint seeks to add a count, on behalf of five individual plaintiffs as well as the class, for alleged violations of the District of Columbia Human Rights Act (DCHRA), D.C. Code Ann. § 1-2501. However, the Court will deny leave to file these amendments because the DCHRA claims are beyond the proper bounds of this Court's subject-matter jurisdiction and/or are barred by the applicable statute of limitations.
With one exception, it would not be proper for the Court to exercise subject-matter jurisdiction over the individual plaintiffs' proposed DCHRA claims. The only way that the Court could have subject-matter jurisdiction over these "state-law" claims is under some sort of "pendent" jurisdiction theory. Except for the plaintiff Ford's proposed DCHRA claim,
however, the other four individual plaintiffs' claims do not fall within the established framework for the exercise of any type of "pendent" jurisdiction. Because the § 1981 claims of these four plaintiffs (Brereton, Scott, Waldron, and Walker) do not survive this Opinion in the aftermath of Patterson and its progeny, their proposed DCHRA claims do not qualify for "pendent claim" jurisdiction, which enables federal courts to decide a plaintiff's state-law claim if it is derived from a common nucleus of operative fact as -- and is pendent to -- the same plaintiff's federal claim. See United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 725-27, 16 L. Ed. 2d 218, 86 S. Ct. 1130 (1966); District of Columbia Common Cause v. District of Columbia, 858 F.2d 1, 10 (D.C. Cir. 1988); see also Huffman v. Hains, 865 F.2d 920, 922 (7th Cir. 1989). There is no authority to the effect that pendent claim jurisdiction permits one plaintiff's state-law claim to ride into federal court on the jurisdictional coat-tails of another plaintiff's federal claim, no matter how closely the federal and state-law claims are related.
Moreover, the four individual plaintiffs' proposed DCHRA claims do not fit the typical mold of "pendent party" jurisdiction, "that is, jurisdiction over parties not named in any claim independently cognizable by the federal court." Finley v. United States, 490 U.S. 545, 109 S. Ct. 2003, 2006, 104 L. Ed. 2d 593 (1989). Most of the time, courts considering the assertion of pendent party jurisdiction must decide whether "a plaintiff, who has asserted a claim against one defendant with respect to which there is federal jurisdiction, [should be allowed] to join an entirely different defendant on the basis of a state-law claim over which there is no independent basis of federal jurisdiction." Aldinger v. Howard, 427 U.S. 1, 15, 49 L. Ed. 2d 276, 96 S. Ct. 2413 (1976) (emphasis added); see also Finley, 109 S. Ct. at 2005. This type of pendent party jurisdiction is inapposite in the instant case because the pendent parties in the proposed DCHRA claims are not defendants but are plaintiffs asserting new state-law claims against the same defendant.
Thus, the only other theory under which this Court could arguably exercise subject-matter jurisdiction over the four individual plaintiffs' proposed DCHRA claims would be "pendent party plaintiff" jurisdiction. It should be noted, however, that this theory of federal court jurisdiction -- which would greatly expand Congress' statutory grant of limited jurisdiction to the federal judiciary -- has gained little acceptance. With regard to diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, for example, the Supreme Court has held that each plaintiff must satisfy the jurisdictional "amount in controversy" requirement separately and that any plaintiff who fails to do so must be dismissed. Zahn v. International Paper Co., 414 U.S. 291, 300-01, 38 L. Ed. 2d 511, 94 S. Ct. 505 (1973); see also Finley, 109 S. Ct. at 2010 ("All our cases -- Zahn, Aldinger, and [ Owen Equipment Erection Co. v.] Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 98 S. Ct. 2396, 57 L. Ed. 2d 274 (1978) -- have held that a grant of jurisdiction over claims involving particular parties does not confer jurisdiction over additional claims by or against different parties." (emphasis added)); Aldinger, 427 U.S. at 15 ("The addition of a completely new party would run counter to the well-established principle that federal courts, as opposed to state trial courts of general jurisdiction, are courts of limited jurisdiction marked out by Congress."). Furthermore, the lower federal courts have, for the most part, refused to exercise pendent party plaintiff jurisdiction. See, e.g., Fritts v. Niehouse, 604 F. Supp. 823, 829-30 (W.D. Mo. 1984) ("Accordingly, the Court holds that it lacks pendent plaintiff jurisdiction over Joyce Fritts's claim for loss of consortium. This holding is in accord with the decisions of virtually all federal courts that have considered this issue recently." (citing cases)), aff'd, 774 F.2d 1170 (8th Cir. 1985); Marcano v. Northwestern Chrysler-Plymouth Sales, Inc., 550 F. Supp. 595, 605 (N.D. Ill. 1982) (although Provencio joins the other plaintiff in two state-law claims, "Provencio has no federal claim . . . [and therefore] cannot invoke the doctrine of pendent jurisdiction to adjudicate her state claims in this forum"). In light of the foregoing discussion, the Court, in the exercise of its discretion, will not overextend Congress' grant of limited jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 by resting an assertion of jurisdiction over the proposed "state-law" DCHRA claims upon the too-thin reed of pendent party plaintiff jurisdiction.
Moreover, this case is a particularly inappropriate candidate for pendent party plaintiff jurisdiction because the proposed DCHRA claims of the four individual plaintiffs are not sufficiently related to the remaining federal claims. The two surviving § 1981 claims (the Ford promotion-denial claim and the Wood refusal-to-hire claim) have little in common with the proposed DCHRA claims (the Waldron promotion-denial and constructive discharge claims and the Brereton, Scott, and Walker discharge claims). It is simply not enough that the federal and the state-law claims both name the same defendant and allege a pattern of discriminatory conduct or that the plaintiffs seek to assert the federal claims on behalf of a class of similarly-situated persons. On those rare occasions when a court has exercised pendent party plaintiff jurisdiction, the state-law claims have been much more closely related to the federal claims. See Rodriguez v. Comas, 888 F.2d 899, 903-06 (1st Cir. 1989) (district court did not abuse its discretion in exercising pendent party plaintiff jurisdiction when state-law emotional distress claims of wife shared common nucleus of operative fact with husband's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim); Weinberger v. Kendrick, 698 F.2d 61, 76-77 (2d Cir. 1982) (approving assertion of pendent plaintiff party jurisdiction when state common law fraud claims shared common nucleus of operative fact with federal rule 10b-5 claims and federal court was only forum that could render complete disposition of federal and related state-law claims), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 818, 78 L. Ed. 2d 89, 104 S. Ct. 77 (1983). Because the DCHRA claims do not share a common nucleus of operative fact with either of the remaining federal claims, the Court sees no reason to take the unusual step of exercising pendent party plaintiff jurisdiction in this case.
Furthermore, the applicable statute of limitations is fatal to the one DCHRA claim (the Ford promotion-denial claim) over which the Court could properly exercise pendent claim jurisdiction and also provides an alternative ground for the Court's rejection of the DCHRA claims over which it has already declined to exercise subject-matter jurisdiction. It is well-established that the statute of limitations for DCHRA claims is one year. D.C. Code Ann. § 1-2544, Banks v. Chesapeake & Potomac Tel. Co., 256 U.S. App. D.C. 22, 802 F.2d 1416, 1419 (D.C. Cir. 1986). The original complaint in this case was filed November 7, 1986. Consequently, assuming arguendo that the DCHRA claims in the proposed amended complaint would "relate back" to the date of the original complaint, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c), any such claim based on allegedly discriminatory conduct that occurred before November 7, 1985 would be time-barred.
The plaintiff Ford alleges that the defendant failed to promote her from Supervisor, Documents Security to Manager in violation of the DCHRA. Proposed Amended Complaint at paras. 20c, 26. However, in her deposition she indicates that the manager's position she was seeking was filled in January 1984. Defendant's Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend Complaint, Ford Dep. at 175-78. Thus, the DCHRA claim based upon that alleged promotion denial would be filed at least nine months after the expiration of the statute of limitations.
Even if the Court could properly assert subject-matter jurisdiction over the plaintiff Waldron's DCHRA claims, they also would be untimely in any event. She alleges that the defendant violated the DCHRA by failing to promote her and then by constructively discharging her. Proposed Amended Complaint at para. 26. However, the plaintiff Waldron's signed letter of resignation, giving the defendant two-weeks notice, was dated and tendered November 1, 1985. See Defendant's Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend Complaint, Waldron Dep. at 242-45 & Attachment A. While the letter indicates that the plaintiff Waldron's resignation did not "go into effect" until November 15, 1985, the fact that she signed and tendered the letter on November 1, 1985 proves that the defendant's alleged acts of discrimination which caused her resignation must have occurred on or before November 1, 1985, or almost one week before the cut-off date for the one year statute of limitations period covering her proposed DCHRA claims.
Similarly, even assuming arguendo that the Court could exercise jurisdiction over the plaintiff Walker's proposed DCHRA claim, it also would be untimely. He alleges that he was the victim of discrimination in violation of the DCHRA when the defendant discharged him in February 1984 to achieve a "reduction-in-force." Proposed Amended Complaint at paras. 9, 26. However, on its face this DCHRA claim occurred over two-and-one-half years before the original complaint was filed and therefore clearly would be barred by the statute of limitations.
Finally, especially considering the sweeping failure of the individual plaintiffs' proposed DCHRA claims, the plaintiffs have not demonstrated that the proposed DCHRA claim on behalf of the class would fare any better in surviving the jurisdiction and statute of limitations rulings announced by the Court herein. Therefore, the plaintiffs shall not be permitted, at this time, to amend their complaint by adding a DCHRA claim on behalf of the class.
The Supreme Court's decision in Patterson v. McLean Credit Union, 491 U.S. 164, 105 L. Ed. 2d 132, 109 S. Ct. 2363 (1989), requires this Court to dismiss most of the plaintiffs' complaint as attacking postformation conduct and therefore failing to state a § 1981 claim. The Court dismisses all of the "hostile work environment" and discriminatory termination claims (both on behalf of the individual plaintiffs and the class) and the plaintiff Waldron's promotion-denial claim. Consequently, this case now consists of: (1) the plaintiff Wood's refusal-to-hire claim, which was not subject to the defendant's motion for partial dismissal, as well as any other refusal-to-hire claims brought on behalf of the not-yet-certified class and (2) the promotion-denial claims brought by the plaintiff Ford individually and on behalf of the class. Along similar lines, the Court must also deny -- for the most part -- the plaintiffs' motion for leave to amend their complaint. Only those amendments (Proposed Amended Complaint paras. 13, 20c) going to the promotion-denial claims of the plaintiff Ford in her individual capacity and on behalf of the class shall be permitted.
An Order in accordance with the foregoing Opinion will be issued of even date herewith.
ORDER - April 17, 1990, Filed
In accordance with the Court's Opinion of even date herewith, it is, by the Court, this 16th day of April, 1990,
ORDERED that the defendant's Motion for Partial Dismissal shall be, and hereby is, GRANTED insofar as it pertains to the plaintiffs' "hostile work environment" and discriminatory termination claims and shall be, and hereby is, DENIED insofar as it pertains to the promotion-denial claims brought by the plaintiff Ford in her individual capacity and on behalf of the class; and it is further
ORDERED that the plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File First Amended Complaint shall be, and hereby is, DENIED in PART and GRANTED only insofar as it pertains to paragraphs 13 and 20c of the plaintiffs' proposed first amended complaint, which deal with the promotion-denial claims not dismissed in the first paragraph of this Order.