The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICHEY
The plaintiff, a former federal employee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, is suing the defendant for discrimination in violation of Title VII. The defendant has filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over this claim because it was filed more than thirty days after the plaintiff received the final agency decision. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(c). Both parties agree that the plaintiff received notice of the final agency ruling of no discrimination on December 2, 1989. Although the defendant argues that the plaintiff's suit was not filed until January 11, 1990, a closer inspection of the official Court records in this case indicates that the plaintiff "filed" her Complaint on January 2, 1990, or thirty-one days after receipt of the final agency decision.
Thus, the question before the Court is whether the plaintiff's Complaint should be dismissed because it was filed one day late. If the defendant were correct in arguing that the 30-day time limit is "jurisdictional" -- as opposed to something akin to a statute of limitations -- and therefore not subject to any enlargement or tolling, the Court would have no choice but to grant the motion to dismiss. However, the two cases that the defendant cites as support for the proposition that, in this Circuit, the 30-day time limit is jurisdictional contain out-dated dictum. See Richardson v. Wiley, 186 U.S. App. D.C. 309, 569 F.2d 140, 142 (D.C. Cir. 1977); Coles v. Penny, 174 U.S. App. D.C. 277, 531 F.2d 609, 613 (D.C. Cir. 1976). Settling what previously may have been an open question, a more recent case from this Circuit reversed a district court's ruling that the 30-day time limit was jurisdictional and held that "§ 2000e-16(c) is subject to equitable tolling." Mondy v. Secretary of the Army, 269 U.S. App. D.C. 306, 845 F.2d 1051, 1054 (D.C. Cir. 1988); see also id. at 1054 n. 5 (noting that "jurisdictional" language in Richardson and Hofer v. Campbell, 189 U.S. App. D.C. 197, 581 F.2d 975 (D.C. Cir. 1978), cert. denied, 440 U.S. 909, 59 L. Ed. 2d 457, 99 S. Ct. 1218 (1979), was dictum with no independent reasoning).
In view of the Mondy court's ruling that the 30-day time limit is "non-jurisdictional," id. at 1057, the Court holds that, under the unusual circumstances of this case, the plaintiff's Complaint should not be dismissed for having been filed one day "late".
The defendant has not shown -- and the Court cannot conceive of -- any prejudice resulting from this one-day delay. See id. ("The Army does not assert that it has been disadvantaged by its belated notice of appellant's claim."). In addition, the plaintiff in this case is proceeding, pro se and in forma pauperis, along the complicated Title VII path and has filed a hand-written Complaint and other pleadings. Moreover, the Court takes very seriously its responsibility to further "Title VII's remedial purpose." Id. at 1054 (citing Zipes v. Trans World Airlines, 455 U.S. 385, 398, 71 L. Ed. 2d 234, 102 S. Ct. 1127 (1982)).
In light of the foregoing and the overall record in this case, the Court holds that an overly strict, technical application of Title VII's 30-day time limit to dismiss this Complaint would be not only inequitable and contrary to the remedial principles underlying Title VII but also "'particularly inappropriate in a statutory scheme in which laymen, unassisted by trained lawyers, initiate the process.'" Zipes, 455 U.S. at 397 (quoting Love v. Pullman Co., 404 U.S. 522, 527, 30 L. Ed. 2d 679, 92 S. Ct. 616 (1972)). Dismissal at this stage for the reason that the defendant now urges simply is too drastic and disproportionate a sanction for the plaintiff's de minimis failure of filing her Complaint one day after the expiration of the 30-day time limit.
Accordingly, it is, by the Court, this 16th day of May, 1990,
ORDERED that the defendant's Motion to Dismiss shall be, and ...