Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

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

WILLIAMS v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

February 5, 1996

GERMAINE LEE WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GREEN

 Presently pending is the defendant District of Columbia's motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. Because the parties have not submitted materials beyond the pleadings for the Court's consideration and because discovery has not commenced, the Court will not convert the defendant's motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgment. For the reasons expressed below, the motion to dismiss will be granted in part and denied in part.

 I. Background

 The plaintiff, Germaine Lee Williams ("Williams"), filed this action against the District of Columbia for sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (1988 & Supp. V 1993) and for deprivation of her Fifth Amendment rights under the Civil Rights Act of 1870 ("Section 1983"), 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1988 & Supp. V 1993). Pendent to the federal causes of action are common law claims of assault and battery, negligent training and retention, and intentional infliction of emotional distress under District of Columbia law. Because this matter is before the Court on the defendant's motion to dismiss, the Court assumes true those facts offered by the plaintiff, Williams. Zoelsch v. Arthur Andersen & Co., 262 U.S. App. D.C. 300, 824 F.2d 27, 33 (D.C. Cir. 1987).

 Since December 5, 1988, Williams has worked for the District of Columbia as a Youth Correctional Officer at the Cedar Knoll Detention Facility in Laurel, Maryland. Complaint, at P 5. At Cedar Knoll, Williams is supervised by Barbara Anderson ("Anderson"), whom the plaintiff alleges sexually harassed her from late 1990 until late 1992. Id. at PP 8-10.

 Williams avers that the sexual harassment by Anderson was both verbal and physical in nature. Commencing in January of 1991, Anderson made comments regarding Williams' physical appearance, including statements about the size of Williams breasts and the color of her bras. Id. at P 13. These statements increased in frequency as 1991 progressed and bothered Williams so much that she would wear a winter coat during the summer to prevent Anderson from seeing her body. Id. at P 14.

 At some point, Anderson asked Williams to go away with her. Id at P 15. Williams rejected Anderson's overtures and Anderson embarked upon a course of retaliatory conduct. Id. at PP 16-17. Anderson changed Williams' work assignments, id. at P 17, including assigning Plaintiff Williams to work directly with her. Id. at P 20. While working with Williams, Anderson would touch the plaintiff's breasts and rub her breasts against the plaintiff's back. Id. at P 19. Anderson also told Williams that if she did not comply with her wishes, Williams would be fired. Id. at P 23. Anderson, in retaliation for being spurned, would assign Williams work in "high risk troublesome cottages." Id. at P 24. Anderson also treated Williams differently than other employees by placing her on Absent Without Leave (AWOL) status *fn1" if she was one-minute late, or by docking her pay if she was 15 minutes late, even though other employees were treated more liberally. Id. at PP 24-25.

 Williams sought relief and assistance from her supervisors, but initially received none. Id. at P 18. Finally, her request for a shift change was granted, id. at P 22, but Anderson remained as her supervisor and the harassment continued anyway. Id. at PP 26-28. In the fall of 1991, Anderson called Williams at her new assignment and invited her to spend time with Anderson at her cabin. Id. at P 28. Once again, Williams rejected the proposition, stating that she was a happily married heterosexual. Id. at P 29. Williams again complained to management (Assistant Supervisor Underdown), but was told "you just have to put up with it." Id. at P 30. She then sought relief from Acting Superintendent Wormsley, but he canceled each appointment once he learned that the matter involved these allegations against Anderson. Id. at PP 31-32.

 Fifteen months after Anderson began supervising Williams, knowledge of Anderson's sexual harassment was well known among the midnight shift staff Id. at P 41. Apparently, it also became known that Williams had sought relief from management, because on April 21, 1992, Anderson sought Williams out and assaulted her. Id. at P 42. Williams alleges that, after Anderson told the only other person in the canteen room to leave, she slammed Williams into the wall and said: "Bitch, I'm not going to lose my job over you. No matter what you say, I'm going to come out smelling pretty because you are temporary and I have been here too long." Id. Williams tried to leave, but Anderson again slammed her into the wall, severely injuring Williams' back. Id. at P 43.

 After the alleged assault, Anderson denied Williams' request for medical treatment. Id. at P 44. Ultimately, Williams sought medical care, but missed work as a result of the injury and the onset of depression. Id. at PP 47-48. On April 27, 1992, she applied for workers' compensation, but Anderson interfered, delaying submission of the forms and forcing Williams to return to work earlier than her doctor had recommended. Id. at PP 47-49.

 On December 20, 1994, Williams, acting pro se, filed a six-count complaint against the District of Columbia. *fn2" In Count I, she alleges sexual harassment in violation of Title VII. In Count II, she asserts a common law claim against the District of Columbia for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Count III is a claim under Section 1983, alleging that the sexual harassment "was perpetrated under Anderson's authority as a District of Columbia law enforcement official [which] deprived the plaintiff of her constitutional civil rights under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution." Id. at P 60. Count IV is a claim under District of Columbia common law, based upon the District's negligent training and retention of Anderson, whom Williams avers the District knew or should have known had a "propensity for sexual intimidation and the use of unreasonable and excessive force." Id. at P 68. In Counts V and VI, Williams asserts her claims of assault and battery, respectively.

 As relief, Williams seeks compensatory damages in the amount of $ 500,000, punitive damages in the amount of $ 500,000, attorneys' fees and costs. She has demanded a jury trial.

 After Williams filed her complaint in this Court, she moved to a new home, but failed to provide the Court with her new address. On March 17, 1995, she was provided notice at her previous address that unless proof of service was filed with fifteen days, her complaint would be dismissed without prejudice. She failed to respond and, on June 7, 1995, her complaint was dismissed. On July 11, 1995, the Court reinstated her complaint, based upon her motion in which she alleged that she had lost her home after the defendant terminated her workers' compensation benefits in January of 1995.

 On August 21, 1995, the Court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss the District of Columbia Department of Human Services as a defendant in this matter, based upon the defendant's argument that the Department of Human Services is not a sui juris entity. The Court also ordered the plaintiff who had at that time retained counsel, to respond to the pending motion to dismiss. On August 31, 1995, Williams, through counsel, filed her opposition to the motion. On November 16, 1995, without any explanation and without ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

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