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WESLEY v. HOWARD UNIV.

March 6, 1998

BARBARA D. WESLEY, M.D., M.P.H., Plaintiff,
v.
HOWARD UNIVERSITY, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERTSON

MEMORANDUM

 Plaintiff, an African American female perinatologist born in the United States, complains of discrimination on the basis of gender and national origin, conspiracy in restraint of trade, breach of employment contract, defamation, and violation of D.C. Code § 32-1307 by Howard University, its hospital, its medical school, and two individuals. The claims all arise from the suspension of her hospital admitting privileges on October 31, 1996. Defendants have moved to dismiss or in the alternative for summary judgment on all counts. *fn1" My conclusion, for the reasons set forth below, is that all of plaintiff's federal claims fail as a matter of law. I will decline supplemental jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1367 and remand the remaining issues to the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.

 FACTS

 Plaintiff's suspension was for 14 days, pending an investigation of treatment decisions she had made in several cases. A week after her suspension, on November 7, 1996, plaintiff filed a complaint with the District of Columbia Department of Human Rights and Minority Business Development (DHRMBD), alleging that her suspension was discriminatory. The following week, on November 14, 1996, the hospital offered to restore plaintiff's admitting privileges upon condition that her patients be supervised by other doctors until the questions which had led to her suspension could be resolved. Plaintiff refused to accept those conditions and thus effectively refused reinstatement. Thereafter, on November 27 and December 11, 1996, defendants again suspended plaintiff's admitting privileges for 14-day periods. *fn2"

 While negotiations were pending for an informal settlement of plaintiff's claim, the Hospital hired several more doctors in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. One of those doctors, Dr. Sundri Bhagwanani, was appointed director of the perinatal center in the early morning of January 8, 1997, the day that negotiations with plaintiff were to begin. Plaintiff, who apparently interpreted these events as a showing of bad faith, did not attend the scheduled negotiations. Instead, she filed a five-count complaint in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. Defendants removed that action to this court.

 ANALYSIS

 1. Count One

 Plaintiff asserts three statutory bases for her claims of employment discrimination in count one: violation of Title VII (42 U.S.C. § 2000(e)), contract discrimination in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and civil rights conspiracy in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985. *fn3"

 Title VII

 Plaintiff's Title VII claim is barred because she never filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1). Plaintiff admits that she has no "right to sue" letter but argues that she was not required to file a charge with the EEOC because the District of Columbia is a "deferral state" for Title VII purposes. The argument fails. The District of Columbia's status as a deferral state does not eliminate the need to file an EEOC complaint, but only extends the time for filing with the EEOC to 300 days from the date of the alleged discriminatory act. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)(1); see also Mohasco Corp. v. Silver, 447 U.S. 807, 65 L. Ed. 2d 532, 100 S. Ct. 2486 (1980). *fn4"

 Section 1981

 Gender claims are not cognizable under § 1981. National origin discrimination is cognizable under § 1981 only if based on racial or ethnic characteristics associated with the national origin in question. St. Francis College v. Al-Khazraji, 481 U.S. 604, 613, 107 S. Ct. 2022, 95 L. Ed. 2d 582 (1987). Plaintiff does not allege that defendants have discriminated against her based on racial or ethnic characteristics associated with being born in the United States. Her § 1981 claim must accordingly be dismissed.

 Section 1985

 Section 1985 does not establish substantive rights but rather protects the rights secured by the Fourteenth Amendment. See Great Amer. Fed. Sav. & Loan Assoc. v. Novotny, 442 U.S. 366, 372, 60 L. Ed. 2d 957, 99 S. Ct. 2345 (1979). Section 1985 claims therefore require a cognizable predicate act of discrimination. See Johnson v. Greater Southeast Community Hosp. Corp., 903 F. Supp. 140, 153 (D.D.C. 1995). In this case, that means that plaintiff's § 1985 claim can succeed only to the extent that her § 1981 ...


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