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KUNDRAT v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

May 24, 2000

BARBARA KUNDRAT, PLAINTIFF,
V.
THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Urbina, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Granting Unopposed Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint; Granting the Superior Court Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

I. INTRODUCTION

This Title VII discrimination and retaliation case comes before the court upon the plaintiff's unopposed motion for leave to amend the complaint and the two original defendants' motion to dismiss. The two parties named as defendants in the original complaint, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and the Joint Committee on Judicial Administration (collectively "the Superior Court" or "the Superior Court defendants"), filed a joint motion to dismiss on the ground that they are non sui juris (not suable entities). The plaintiff filed an opposition to the motion to dismiss, but the defendants did not file a reply. The plaintiff also filed a motion for leave to amend the complaint to add the District of Columbia as a defendant. The Superior Court defendants filed their written consent to the proposed amendment.

For the reasons set forth below, the court will grant the plaintiff leave to amend her complaint and will grant the Superior Court defendants' motion to dismiss.

II. BACKGROUND

The plaintiff, Barbara M. Kundrat, is a white woman who was employed as Deputy Clerk of the D.C. Superior Court from January 1993 until her resignation in August 1998. See Am.Compl. ¶¶ 9, 21. Ms. Kundrat has a law degree and a Master's degree in management from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. Id. ¶ 10. When Ms. Kundrat began her tenure as Deputy Clerk, she supervised nearly 600 Superior Court employees. Id. ¶ 11. As Deputy Clerk, she was first supervised by and reported to the Clerk of the Superior Court ("the Clerk"), Fred Beane.*fn1 Id.

In 1997, Ms. Kundrat filed an internal equal employment opportunity grievance complaining of racially discriminatory treatment by Mr. Delaney and sexual harassment by other employees.*fn2 See Am. Compl. ¶ 16. She alleges that when Mr. Delaney found out about her internal grievance, he stopped speaking to her and retaliated by requiring her to submit a daily time log which was not required of other employees. Id. ¶ 17.

In January 1998, Ms. Kundrat filed a charge of discrimination and retaliation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). See Am.Compl. ¶ 18. The following month, she followed up with a memorandum to the Superior Court's EEO officer and Personnel Director which described the alleged hostile environment and sexual harassment. Id. ¶ 19. Ms. Kundrat alleges that in retaliation for her grievances, Mr. Delaney deprived her of all non-clerical duties, as well as the authority to act in his absence, which he delegated to other employees who had been her subordinates. See Am. Compl. ¶ 20.

Finally, on August 4, 1998, Mr. Delaney issued a notice of proposed suspension to Ms. Kundrat. Id. ¶ 20. Ms. Kundrat was so distraught by the suspension notice that she left the building immediately and resigned her position as Deputy Clerk the following day, August 5, 1998. Id. ¶ 21. She essentially characterizes her resignation as a constructive discharge which became necessary because Mr. Delaney had made her "work situation so intolerable that she could not continue in her position without injury to her mental health." Id. ¶ 21.

On April 30, 1999, the EEOC sent Ms. Kundrat a "Dismissal and Notice of Rights" which informed her that it was "unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violations of the statutes" and that she had the right to bring suit in federal or state court within 90 days of receiving the Notice. On August 4, 1999, Ms. Kundrat filed a three-count pro se*fn3 complaint in this court, alleging gender discrimination, racial discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"). She seeks reinstatement to the position of Deputy Clerk of the Superior Court, backpay and benefits, compensatory damages for emotional distress and loss of personal and professional reputation ("esteem"), and attorneys' fees and costs. See Am.Compl., Prayer for Relief ¶¶ 2-5. On September 10, 1999 the Superior Court and Joint Committee filed an answer.

III. DISCUSSION

A. The Plaintiff's Unopposed Motion for Leave to Amend ...

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