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LEWIS v. BOOZ-ALLEN & HAMILTON
June 20, 2001
RONALD O. LEWIS, PLAINTIFF,
BOOZ-ALLEN & HAMILTON, INC. DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina, United States District Judge.
GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART THE DEFENDANT'S MOTION IN LIMINE;
DENYING THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STRIKE BERNARD SISKIN AS AN EXPERT
WITNESS; DENYING THE DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
This section 1981 matter comes before the court on three motions: the
defendant's motion for summary judgment, the defendant's motion to
exclude certain statistical evidence, and the plaintiff's motion to
strike Dr. Bernard Siskin as an expert witness. The plaintiff, Ronald O.
Lewis (the plaintiff or Mr. Lewis), brings suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1981,
claiming that Booz-Allen & Hamilton (the defendant or Booz-Allen) refused
to promote him, fired him, and engaged in unlawful discrimination against
him because of his race. Since a motion for summary judgment requires an
examination of the entire record, including all pleadings and all
admissible evidence,*fn1 the court will first address the evidentiary
motions. Upon consideration of these motions, their supporting
documents, and the entire record therein, the court will deny in part and
grant in part the defendant's motion to exclude statistical evidence. In
addition, the court will deny the plaintiff's motion to strike Dr.
Bernard Siskin as an expert witness. Lastly, because a genuine issue
exists as to a material fact, the court will deny the defendant's motion
for summary judgment.
Ronald O. Lewis, an African-American man, is an information-technology
professional with a bachelor's degree in Engineering and a Master's degree
in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. See Am. Compl. & 2.
Booz-Allen, a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business
in Virginia, is an international management and technology consulting
firm with more than 100 offices around the world and more than 9,000
employees. See Mot. for Summ. J. at 3; Ans. to Am. Compl. (Ans.) ¶¶ 2,
3. In 1994, Booz-Allen hired Mr. Lewis, who worked at the company for
five years until it fired him in 1999. See Am. Compl. & 1, 49.
Booz-Allen is divided into two business units: the Worldwide
Technology Business (WTB), where Mr. Lewis worked, and the Worldwide
Commercial Business (WCB). See Am. Compl. & 6; Mot. for Summ. J. at 3.
WTB is divided into five client-service teams, which provide consulting
services to government clients. See id. Accordingly, Booz-Allen must
operate in conformance with both federal laws*fn2 and its own ethics
rules.*fn3 See Mot. for Summ. J. at 4.
In January 1994, Booz-Allen hired Mr. Lewis at a salary of $80,000 to
work as a Senior Associate in its Lexington Park, Maryland office. See
Mot. for Summ. J. at 4, Ex. 9; Pl.'s Opp'n to Mot. for Summ. J. (Pl.'s
Opp'n) at 2. The company considers Senior Associates, Principals and Vice
Presidents as management, and lists five criteria for promotion to
partnership: business development, client relationship, technical
ability, people development, and leadership. See Mot. for Summ. J. at 5;
Pl.'s Opp'n at 2.
During his first two years at Booz-Allen, Mr. Lewis performed well by
all accounts. See Mot. for Summ. J. at 5; Pl.'s Opp'n at 11. Despite some
concerns about his personnel-management skills, his superiors rated Mr.
Lewis's first-year performance as excellent or exceptional in every
category. See Mot. for Summ. J. at 5. Mr. Lewis's overall performance
earned him a $5,000 raise. See id. The following year Booz-Allen promoted
Mr. Lewis to Principal and awarded him another $5,000 raise. See id.
In his third year, 1996, Mr. Lewis received a $10,000 raise after his
as Principal. See id. To enhance his career and obtain
access to a broader set of clients, Mr. Lewis requested a transfer to
Booz-Allen's main office in McLean, Virginia. See id. Mr. Lewis requested
the move after noticing what he perceived as a racially discriminatory
environment wherein partners charged with the responsibility for
mentoring and supporting him did not do so. See Pl.'s Opp'n at 4.
Booz-Allen granted Mr. Lewis's request for a transfer and he began
working at the McLean office in 1996. See Mot. for Summ. J. at 6. The
instant case centers on events that took place between January and
October of 1997. In January 1997, the United States Air Force awarded the
Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) Program contract to Booz-Allen. See
Mot. for Summ. J. at 6, Ex. 16. As manager of the performance of the
contract, Mr. Lewis handled the bidding on the ITS contract. The original
bid submitted to the Air Force involved in-house development of software
by Booz-Allen for use by the Air Force. The bid did not mention the
possibility of purchasing ready-made software. See Pl.'s Opp'n at 26. In a
1997 appraisal, Mr. Lewis's supervisors commended him for the key win on
the ITS Contract, noting that he had developed a strong market focus
through his leadership. See Mot. for Summ. J. at 6, Ex. 19; Pl.'s Opp'n
While managing the performance of the ITS contract, Mr. Lewis learned
of Nereus, a commercial off the shelf (COTS) product created by Vicom
Multimedia, a Canadian company. See Pl.'s Opp'n at 25. Nereus is a
multimedia publishing system that can be used in the ITS program rather
than creating new software. See Mot. for Summ. J. at 10; Pl.'s Opp'n at
25. Mr. Lewis conducted negotiations with Vicom Multimedia to purchase
the multimedia software and visited Vicom's headquarters in Edmonton,
Alberta in May 1997. See Pl.'s Opp'n at 25. After Vicom demonstrated the
product, Mr. Lewis told Vicom that Booz-Allen would want to use the
software on the ITS program if the Air Force approved its use and
purchase. See Mot. for Summ. J. at 25.
Booz-Allen's original bid to the Air Force did not include the purchase
of software. See Pl.'s Opp'n at 25-26. Rather, it entailed the in-house
development of software for use in the ITS program. See id. Between May
and August of 1997, Mr. Lewis, along with Jerry Keybl and Brian Padgett,
conducted an evaluation of the Nereus software to determine whether it
was suitable for the ITS program, and whether Booz-Allen could justify
the software purchase to the Air Force. See Pl.'s Opp'n at 26. On July
8, 1997, during an in-progress review, Mr. Lewis informed the Air Force
of Booz-Allen's intention to use the Nereus software on the ITS program.
See Mot. for Summ. J. at 26, Ex. 102; Pl.'s Opp'n at Ex. M, Ex. O.
On July 31, 1997, Sharon Hines, Vicom's primary negotiator, sent a
letter (the July 31 letter) to Mr. Lewis concerning the status of
negotiations. See Mot. for Summ. J. at 9. The July 31 letter was a
business proposal sent to outline the framework for an acceptable
business relationship, and included a proposal for the scope of the
software license, the price of the license, and the length of an
evaluation period for the Pilot Project. See id. On August 7, 1997, at
another in-progress review, Booz-Allen formally recommended to the Air
Force that it authorize purchase of the Nereus software. See id. at 10;
Pl.'s Opp'n at 27. On August 28, 1997, Mr. Lewis sent a document entitled
Justification for Purchase of the Nereus Software recommending that the
Government utilize the software because it
would save the Government
money. See Mot. for Summ. J. at 10. The next day, Ms. Hines confirmed in
a letter dated August 29 (the August 29 letter) that the two parties had
work[ed] out the details of a business relationship, which included the
potential purchase of the software license. See id. at 10. The August 29
letter stated that if the Nereus software passed the 90-day evaluation,
Booz-Allen would buy the software license. See id. The letter included a
Pilot Program Agreement, which stated that the evaluation period would
begin on September 15 and end no later than December 15, 1997. See Mot.
for Summ. J. at 11. On September 22, the government sent written approval
to purchase the software. See id; Pl.'s Opp'n at 28.
Less than two weeks later, on October 2, 1997, the government issued a
Stop Work order on the ITS Contract, instructing Booz-Allen to halt work
on the project. See Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. 20. The government indicated
that funding cuts made it necessary to reassess the status of the ITS
program. See id.
In November 1997, Mr. Lewis began to organize an effort to bid for
another Air Force contract called Trac2es.*fn4 See Mot. for Summ. J.
at 6; Pl.'s Opp'n at 15. Trac2es was a large system-integration project
with a contract valued at $300 million over a 10-year time frame. See
Mot. for Summ. J. at 7; Pl.'s Opp'n at 15. Mr. Lewis served as the
project's proposal manager. See id.
During this bidding period, Mr. Lewis says he encountered various forms
of discrimination, including that (1) Mr. Lewis's manager, Mr.
Picarelli, declined to provide routine support to Lewis when Mr. Lewis
was having trouble keeping his staff billable*fn5; (2) Mr. Lewis invited
Mr. Picarelli, who did not attend, to a Red Team review meeting to
critique the proposal and provide input; and (3) Mr. Picarelli did not
attend any of the practice sessions for the oral presentation that Mr.
Lewis was preparing. See Pl.'s Opp'n at 15. Finally, Mr. Picarelli
allegedly told Mr. Lewis that he had to win the Trac2es or another
important contract (known as the AETC project) to have a future at
Booz-Allen. See Pl.'s Opp'n at 15.
In May 1998, Mr. Lewis received another performance appraisal in which
he received an overall evaluation of maintaining.*fn6 See Mot. for
Summ. J. at 7. The appraisal detailed the strengths and weaknesses of
Mr. Lewis's performance, including that his staff perceived him as: (1)
taking credit for his staff's work or successes (this has generated
dissatisfaction); (2) claiming credit for his client's work; (3)
offending the client (resulting in the client's refusal to work with
him); and (4) disregarding what other people think is important about a
client relationship or issue. See id. Mr. Lewis received this appraisal
during a counseling session with Mr. Picarelli and Mr. Bollettino, in
which they discussed the problems with his performance, including his
alleged shortcomings in areas of leadership and people development. See
id. They suggested he attend leadership counseling. See id.
submitting the Trac2es proposal to the Air Force, Mr. Lewis met with a
member of Booz-Allen's Board of Directors, Joe Garner, to discuss how he
had been treated during the course of the proposal. See id. Mr. Garner's
response to Lewis was that Booz-Allen had a tough culture that wasn't
fore [sic] everybody. See Pl.'s Opp'n at 16. Soon after that meeting, in
August 1998, the Air Force awarded the contract to Booz-Allen and Mr.
Lewis decided to remain at the firm. See Pl.'s Opp'n at 16; Mot. for
Summ. J. at 7. The company named Mr. Lewis the program manager of the
contract. See Mot. for Summ. J. at 7. In October 1998, Brian Padgett,
Mr. Lewis's subordinate, resigned and notified Booz-Allen that Mr. Lewis
had instructed him to backdate (by 60 days) two separate dates in a
document. See id.; Pl.'s Opp'n at 32. The document in question was the
August 29, 1997 letter setting forth the terms of the business
relationship between Booz-Allen and Vicom Multimedia concerning the
potential purchase of the Nereus software license for use in the ITS
contract. See Mot. for Summ. J. at 8; Pl.'s Opp'n at 32.
Mr. Padgett later provided Art Fritzon, an IT team Vice President, with
supporting documents and information about the backdated document. Mr.
Padgett also told Mr. Fritzon that Mr. Lewis had instructed him to obtain
a copy of the letter with the changed dates after the Government had
issued a stop-work order for the ITS contract. See Mot. for Summ. J. at
8; Pl.'s Opp'n at 32. Mr. Fritzon went to see Mr. Lewis about the
document at issue. See Mot. for Summ. J. at 8; Pl.'s Opp'n at 33. Mr.
Lewis admitted that he caused the dates on the documents to be changed
for the Termination of Convenience claim being submitted to the
government for reimbursement of the ITS contract costs. See Mot. for
Summ. J. at 8; Pl.'s Opp'n at 33. Mr. Lewis explained that he had the
dates changed in order to better reflect the reality, that they had in
fact, been evaluating the product all summer long, and that changing the
dates was a more accurate reflection of what had actually occurred. See
Pl.'s Opp'n at 33; Mot. for Summ. J. at 15. The primary issue concerned
whether Booz-Allen, in fact, evaluated the Nereus software product in
July and August 1997, and whether Booz-Allen made a commitment to Vicom
to pay it for the ITS license. See id.
In accordance with Booz-Allen policies and procedures, Mr. Fritzon
referred the matter to the Booz-Allen Law Department for investigation.
See Mot. for Summ. J. at 8. Ivy Martin, Booz-Allen's Associate General
Counsel, conducted an internal investigation. See id. As part of that
investigation, Ms. Martin wanted to determine whether Mr. Lewis had said
truthfully that he had made ...