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NELSON v. GREENSPAN

August 15, 2001

ROSEMARIE L. NELSON, PLAINTIFF,
V.
ALAN GREENSPAN, CHAIRMAN, BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM, DEFENDANT.



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

  MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

Plaintiff Rosemarie L. Nelson brings this Title VII action against Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, in his official capacity. Pending before this Court is defendant's motion to dismiss the First Amended Complaint or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. Upon careful consideration of the motion and the opposition thereto, it is hereby

ORDERED that defendant's motion to dismiss, [25-1], is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART; and it is

FURTHER ORDERED that defendant's motion for summary judgment, [25-2], is GRANTED; and it is

FURTHER ORDERED that this case is DISMISSED.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff joined the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ("Board") in 1993, working in the Board's Equal Employment Opportunity ("EEO") office as a Grade 25 EEO Specialist. In 1997, plaintiff brought two EEO complaints against the Board, which were resolved by a settlement agreement dated January 7, 1998 ("Settlement Agreement"). Plaintiff released defendant from "any and all claims . . . which she could make on her own behalf" regarding events that occurred up to and including the date of the Agreement. Plaintiff also "waive[d] any right to in any way voluntarily assist any individual or entity in commencing or prosecuting any action or proceeding . . . against the Board."

Under the Settlement Agreement, plaintiff agreed to serve a detail in the Division of Consumer and Community Affairs ("DCCA") for a period of two years in a Grade 26 position. The Settlement Agreement provided that during the detail, DCCA could offer her a permanent position in that division and that if it did not, the Board would find another position for her at the conclusion of the detail. In November 1999, at the request of DCCA management, the position plaintiff occupied in DCCA was converted from a temporary to a permanent position, with plaintiff as the occupant. This effectively ended the detail called for in the Settlement Agreement, replacing it with a permanent position in DCCA. Plaintiff has since been promoted to a Grade 27 Senior Community Affairs Analyst. Plaintiff's performance has consistently been rated "Commendable," a rating which denotes full satisfactory performance.

On January 28, 1999, plaintiff filed this lawsuit seeking to void the Settlement Agreement and alleging discrimination for Board actions before and after the date of the Agreement. Plaintiff initiated contact with an EEO counselor concerning the allegations in the Complaint on February 12, 1999. Plaintiff alleged that she was discriminated against because of her race, Puerto Rican, and national origin, Hispanic, and that she was retaliated against because of her prior protected activity, the complaint she made which led to the Settlement Agreement. She stated to the EEO counselors that on January 8, 1999 her supervisor instructed other supervisors to contact a representative of the Employee Relations Office regarding plaintiffs request to discuss her duties, work assignments, and career enhancement opportunities within DCCA. That same day, her supervisor also told another supervisor that she was not to meet with plaintiff alone under any circumstances. Plaintiff also alleged a class claim involving a pattern and practice of discrimination by the Board against herself and others who assert their rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Plaintiff received counseling on these allegations. Because the complaint contained class allegations, it was immediately referred for processing to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Plaintiff has received a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC.

On a motion to dismiss, this Court agreed with and adopted Magistrate Judge John Facciola's conclusion that plaintiff is bound by the Settlement Agreement, which bars plaintiffs claims predicated on actions before January 7, 1998, including any actions taken consistent with the Settlement Agreement. The court did acknowledge that plaintiff can bring a cause of action based on events occurring after January 7, 1998. The Court then directed plaintiff to file a First Amended Complaint striking any allegations based on events covered by the Settlement Agreement. Plaintiff filed her First Amended Complaint on December 8, 2000, which contains both individual and class allegations of discrimination based on race and national origin and assertions of intentional improper processing of EEO complaints.

II. ANALYSIS

Defendant asserts that plaintiffs claims should be dismissed because 1) she has not exhausted her administrative remedies; 2) she fails to state claims for which relief can be granted; and 3) she lacks standing to bring the class claims alleged. This Court finds that plaintiff has exhausted her administrative remedies, yet fails to state any claims for relief. As such, she lacks standing to bring the class claims asserted.

A. Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

Defendant contends that plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies with respect to certain claims because she did not cite to these allegations in her original EEO complaint. A Title VII plaintiff must exhaust administrative remedies before pursuing his or her claims in federal court. See, e.g., Brown v. Gen. Serv. Admin., 425 U.S. 820, 832-833, 96 S.Ct. 1961, 48 L.Ed.2d 402 (1976); Artis v. Greenspan, 158 F.3d 1301 (D.C.Cir. 1998). A Title VII suit following an EEOC charge "is limited in scope to claims that are like or reasonably related to the allegations of the charge and grow out of such allegations." Park v. Howard Univ., 71 F.3d 904, 907 (D.C.Cir. 1995) (internal citations omitted). While, "the requirement ...


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