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WOODRUFF v. DIMARIO

August 22, 2001

STANLEY J. WOODRUFF, SR., PLAINTIFF,
V.
MICHAEL F. DIMARIO, PUBLIC PRINTER, GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, DEFENDANT.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GRANTING THE DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

I. INTRODUCTION

Stanley J. Woodruff, Sr. ("the plaintiff" or "Mr. Woodruff") brings this employment-discrimination case against the United States Government Printing Office ("the defendant" or "GPO"). Mr. Woodruff alleges that the GPO violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., by discriminating against him on the basis of his race (black), color (black), and gender (male), and in retaliation for his prior EEO activities. Specifically, the plaintiff claims that the defendant discriminated against him when the GPO passed him over for the position of Video head deskman and gave the promotion to a white woman. The defendant now moves for summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, the court will grant the defendant's motion on both counts.

II. BACKGROUND

Stanley Woodruff, an African-American man, brings this action against his employer, the United States Government Printing Office, for alleged acts of unlawful employment discrimination and retaliation. See Compl. at 2. He seeks compensatory damages, including back pay and adjustment of benefits, as well as a retroactive promotion. See id. Mr. Woodruff's claims arise from a promotion he applied for but did not receive.*fn1 See Compl. at 8. Although the GPO had identified Mr. Woodruff as one of the seven best qualified candidates for the position, the selecting officers passed him over in favor of a white female, Judith Miller, whom they had also named as one of the seven best qualified candidates. See id.

Mr. Woodruff alleges that Ms. Miller's promotion, which occurred on June 21, 1998, constituted discrimination on the basis of Mr. Woodruff s race (black), color (black), and sex (male), in violation of Title VII. See Compl. at 9. In addition, Mr. Woodruff charges that the GPO violated Title VII by retaliating against him. See id.

The principal factual allegations are as follows. In April 1972, the GPO hired Mr. Woodruff as a security policeman. See Compl. at 6. In 1974, the GPO assigned him to the Composition Division, now the Electronic Photocomposition Division ("EPD"), which was "overwhelmingly comprised" of black men. See id. In 1978, the GPO revamped the EPD with new technology. Mr. Woodruff and several of his coworkers, also black men, brought a racial-discrimination suit against the division for not training them in the new technology. See id. (citing Brewington v. Boyle, Dkt. No. 78-1290 (D.D.C. 1979)). The suit eventually settled and Mr. Woodruff received the training he requested. Thereafter, in 1986, the GPO placed him in the Video Keyboard Section of the EPD as a Printing Specialist. See id. Mr. Woodruff left the Video Keyboard Section by December 1988 and moved to the GPO's Production Control and Scheduling Section, Production Planning and Control Division. See Mot. for Summ. J. n. 1; see also Pl's Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. ("Pl.'s Opp'n"), Woodruff Decl.

Sometime in 1991, Mr. Woodruff was involved in an incident in which he placed a brown paper bag over his head to protest management's decision to hire three groups of 20 employee trainees because in each group black males were allegedly underrepresented. See Pl's Opp'n at 8. On September 4, 1991, Mr. Woodruff filed a formal EEO complaint with the GPO alleging that "white employees were being detailed by the GPO to Capitol Hill to preferred jobs and that Black employees were not given equal opportunities to be detailed to these preferred jobs." See id. at 9. The plaintiff sent a copy of this formal EEO complaint to the Joint Committee on Printing, United States Congress. See id. This EEO complaint generated a letter of inquiry from Congressman Charles Rosen, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Printing, to the then-head of the GPO, Robert W. Houk. See id.

The three managers who selected Judith Miller for promotion to Video head deskman were Charles E. Daily (Foreman, Video Keyboard Section, Shift 1), Robert Schwenk (Superintendent of the EPD), and Glen H. Rottman (Director of Production Services). See Compl. at 8. All three are white men. See id. Mr. Daily was the selecting officer, Mr. Schwenk the concurring officer, and Mr. Rottman the officer who gave final approval to Ms. Miller's selection. See id.

Mr. Woodruff filed this complaint on January 27, 2000.*fn2 At the time, the plaintiff held the position of Printing Specialist in the Production Control and Scheduling Section of the Production Planning and Control Division. See Mot. for Summ. J. n. 1; Pl's Opp'n (Woodruff Decl.). The plaintiff claims that the reasons stated by Mr. Daily, Mr. Schwenk, and Mr. Rottman for denying Mr. Woodruff the promotion to Video head deskman are in reality a pretext for discrimination on the basis of race, color, and gender, and in reprisal for the plaintiffs prior protected activity. See Compl. at 7-8.

On May 10, 2000, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss the retaliation claim for failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). On October 31, 2000, this court held that because the plaintiff need not make a prima-facie case of retaliation at the initial pleading stage, the complaint stated a claim for retaliation on which relief may be granted. See Woodruff v. DiMario, 197 F.R.D. 191 (D.D.C. 2000) (Urbina, J.) (citing Sparrow v. United Air Lines, Inc., 216 F.3d 1111, 1114-15 (D.C.Cir. 2000)). Accordingly, the court denied the defendants' motion to dismiss the retaliation claim. See id.

Now that discovery has closed, the defendants move for summary judgment on the plaintiff's discrimination and retaliation claims.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Legal Standard for Summary Judgment

Summary judgment is appropriate when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986); Diamond v. Atwood, 43 F.3d 1538, 1540 (D.C.Cir. 1995). To determine what facts are "material," a court must look to the substantive law on which each claim rests. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). A "genuine issue" is one whose resolution could ...


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