out of her office. See Pl.'s T.R.O. Mot. at 1;
Compl. at 5; Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. at 5. In response to her
objection, Mr. Andrukonis met with the plaintiff on June 21, 2001, to
discuss the various options at their disposal regarding the plaintiff's
workspace and proposed several options for her consideration. See Def.'s
Statement of Material Facts in Supp. of Mot. for Summ. J. at 5; Def.'s
Mot. for Summ. J. at 6. All of the proposed options were rejected by the
plaintiff. See id. Mr. Andrukonis then asked the plaintiff to suggest an
office location for the plaintiff to occupy. See Def.'s Mot. for Summ.
J. at 6. The plaintiff did not provide any suggestions in response. See
Over the course of the next two weeks, Mr. Andrukonis indicates that he
made repeated attempts to secure the plaintiff an alternative workspace
desirable to the plaintiff. See id. at 6-9. Just as before, the plaintiff
apparently declined to accept any of these proposed alternative office
locations. See id. On July 6, 2001, the plaintiff was shown the work
space in room 4620, which was a semi-private location with two offices in
one work bay, one employee in each office space. See Def.'s Statement of
Material Facts in Supp. of Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. at 5-6. The plaintiff
supposedly indicated that she would not move there either. See id. at 6.
The defendant alleges that no one in the plaintiff's position is
located in an office space similar to room 4620, with the exception of
one employee for documented medical reasons. See Def.'s Mot. for Summ.
J. at 9. The defendant also claims that room 4620 offers the plaintiff a
better workstation than the one she had because it would provide the
plaintiff with the privacy she has requested and keep her separated from
the rest of her division. See id. The office also allows the plaintiff to
keep her telephone access just as the plaintiff had before. See id.
Furthermore, because construction has already commenced, the plaintiff's
old workstation no longer exists and it would be "impossible" for the
plaintiff to return to her old workstation in light of the cost of tearing
down the new construction. See id. at 9-10.
B. Procedural History
This matter came before the court on a complaint filed July 9, 2001,
and a motion for a temporary restraining order ("TRO") filed by the
plaintiff on July 11, 2001. In response, the defendant
filed a motion for summary judgment on July 13, 2001.
After receiving the parties' consent, the court issued an order on July
23, 2001, converting the plaintiff's TRO motion to a motion for a
preliminary injunction. See Order dated July 23, 2001. The plaintiff
opposed the defendant's motion for summary judgment by filing a "motion in
objection to [d]efendant's motion for summary judgment" on August 10,
On August 28, 2001, the plaintiff filed what is titled in part as an
"amended complaint" in order to include a claim for retaliation.*fn2 In
response, the defendant filed a motion to strike the plaintiff's amended
The central issue facing the court is whether to grant the plaintiff's
requested injunctive relief.
A. Legal Standard for Preliminary Injunctive Relief
This court may issue a preliminary injunction only when the movant
(1) a substantial likelihood of success on the
merits, (2) that it would suffer irreparable injury if
the injunction is not granted, (3) that an injunction
would not substantially injure other interested
parties, and (4) that the public interest would be
furthered by the injunction.
Mova Pharmaceutical Corp. v. Shalala, 140 F.3d 1060, 1066 (D.C. Cir.
1998) (quoting CityFed Fin. Corp. v. Office of Thrift Supervision,
58 F.3d 738, 746 (D.C. Cir. 1995)); see also World Duty Free Americas,
Inc. v. Summers, 94 F. Supp.2d 61, 64 (D.D.C. 2000). The district court
must balance the strengths of the moving party's arguments on each of the
four factors. See CityFed Fin. Corp., 58 F.3d at 747. "These factors
interrelate on a sliding scale and must be balanced against each
other."*fn3 Davenport v. International Bhd. of Teamsters,
166 F.3d 356, 361 (D.C. Cir. 1999) (citing Serono Labs. v.
Shalala, 158 F.3d 1313, 1318 (D.C. Cir. 1998)).
In addition, a particularly strong showing on one factor may compensate
for a weak showing on one or more of the other factors. See Serono
Labs., 158 F.3d at 1318. "An injunction may be justified, for example,
where there is a particularly strong likelihood of success on the merits
even if there is a relatively slight showing of irreparable injury."
CityFed Fin. Corp., 58 F.3d at 747. If the plaintiff makes a particularly
weak showing on one factor, however, the other factors may not be enough
to compensate. See Taylor v. Resolution Trust Corp., 56 F.3d 1497, 1507
(D.C. Cir. 1995), amended on other grounds on reh'g, 66 F.3d 1226 (D.C.
It is particularly important for the movant to demonstrate a
substantial likelihood of success on the merits. Cf. Benten v. Kessler,
505 U.S. 1084, 1085 (1992) (per curiam). Indeed, absent a "substantial
indication" of likely success on the merits, "there would be no
justification for the court's intrusion into the ordinary processes of
administration and judicial review." American Bankers Ass'n v. National
Credit Union Admin., 38 F. Supp.2d 114,
140 (D.D.C. 1999) (internal quotation omitted).
Moreover, the other salient factor in the injunctive-relief analysis is
irreparable injury. A movant must "demonstrate at least `some injury'" to
warrant the granting of an injunction. CityFed Fin. Corp., 58 F.3d at
747. Indeed, if a party makes no showing of irreparable injury, the court
may deny the motion for injunctive relief without considering the other
factors. See id. Finally, because preliminary injunctions are
extraordinary forms of judicial relief, courts should grant them
sparingly. See Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997). As the
Supreme Court has said, "[i]t frequently is observed that a preliminary
injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy, one that should not be
granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of
persuasion." Id. (citation omitted). Although the trial court has the
discretion to issue or deny a preliminary injunction, it is not a form of
relief granted lightly. See Ambach v. Bell, 686 F.2d 974, 979 (D.C. Cir.
1982). In addition, any injunction that the court issues must be
carefully circumscribed and tailored to remedy the harm shown. See
National Treasury Employees Union v. Yeutter, 918 F.2d 968, 977 (D.C.
Cir. 1990) (citation omitted).
B. Because the Plaintiff Has Not Exhausted Her Administrative
Remedies, The Court Denies The Plaintiff's Motion for a Preliminary
Injunction for Failing to Demonstrate a Likelihood of Success on the
Merits of Her Title VII Claim
Applying the first prong of the four-part test, the court determines
that the plaintiff has failed to sufficiently demonstrate a likelihood of
success on the merits of the plaintiff's Title VII claim. As suggested
earlier, the D.C. Circuit has held certain that the likelihood of success
on the merits is one of the four criteria needed in order for interim
injunctive relief to issue. See CityFed Fin. Corp., 58 F.3d at 746;
American Bankers Ass'n, 38 F. Supp.2d at 140. Thus, if a plaintiff cannot
show the likelihood that he will succeed on the merits of his claim, even
a very strong showing on the other three factors will not justify the
extraordinary remedy of preliminary injunctive relief. See id.
The defendant argues that it is unlikely for the plaintiff to succeed
on the merits of her claim since the plaintiff did not administratively
present a timely complaint to the Department of Commerce. See Def.'s Mot.
for Summ. J. at 11, 16. As previously noted, the plaintiff states in her
complaint that she did not first present this matter to the EEOC before
filing her claim in this court because the EEOC is "back logged" with
complaints and, as a result, a timely resolution would not be reached in
her case. See Compl. at 9. As such, she requests that the court "send a
stronger message" to the defendants by resolving her claim and thereby
forgiving her unwillingness to submit her claim to the EEOC before filing
the current action with the court. See id. at 10.
The rule is that a federal employee may assert a Title VII complaint in
court only after a timely complaint has been presented administratively
to the agency involved. See Brown v. General Servs. Admin., 425 U.S. 820,
832 (1976); Marshall v. Federal Express Corp., 130 F.3d 1095, 1098 (D.C.
Cir. 1997). The purpose behind this rule is to provide the agency with
notice and an opportunity to rectify any wrong through the conciliation
process or through administrative relief. See Brown
v. General Servs.
Admin., 425 U.S. at 833-35; Brown v. Marsh, 777 F.2d 8, 14 (D.C. Cir.
1985). Additionally, EEOC regulations implemented pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(b) require the aggrieved party to contact a
counselor within 45 days of the alleged discriminatory act. See
29 C.F.R. § 1614.105(a)(1). If a plaintiff fails to exhaust
administrative remedies, that plaintiff may not raise the claims in
district court. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(c). This requirement is "not
a mere technicality;" rather, the D.C. Circuit has clearly admonished
that a district court should not "allow liberal interpretation of an
administrative charge to permit a litigant to bypass the Title VII
administrative process." Park v. Howard University, 71 F.3d 904, 907-09
(D.C. Cir. 1995).
Applying these principles to the case at bar demonstrates that the
plaintiff's failure to exhaust administrative remedies before filing the
present action against the defendant bars her claim for injunctive
relief. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(c). Further, the defendant argues
that, in connection with the requirements imposed by
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(b), the plaintiff had barely begun to meet with
an EEO counselor before initiating the present litigation regarding the
relocation of her work station, and that the defendant was not given
ample time to investigate, mediate, and alleviate the situation. See
Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. at 16. Accordingly, because the plaintiff's
complaint admits, in no uncertain terms, that she did not seek
administrative remedies before initiating the current lawsuit, this court
must dismiss the plaintiff's complaint since it lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). See
FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(1); 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(c); Brown v. General
Servs. Admin., 425 U.S. at 832; Marshall, 130 F.3d at 1098; Park, 71 F.3d
at 907-09; American Bankers Ass'n., 38 F. Supp.2d at 140 (internal
The court's analysis of the plaintiff's preliminary injunction motion
stops here because the court need not determine the viability of the
plaintiff's arguments respecting the remaining three prongs of the
preliminary injunction standard in light of the rule that a preliminary
injunction may only issue when the movant demonstrates a showing that
supports all four of the preliminary injunction factors previously
named. See Mova Pharmaceutical Corp., 140 F.3d at 1066; CityFed Fin.
Corp., 58 F.3d at 746; World Duty Free Americas, Inc., 94 F. Supp.2d at
For all of the foregoing reasons, the court denies the plaintiff's
motion for a preliminary injunction and dismisses the plaintiff's
complaint. Because the court's resolution of the plaintiff's motion for
equitable relief has resulted in a dismissal of the case, all other
pending motions in this matter, including the defendant's motion for
summary judgment are denied as moot. An order directing the parties in a
manner consistent with this Memorandum Opinion is separately and
contemporaneously issued this ___ day of March 2002.
DENYING THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
AND DISMISSING THE PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT
For the reasons stated in the court's Memorandum Opinion separately and
it is this _____ day of March 2002,
ORDERED that the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction is
DENIED; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff's complaint is DISMISSED; and it is
ORDERED that all other pending motions in the case are DENIED AS MOOT.