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Woodruff v. Mineta

August 7, 2002

PHILLIP S. WOODRUFF, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NORMAN Y. MINETA, SECRETARY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina United States District Judge

Document Nos. 8, 12

MEMORANDUM OPINION

DENYING IN PART AND GRANTING IN PART THE DEFENDANT'S PARTIAL MOTION TO DISMISS; GRANTING THE DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR A MORE DEFINITE STATEMENT

I. INTRODUCTION

This employment-discrimination matter comes before the court on the defendant's partial motion to dismiss and motion for a more definite statement. Pro se plaintiff Phillip S. Woodruff ("the plaintiff") brings suit against his employer, the Federal Aviation Administration ("the defendant" or "FAA"), *fn1 claiming that the FAA discriminated against him based on his age, gender, race, physical handicap, and in retaliation for his prior complaints. The plaintiff seeks reinstatement to his job, asks the court to require the defendant to accommodate his medical conditions, and requests money damages. The FAA has filed a partial motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, a partial motion for summary judgment, and a motion for a more definite statement. *fn2 For the following reasons, the court denies in part and grants in part the defendant's partial motion to dismiss and grants the defendant's motion for a more definite statement.

II. BACKGROUND

Mr. Woodruff works as a supervisory public affairs specialist for the FAA, directing the agency's aviation education program. Pl.'s Opp'n to Def.'s Partial Mot. to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, Partial Mot. for Summ. J. and Mot. for More Definite Statement ("Pl.'s Opp'n") at 3-4. On September 29, 1995, Mr. Woodruff slipped on a wet floor at work, injuring his shoulder, hip, and back. Id. Ex. 6. He underwent surgery in May 1997 and remained on total disability through January 1998, returning to work on a part-time basis as of February 1, 1998. Id. at 7. Upon his return, Mr. Woodruff requested that the government permit him to resume his supervisory role as a team leader. Partial Mot. to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, Partial Mot. for Summ. J. and Mot. for More Definite Statement ("Mot. to Dismiss") at 5. Mr. Eoyang, Mr. Woodruff's first-line supervisor, denied his request, explaining that it was not in the best interests of the program or the individuals under his supervision to have Mr. Woodruff resume his responsibilities until Mr. Woodruff recommenced a full-time work schedule. Id.

On August 11, 1998, Mr. Woodruff contacted the EEO Counselor to initiate an administrative action. Id. Ex. 9. On December 1, 1998, Mr. Woodruff filed a formal complaint of discrimination against the FAA. Id. Ex. 10. On June 12, 2001, DOT sent Mr. Woodruff notice of its final agency decision in his case, dismissing four of his claims and finding no discrimination for the remainder of his claims. Compl. Attach. On September 14, 2001, Mr. Woodruff filed this complaint.

III. ANALYSIS

A. Legal Standard for a Motion to Dismiss

On a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that the court has jurisdiction. District of Columbia Retirement Bd. v. United States, 657 F. Supp. 428, 431 (D.D.C. 1987). In evaluating whether subject-matter jurisdiction exists, the court must accept all the complaint's well-pled factual allegations as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974), overturned on other grounds by Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800 (1982). The court need not, however, accept inferences unsupported by the facts alleged or legal conclusions that are cast as factual allegations. Lawrence v. Dunbar, 919 F.2d 1525, 1529 (11th Cir. 1990).

Moreover, the court need not limit itself to the allegations of the complaint. Hohri v. United States, 782 F.2d 227, 241 (D.C. Cir. 1986), vacated on other grounds by 482 U.S. 64 (1987). Rather, the court may consider such materials outside the pleadings as it deems appropriate to determine whether it has jurisdiction in the case. Herbert v. National Acad. of Sciences, 974 F.2d 192, 197 (D.C. Cir. 1992).

B. The Court Denies the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Counts One Through Four and the Age, Sex, and Race Claims

The defendant argues that the court should dismiss the first four claims of the plaintiff's complaint because the plaintiff did not contact an equal employment opportunity ("EEO") counselor within 45 days of the incident in question, as required by 29 C.F.R. § 1614.105(a)(1). *fn3 Mot. to Dismiss at 2. The defendant contends that the final agency decision makes clear that the alleged discrimination should have been apparent to the plaintiff no later than April 30, 1998, rather than July 10, 1998, as the plaintiff claims. Id. Ex. 13 at 2-3. A 45-day filing requirement, calculated from April 30, 1998, would make June 15, ...


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