The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROYCE LAMBERTH, District Judge
This matter came before the Court on the defendants' Motion
 for Summary Judgment. Upon consideration of the defendants'
motion, the opposition thereto, the reply, the applicable law,
and the entire record herein, the Court GRANTED the defendants'
Motion  for Summary Judgment in an Order issued September 30,
2004. The Court's reasoning is set forth below.
This is an action brought by a corrections officer against the
District of Columbia, and the District of Columbia Department of
Corrections in particular, alleging gender-based discrimination
in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as
amended. Motions for summary judgment require the Court to review
the facts and evidence in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party here the plaintiff. Therefore, the following
statement of facts is taken directly from the plaintiff's
complaint, her opposition to the defendants' motion for summary
judgment, and the plaintiff's statements of record filed with the
Court. The plaintiff, Angela Jones, was hired as a corrections officer
by the District of Columbia Department of Corrections in
September 1997. Jones was aware that the D.C. Department of
Corrections has a published sexual harassment policy. See
Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. L (District of Columbia Department
of Corrections, Department Order, "Sexual Harassment of
Employees"); Pl.'s Opp. at 18 (asserting plaintiff's awareness of
this policy). After her initial training, which included sexual
harassment training, Jones was placed at the D.C. Department of
Corrections' Occoquan Facility in Lorton, Virginia, where she was
initially assigned to work with Sergeant Daryl Ellison. It is
unclear from the record whether Ellison was Jones' supervisor.
Although Ellison claimed, at various times, to have the authority
to assign overtime and write evaluations of Jones' job
performance, and Jones believed these claims at the time they
were made, Jones later learned that he did not have the authority
to do either of these things. See Pl.'s Opp, Stmt of Material
Facts, at 3 ¶ 10, 5 ¶ 20; Pl.'s Opp. Ex. A (Jones Dep.), at
50-51; Pl.'s Opp., Ex. B (Jones Decl.), at ¶ 3. In official
terms, it appears that Ellison was not a supervisor at all but
merely a more senior officer in the "zone" to which Jones was
assigned. See Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. H (Letter from
Adrienne Poteat, D.C. Department of Corrections Deputy Director
for Institutions, to Margaret Moore, Director, D.C. Department of
Correction, June 22, 1998) ("[It] is my recommendation . . . that
Sergeant Ellison receive training regarding interpersonal
relationships and effective communication rather than supervisory
training since he is not a supervisor.") (emphasis added).
During the first two weeks of Jones' employment at Lorton,
Ellison told Jones and one officer Cole "that if they wanted
overtime, they needed to give him their telephone numbers." Pl.'s
Opp. to Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. at 5 ("Pl.'s Opp."). In
addition, at times not specified, but presumably early in the period of Jones' employment at Lorton,
Ellison commented on his "sexual prowess, stating `I am the
man.'" Pl.'s Opp. at 5. "On two or three occasions, [Ellison]
told [Jones] that he had dreams of having sex with her," and each
time would "ask [Jones] whether she was trying to make his `dream
come true.'" Id.
At other unspecified times, Ellison "made statements to Ms.
Jones' co-workers that he was attracted to her and would like to
have sex with her;" Pl.'s Opp., Stmt. of Material Facts, at 3 ¶
14; made "remarks of a sexual nature to [Jones]," commented on
"the size of [Jones'] breasts and the size of her bra," and asked
"what color were [Jones'] bra and underwear and what `print'
there was on her underwear." Pl.'s Opp., Stmt. of Material Facts,
at 5 ¶ 21. Additionally, Jones learned that, again at various
unspecified times during Jones' employment at Lorton, Ellison had
entered into a wager with other male corrections officers
concerning which of them would "score with [Jones] first," Pl.'s
Opp., Stmt. of Material Facts, at 3 ¶ 13, and that Ellison told
several inmates that Jones was a homosexual "because she would
not have sex with [Ellison]," id. at 5 ¶ 23. Ellison would "on
occasion, rub his crotch when he was alone with Ms. Jones." Id.
at 8 ¶ 34. When Jones rebuffed Ellison's advances, he threatened
her with poor evaluations and disciplinary action. Id. at 5 ¶
22 (referring to Pl.'s Opp., Ex. B (Jones Decl.), at ¶ 9).
Approximately three months after Jones' began working at
Lorton, in December 1997, Ellison unlocked the door to the
facility's gym so that Jones could retrieve her umbrella. He
followed her inside, closing and locking the door behind them and
refusing to allow Jones to exit the gym for approximately five
minutes. Pl.'s Opp., Stmt. of Material Fact, at 4 ¶¶ 15, 18.
Ellison asked Jones to kiss him, explaining that he was attracted
to her "and to the `red lipstick' she wore [and] that he thought
she had `sexy lips' and was very `sexy[,]'" then he "grabbed her coat in a bear hug and physically began pulling Ms. Jones toward
him" in an attempt to force Jones to kiss him. Pl.'s Opp., Stmt.
of Material Facts, at 4 ¶¶ 15-16 (quoting Pl.'s Opp., Ex. A
(Jones Dep. at 42-43)). Jones explained, "[w]e actually tussled.
We tussled. And I asked him to get off me." Pl.'s Opp., Ex. A
(Jones Dep.), at 43. Jones was detained in the gym until, upon
hearing Jones' scream, one Corporal Grayton intervened and she
was allowed to leave Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. C (Pl.'s
Answers to Interrogs.), at 6. The Court will refer to this
occurrence as the "gym incident" for the remainder of this
In early January 1998, two weeks after the gym incident and
after Jones had been reassigned to a location in which Ellison
did not work, Ellison summoned Jones to the "ops office,"
claiming that he needed to speak with Jones about an
"evaluation." Pl.'s Opp., Stmt. of Material Fact, at 4 ¶ 19;
Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. C (Pl.'s Answers to Interrogs.), at
6; Pl.'s Opp., Ex. A (Jones Dep.), at 50. When Jones arrived in
the ops office, Ellison closed the door behind her and tried to
kiss her. Id. at 5 ¶ 20. Ellison then explained, presumably
after Jones rebuffed his advances, that there was no evaluation
to discuss. Id. There was no physical contact on this occasion
as there was in the gym incident. See Pl.'s Opp., Ex. A (Jones
Dep.), at 51-52 ("Q: Now . . . during [the office] incident, did
he again grab you? A: No. . . . . Q: [T]here was no physical
contact? A: No."). The Court will refer to this occurrence as the
"office incident" for the remainder of this Opinion.
Another two weeks later, in mid-January 1998, Jones was in the
mess hall when Ellison approached her, commenting, "I can tell
you what size underwear you wear." Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., Ex.
C (Pl.'s Answers to Interrogs.), at 7. At that time, Ellison also
told Jones "you have big breast [sic] and I dream of licking
them," Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. C (Pl.'s Answers to Interrogs.), at 7, and "brushed himself up behind Ms.
Jones `with his whole body.'" Pl.'s Opp., Stmt. of Material
Facts, at 6 ¶ 25 (quoting Pl.'s Opp., Ex. A (Jones Dep.), at 61).
The Court will refer to this occurrence as the "mess hall
incident" for the remainder of this Opinion.
It is unclear precisely what actions Ms. Jones took between
September 1997 and January 1998, the time period when these
incidents were occurring. After the gym incident, Jones spoke to
one Sergeant Armstrong about Ellison's behavior. See Pl.'s
Opp., Ex. A (Jones Dep.), at 44-45. Armstrong "told [Jones] that
he would talk to Ellison because Ellison knew that he was wrong
and that he shouldn't have done that." Id. at 45. Again, it is
unclear from the record whether Armstrong was a supervisor, or
whether he had any supervisory authority over Ellison. The
plaintiff seems to have thought that Armstrong was in a position
to take some effective action, however, as she "believe[d]
[Armstrong] was the senior sergeant at the time. . . ." Pl.'s
Opp., Ex. A (Jones Dep.), at 59.
After Jones rebuffed Ellison during the office incident, she
"explained to him how he made me feel very uncomfortable and that
he needed to cease his behavior, that I was married and I didn't
want to get other people involved." Pl.'s Opp., Ex. A (Jones
Dep.), at 51. Additionally Jones again reported the incident to
Sergeant Armstrong. It does not appear from the record that Jones
took any action at all after the mess hall incident or reported
it to anyone. Jones stated that no further incidents of sexual
harassment occurred after the mess hall incident. See Pl.'s
Opp., Ex. A (Jones Dep.), at 58.
Approximately two and a half months after the mess hall
incident, on April 9, 1998, Jones lodged a sexual harassment
complaint against Ellison with the Department of Corrections.
That same day, the Department of Corrections issued cease and
desist letters to both Jones and Ellison, which provided that "the complainant and the respondent
[must] avoid unnecessary contact with each other while the
allegations in question are being investigated." Def.'s Mot. for
Summ. J., Exs. F, G (Mem. from Anita B. Michelow, Acting Warden
of the Occoquan Facility, to Angela Jones, April 9, 1998; Mem.
from Michelow to Darryl Ellison, April 9, 1998). The department
conducted an internal investigation of Jones' allegations,
concluding on May 28, 1998 that there was insufficient evidence
to support a finding of probable cause that Ellison had sexually
harassed Jones. See Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. H (D.C. Dep't
of Corrections Sexual Harassment Investigation Rep., "Summary").
The cease and desist letters were continued in effect and Ellison
was directed to attend "supervisors training" as a result of the
investigation. Id. ("Recommendation"). Jones had no further
personal contact with Ellison after the cease and desist letters
were distributed, and no further incidents of sexual harassment
are alleged to have occurred after April 9, 1998. See Pl.'s Opp.,
Ex. C (EEOC "Charge of Discrimination") ("I have not been
sexually harassed since [the Department of Corrections completed
its internal investigation].").
During the pendency of Jones' complaint, Jones' shift was
changed several times, including one period of time when she was
assigned to the night shift, which "imposed increased daycare
burdens" on Jones. Pl.'s Opp., Ex. B (Jones Decl.), at ¶ 14.
Jones petitioned for a return to the day shift, which request was
granted in August 1998, but the Department continued to "change?
[Jones'] duty locations and days off over the subsequent weeks."
Id. On October 15, 1998, Jones was assigned to "tower duty,"
which is "a very undesirable position in the facility" because
the tower is "drafty and unheated in the cold weather;" "not air
conditioned and very uncomfortable during hot, humid days;"
"infested with bugs;" and lacking in adequate "bathroom facilities." Id. at ¶¶ 15, 16. This duty eventually became
permanent, and Jones was "barred from entry into the [Occuquan]
institution." Id., ¶ 15. Jones perceived her assignment to the
tower to be punishment, and she was advised by a co-workers that
"placement in the Tower is a form of punishment so you must have
pissed off someone. . . ." Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. C (Pl.'s
Answers to Interrogs.), at 7.
On August 4, 1998, Jones filed a discrimination complaint with
the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"),
alleging that she was sexually harassed by Ellison. Jones argued
both that the three incidents discussed herein constituted sexual
harassment and gender discrimination in violation of Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act, and that Ellison had, by way of verbal
abuse, retaliated against her after she filed her complaint. See
Pl.'s Opp., Ex. C (EEOC "Charge of Discrimination," filed August
4, 1998); Pl.'s Opp., Ex. E (EEOC "Determination," issued Mar.
24, 2000) ("[W]itness testimony verifies that Charging Party was
verbally harassed by the alleged bad actor after she filed the
internal grievance. Witness testimony verifies that the shift
supervisor referred to Charging Party as a `Red Bitch' and a
`Damn Liar.'"). On March 24, 2000, the EEOC completed its
investigation of Jones' claims and issued a declaration finding
that "it is reasonable to conclude that Charging Party was
sexually harassed and retaliated against for complaining in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as
amended." Pl.'s Opp., Ex. E (EEOC "Determination," issued Mar.
24, 2000). It was during the pendency of this EEOC complaint that
Jones was moved to tower duty, which she perceived to be further
On September 6, 2000, Jones filed a complaint in this Court,
which was amended on September 18, 2000. Named as defendants are
the District of Columbia Department of Corrections, Sergeant Darryl Ellison, Captain William Brooks,
Lieutenant Karen Gray, Lieutenant Betty Ames, District of
Columbia Department of Corrections Warden Patricia
Britton-Jackson, and District of Columbia Department of
Corrections Director Odie Washington. Brooks, Gray, and Ames were
named as defendants due to their participation in the internal
grievance investigation into Jones' complaint, during which "they
each had the authority to take prompt corrective action against
Sgt [sic] Ellison or had the authority to tell someone who is in
a position to take prompt corrective action against him but
[they] failed to do so. . . ." Pl.'s Compl. at 5 ¶. All the
non-institutional defendants were sued both in their official and
The complaint alleges: (1) sexual harassment in violation of
both Title VII's prohibition on gender discrimination and the
similar prohibition in the District of Columbia Human Rights Act;
(2) retaliatory action by the defendants upon learning of Jones'
complaints, also in violation of Title VII; (3) negligent hiring
and retention by the D.C. Department of Corrections in hiring and
retaining Ellison; (4) creation of a hostile work environment and
race discrimination in violation of the District of Columbia
Human Rights Act; (5) common-law assault and false imprisonment
against Ellison, and vicariously against the Department of
Corrections, for the gym incident; and (6) intentional infliction
of emotional distress. See Pl.'s Compl., ¶¶ 26-51 (Counts I-VI).
For these alleged violations, Jones requested aggregate
compensatory damages in the amount of $43,400,000 and aggregate
punitive damages in the amount of $85,900,000.
Three years later, on October 24, 2003, the defendants filed
their motion for summary judgment. Jones filed her opposition to
that motion on January 7, 2004, and the defendants replied on
January 14, 2004. Upon consideration of the defendants' motion,
the opposition, the reply, the applicable law, and the record in this case, the Court
granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment, denied
Jones' pending motion to amend her complaint yet again, and
dismissed the case with prejudice in two Orders issued September
A. Summary Judgment Standard
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, a court must grant
summary judgment when the pleadings, affidavits, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions of record demonstrate
that there are no genuine issues of material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986). The
moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). A disputed issue of
material fact is genuine and therefore precludes summary judgment
where the Court determines that a reasonable jury could
conceivably find in favor of the non-moving party on that factual
issue. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. However, even where a genuine
issue exists as to some material fact, the movant is entitled to
summary judgment against "a party who fails to make a showing
sufficient to establish the existence of an essential element to
that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden
of proof at trial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322.
As a general rule, when adjudicating a motion for summary
judgment, the Court must "assume the truth of all statements
proffered by the party opposing summary judgment" and construe
all evidence in favor of the non-moving party. Greene v.
Dalton, 164 F.3d 671, 675 (D.C. Cir. 1999). See Anderson,
477 U.S. at 255; Carter v. Greenspan, 304 F. Supp. 2d 13, 21
(D.D.C. 2004). Indeed, the Court must "draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, and it may not make credibility determinations
or weigh the evidence." Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods.,
Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000). See also Washington Post
Co. v. United States Dep't of Health and Human Servs.,
865 F.2d 320, 325 (D.C. Cir. 1989). However, "some statements are so
conclusory as to come within an exception to" the general rule
that the non-movant's statements must be fully credited when
adjudicating a motion for summary judgment. Greene,
164 F.3d at 675 (citing as examples Delange v. Dutra Constr. Co.,
153 F.3d 1055, 1058 (9th Cir. 1998); Lefkowitz v. Citi-Equity Group,
Inc., 146 F.3d 233, 240 (5th Cir. 1998)). Thus "wholly
conclusory statements for which no supporting evidence is
offered" need not be taken as true for summary judgment purposes.
Carter, 304 F. Supp. 2d at 21 (citing Greene,
164 F.3d at 674-75).
In order to survive a motion for summary judgment, a plaintiff
must at least present evidence upon which a reasonable jury could
find that a prima facie case for liability has been established.
See Taylor v. Small, 350 F.3d 1286, 1292 (D.C. Cir. 2003)
(affirming district court's grant of summary judgment for
plaintiff's failure to sufficiently make out prima facie case for
discrimination and retaliation); see also Carter,
304 F. Supp. 2d at 20 n. 5 (reiterating this standard in a Title VII
sexual harassment case). The non-moving party must establish more
than the "mere existence of a scintilla of evidence" in support
of its claims. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252. In order to prevail,
the non-movant's opposition must contain more than "unsupported
allegations or denials and must be supported by affidavits or
other competent evidence setting forth specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue for trial." Carter,
304 F. Supp. 2d at 21. See FED. R. CIV. P. 56(e); Celotex,
477 U.S. at 324. "If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not
significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted."
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50. In fact, summary judgment may issue where the movant points to a
substantial lack of evidence in the non-movant's case; see
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322; or where the movant demonstrates that
the non-movant has failed to proffer "evidence in which the jury
could reasonably find for" the non-moving party. Anderson,
477 U.S. at 252.
Courts evaluating motions for summary judgment in
discrimination cases are advised to proceed with additional
caution and to apply a heightened degree of scrutiny. See
Waterhouse v. Dist. of Columbia, 124 F. Supp. 2d 1, 4 (D.D.C.
2000), aff'd, 298 F.3d 989 (D.C. Cir. 2002); Calhoun v.
Johnson, 1998 WL 164780, at *3 (D.D.C. 1998), aff'd. 1999 WL
825425 (D.C. Cir. 1999). However, even under this heightened
standard, a discrimination plaintiff "is not relieved of her
obligation to support her allegations by affidavits or other
competent evidence showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial." Waterhouse, 124 F. Supp. 2d at 4 (quoting Calhoun,
1998 WL 164870 at *3). Local Civil Rule 7(h) provides that
oppositions to motions for summary judgment "shall be accompanied
by a separate concise statement of genuine issues ...