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Brown v. Tomlinson

August 10, 2005

CRISTIAN C. BROWN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
KENNETH Y. TOMLINSON, CHAIRMAN, BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Paul L. Friedman United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the Court on defendant's motion for summary judgment. Upon consideration of defendant's motion, plaintiff's opposition, and defendant's reply, the Court must grant defendant's motion.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, an African-American male, brings this employment discrimination and retaliation claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Plaintiff works for defendant as an Internet News Writer/Editor, and also runs a personal business designing, developing, and maintaining websites for commercial clients. See Complaint ¶ 3; Pl.'s Ex. 3, Affidavit of Christian Craig Brown ("Second Aff. of Brown") at 1.

On July 2, 2001, plaintiff applied to work as an Assistant Internet Development Coordinator (M/P-01-119). See Complaint ¶ 10. Applicants were divided into "certificates" based on their GS level, with higher ranked applicants receiving first consideration. See Second Aff. of Brown at 2. After applying for the job, plaintiff was promoted from a GS-12 to a GS-13, but never informed the reviewers of his application of the promotion. See id.; Complaint ¶¶ 10, 12. Plaintiff contacted supervisors attempting to secure an interview for the position, but by the time plaintiff heard back from them, the position had been filled by a white candidate without extensive experience in web development or design. See Second Aff. of Brown at 2-3.

On August 15, 2001, another position as an Assistant Internet Development Coordinator (M/P-01-151) became available, and plaintiff again applied. See Complaint ¶¶ 22, 23. Candidates were again placed into different certificates based on their GS level. See id. ¶ 25. Despite being placed on the proper GS-13 application certificate, plaintiff was the last candidate called for an interview. See Second Aff. of Brown at 3. Defendant again declined to select plaintiff for the position, and eventually hired a white male who did not have experience working on international news websites. See id. at 4.

Plaintiff alleges that he was denied the positions because of his race and in retaliation for his previous EEO complaint filed in 1996. See Complaint ¶ 4, 35.

II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

Summary judgment shall be granted if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with the affidavits or declarations, if any, demonstrate that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). Material facts are those that "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). When considering a summary judgment motion, "[t]he evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in [her] favor." Id. at 255; see also Washington Post Co. v. United States Dep't of Health and Human Services, 865 F.2d 320, 325 (D.C. Cir. 1989).

On a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party's opposition must consist of more than mere 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. See FED. R. CIV. P. 56(e); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986). The non-moving party is "required to provide evidence that would permit a reasonable jury to find" in her favor. Laningham v. United States Navy, 813 F.2d 1236, 1242 (D.C. Cir. 1987). If the non-movant's evidence is "merely colorable" or "not significantly probative," summary judgment may be granted. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. at 249-50. To defeat summary judgment, a plaintiff must have more than "a scintilla of evidence to support his claims." Freedman v. MCI Telecommunications Corp., 255 F.3d 840, 845 (D.C. Cir. 2001).

III. DISCUSSION

A. Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

Federal employees must exhaust their administrative remedies before filing suit. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(c); Bowden v. United States, 106 F.3d 433, 437 (D.C. Cir. 1997). Employees who allege discrimination must consult with an agency EEO counselor before filing a written complaint with the agency accused of discriminatory practices. See 29 C.F.R. § 1614.105(a); 29 C.F.R. § 1614.106(a)-(c). The agency must then investigate the matter, after which the complainant may demand an immediate final decision from the agency or a hearing before an EEOC administrative judge. See 29 C.F.R. § 1614.106(e)(2); 29 C.F.R. § 1614.108(f). Complainants may file a civil action after receiving a final decision from the agency or after a complaint has been pending before the EEOC for at least 180 days. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(e); 29 C.F.R. § 1614.407. "Complainants must timely exhaust these administrative remedies before bringing their claims to court." Bowden v. United States, 106 F.3d at 437; see Baker v. Library of Congress, 260 F.Supp. 2d 59, 65 (D.D.C. 2003) ("Title VII confers the right to file a civil action in federal court only when a party has been 'aggrieved by the final disposition of his [administrative] complaint, or by the failure to take final action on his complaint.'") (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(c)); Price v. Greenspan, 2005 WL 1492201, at *5 (D.D.C. 2005) ("federal employees may only bring Title VII lawsuits in federal district court if they have exhausted remedies available through administrative processes.").

The Court finds that plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Although plaintiff acted properly in seeking a hearing from an EEOC administrative judge, plaintiff's subsequent failure to comply with EEOC procedures, his incomplete and tardy discovery replies, and his half-hearted efforts at his own ...


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