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Mintz v. District of Columbia

May 30, 2006

REGINOLD MINTZ, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Louis F. Oberdorfer United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM

Currently pending in the above-captioned case is a motion and cross-motion for summary judgment filed by plaintiffs and defendant. In an accompanying Order, plaintiffs' motion is granted in part and denied in part, and defendant's motion is granted in part and denied in part.

Plaintiffs filed a Statement of Material Facts Not in Dispute ("Statement") [dkt no. 73] . Defendant did not file a contravening statement of facts in dispute in accordance with Local Civ. R. 56.1. Accordingly, plaintiffs' Statement of Material Facts is deemed admitted by defendant. See id.

I. Background and Procedural History

A. Facts

On September 9, 1996, plaintiffs Reginold Mintz and Selwyn Darbeau, both of whom are African-American males, were hired by the LaShawn General Receivership to work as Contract Specialists in the Office of Grants, Contracts and Procurement ("Contracts Office"). The Receivership was established by court order to run and oversee the Child and Family Services Agency, D.C.'s child welfare agency, due to egregious problems in management. See LaShawn A. v. Kelly, 887 F. Supp. 297, 297-98 (D.D.C. 1995). Mintz was hired on a probationary 3-month basis, and was terminated during the probationary period (in November 1996). Darbeau was terminated on April 5, 2001.

Also on September 9, 1996, the Contracts Office hired John Oppedisano and Jim Osbourne, both of whom are white males. See Statement ¶ 6. In October or November 1996, Oppedisano was appointed as the supervisor of the Contracts Office. He held that position until April 1998. See id. ¶ 8. Osbourne did not have a supervisory position. However, Oppedisano "delegated authority to him and treated him like a supervisor." Id.

Plaintiffs' Statement reveals the following undisputed facts regarding the conduct of Oppedisano and Osbourne in the workplace:

* Oppedisano "referred to Plaintiff Mintz and other African-Americans, including other African-American employees of the agency, as 'niggers' and 'dumb ass niggers.'" Statement ¶ 9.

* Oppedisano told Mintz that "'[y]ou are just like the rest of these people here -- a dumb ass nigger.'" Id.

* Oppedisano, in the presence of both plaintiffs, referred to another employee as a "'Muslim nigger.'" Id.

* Oppedisano made other racist remarks in the workplace. See id. These remarks were discussed during a staff meeting on October 15, 1996. See id.

* After Mintz began to protest the racial comments, Oppedisano and Osbourne began to harass Mintz, arguably in an attempt to provoke him to anger. These comments included vulgar sexual and racial references. For example, Osbourse asked Mintz whether, as a "tall, Black man" he "liked having it up the ass." Id. ¶ 16. In the restroom, Oppedisano said to Mintz, "I like it anal, Reginold, don't you want to give it to me? You're a black stud." Id. Oppedisano also sexually propositioned Mintz on other occasions. See id.

* In addition, on one occasion Osbourne picked up a picture of Mintz's son on his desk, and told Mintz that Osbourne "liked having sex with boys." Id. Osbourne also asked Mintz whether he "liked boys." At this point Darbeau interceded and took Mintz for a walk around the block so that he would calm down. See id.

* The situation was exacerbated by the "long hours and close quarters." Id. ¶14. According to the unrebutted statement of plaintiffs, the "Contract Specialists worked several hours in excess of the normal work day for six to seven days a week [to complete their work]. . . . The office setting was congested, with a total of approximately seven or eight persons occupying a very small office." Id.

* As a result of the foregoing facts, the "work environment caused particular distress to the African-American females in the unit, one ...


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