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Gardner v. Dist. of Columbia

August 23, 2006

ROSEMARY GARDNER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DEFENDANT.



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

Document No.: 14

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GRANTING THE DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

I. INTRODUCTION

This employment discrimination case comes before the court on the defendant's motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff alleges that her supervisors at the District of Columbia ("D.C.") Department of Corrections retaliated against her in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq., because she was a witness to acts of sexual harassment. The defendant argues that the plaintiff's retaliation claim is time barred and that the plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case of retaliation. Because the defendant's alleged retaliatory acts would not have been materially adverse to a reasonable employee, the court grants the defendant's motion for summary judgment.

II. BACKGROUND

The plaintiff works for the D.C. Department of Corrections, a subordinate agency of the defendant. Compl. ¶¶ 2, 3, 7. During her work assignment at the Greater Southeast Community Hospital, Lieutenant Curtis Bass supervised the plaintiff. Compl. ¶ 8. On or about September 2002, the plaintiff filed a report because she witnessed a possible act of sexual harassment by Bass and Officer Ronald Warren against a nurse.*fn1 Compl. ¶¶ 9, 10.

After learning that the plaintiff was a possible witness against him, Bass allegedly retaliated against her by creating a "hostile, abusive and disrespectful workplace environment" and by transferring her to a less desirable and less convenient work location. Compl. ¶¶ 13, 14,

17. Although she reported her concerns to her superiors, the plaintiff alleges that her superiors failed to follow usual procedures and did not take any effective steps to halt the retaliation. Compl. ¶¶ 12, 15, 16.

In response to the alleged retaliatory acts by Bass and other supervisory correctional officers, the plaintiff filed this action on April 21, 2004. The defendant moves for summary judgment. The court now turns to this motion.

III. ANALYSIS

The defendant argues that the plaintiff's retaliation claim is time barred because she failed to file an administrative charge of retaliation within 180 days after the alleged retaliatory acts. Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. ("Def.'s Mot.") at 1, 3. The defendant also argues that the plaintiff has failed to establish a prima facie case of retaliation. Id. In her opposition, the plaintiff argues that she filed her claim within the applicable time period and that she has made a prima facie case of retaliation. Pl.'s Opp'n to Mot. for Summ. J. ("Pl.'s Opp'n") at 2.

A. Legal Standard for a Motion for Summary Judgment

Summary judgment is appropriate when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Diamond v. Atwood, 43 F.3d 1538, 1540 (D.C. Cir. 1995). To determine which facts are "material," a court must look to the substantive law on which each claim rests. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A "genuine issue" is one whose ...


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