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Johnson v. Ashcroft

August 28, 2006

EMANUEL JOHNSON, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN ASHCROFT ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

Document No. 21

MEMORANDUM OPINION

DENYING IN PART AND GRANTING IN PART THE DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT*fn1

I. INTRODUCTION

This case comes before the court on the federal defendants'*fn2 motion for summary judgment. The pro se plaintiff, Emanuel Johnson, Jr., brings an employment discrimination claim, alleging that the defendants discriminated against him when he was employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") and by the District of Columbia ("D.C.") Office of the Inspector General ("OIG"). The federal defendants move to dismiss the case, arguing primarily that the plaintiff's claims are barred by res judicata.*fn3 Because res judicata bars Counts I, II and V, the court dismisses those counts. Because the plaintiff has not previously litigated the claims raised in Counts III and IV, the court denies the defendants' motion for summary judgment as to those counts.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Factual History

The plaintiff, an African-American man, worked as a special agent with the FBI between 1973 and 1999. Compl. at 8. During that time, the plaintiff was the lead plaintiff in a Title VII class action lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia by African-American special agents against the FBI. Id. at 26. That lawsuit, commonly known as the BADGE lawsuit, settled in 1993. Id. Under the terms of the BADGE settlement agreement, the plaintiff waived any then-pending claims arising out of the defendants' discriminatory employment practices. Johnson v. Ashcroft, 2005 WL 2064095, at *1 (D.D.C. Aug. 25, 2005).

After the BADGE lawsuit settled, the plaintiff brought another lawsuit, Johnson v. Reno, Civ. No. 93-2234, alleging retaliation based on his role as the lead plaintiff in the BADGE lawsuit. Id. The parties settled the retaliation suit on June 1998. Id. The 1998 settlement agreement states that the plaintiff agreed "to release and forever discharge" the FBI from liability from any claims "which were or could have been raised on or before the effective date" of the agreement. Johnson, 2005 WL 2064095, at *5.

After retiring from the FBI, the plaintiff applied to work at the OIG twice: once in 1998 and once in 1999. Id. In 1999, the plaintiff began working as a special agent with the OIG. Pl.'s Opp'n to Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss ("Pl.'s Opp'n") at 20.

B. Procedural History

The plaintiff filed the complaint in this action on July 9, 2004. The D.C. defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on December 21, 2004. On August 17, 2005, the court granted in part and denied in part the D.C. defendants' motion to dismiss. The federal defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on October 15, 2005. The court now turns to the federal defendants' motion.

III. ANALYSIS

The plaintiff's 75-page, 12-count complaint repeats many of the allegations in his prior suits before this court. Only some of the counts involve the federal defendants. Specifically, Counts I and II allege that federal defendants Coulson, Vatter, Lawrence and Riggin conspired to violate, and did violate, the plaintiff's due process rights by destroying documents he had requested as part of a 1983 lawsuit challenging a performance appraisal. Compl. at 15, 21, 24. Counts III and IV allege that federal defendant Carter conspired to interfere, and did interfere, with the plaintiff's employment relationship with the OIG in 1998. Id. at 25, 70; Pl.'s Opp'n at 20. Lastly, Count V alleges ...


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