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Farris v. Rice

September 25, 2006

VIRGINIA FARRIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, DEFENDANT.



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

Document No. 14

MEMORANDUM OPINION

DENYING THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR APRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

I. INTRODUCTION

Currently before the court is the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction. The plaintiff, Virginia Farris, is a thirty-three year employee of the United States Foreign Service (the "defendant"), a branch of the United States Department of State. Farris, an Asian-American woman, brings this case alleging unlawful discrimination and retaliation. Specifically, she claims that the U.S. Foreign Service improperly failed to select her for certain positions within the agency and, when she complained, retaliated against her by investigating her and denying her training and various assignments.

Through operation of a statutory provision triggered by Farris's failure to attain a promotion within seven years, she must retire on September 29, 2006. The plaintiff asks the court to enjoin the defendant from terminating the plaintiff's employment pending a resolution on the merits of the plaintiff's discrimination and retaliation claims. Because the plaintiff fails to demonstrate irreparable injury, the court denies her motion for a preliminary injunction.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

Farris is currently employed as a Public Affairs Counselor at the American Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. Compl. ¶ 5; Pl.'s Mot. for a Prelim. Injunction ("Pl.'s Mot.") Ex. 4. In 1998, the United States Ambassador to Thailand revoked Farris's spouse's diplomatic status, forcing him to leave Thailand. Compl. ¶ 6; Def.'s Opp'n at 3. According to the defendant, the U.S. Ambassador took this action after learning that Farris's husband was abusing her. Def.'s Opp'n at 3.

In an effort to reunite with her husband, Farris sought alternative employment within the Foreign Service. Compl. ¶ 10. Among these, the plaintiff applied for various positions, including Deputy Principle Officer, Consular Affairs Officer, Officer Director, and Public Affairs Counselor. Id. The defendant did not hire the plaintiff for any of these positions. Id. ¶ 11; Def.'s Opp'n at 3-4.

To the plaintiff, the Foreign Service discriminated against her based on her gender and race. Id. ¶ 14. The plaintiff expressed these concerns to the Deputy Chief of Mission and the Department's Chief Equal Employment Opportunity Officer in 1999. Id. ¶ 17. In 2000, she filed a formal EEO complaint. Id. The plaintiff alleges that because she filed the EEO complaint, the defendant investigated certain of her activities. Id. ¶ 18. Also, she claims that the defendant denied her further assignments and postings. Id.

B. Procedural Background

An Administrative Law Judge rejected the merits of the plaintiff's EEO complaint. Compl. ΒΆ 21. The plaintiff, therefore, filed the instant case on October 5, 2005. Id. The plaintiff filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on September 5, 2006 seeking an injunction to prevent the defendant from discharging her ...


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