The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina United States District Judge
GRANTING THE DEFENDANTS'MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT*fn1
This matter comes before the court on the defendants' motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff, Sharon Mavity, brings a pro se suit for legal malpractice against Phillip Fraas and the law firm Hogan & Hartson. The plaintiff alleges that the defendants committed legal malpractice in connection with their representation of her gender discrimination claims at both the administrative level and the district court level. The defendants move for summary judgment on the grounds that the plaintiff cannot establish a prima facie case of malpractice. Because the plaintiff has not shown that she can meet her burden of proof at trial, the court grants the defendants' motion for summary judgment.
The plaintiff is a female farmer in Montana who alleges that she lost her family farm in November 1996 as a result of gender discrimination in the administration of a credit program by the U.S. Department of Agriculture ("USDA"), in violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act*fn2 ("ECOA") and the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA"). Am. Compl. at 2; Local Civ. R. 16.3 Report at 2. The plaintiff's "case was reviewed by two different USDA investigators and referred to the Office of Civil Rights ("OCR") of the USDA for final determination." Am. Compl. at 2. After the OCR concluded that the USDA had not discriminated against her, the plaintiff filed for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Id. at 3.
On October 20, 2000, the plaintiff's attorney, defendant Fraas, in conjunction with counsel for the USDA, removed the case to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Local Civ. R. 16.3 Report at 2. After a three-day bench trial, another member of this court, Judge Robertson, ruled in favor of the USDA, concluding that the government had not discriminated against the plaintiff. Id. at 2-3. The plaintiff appealed Judge Robertson's ruling, and the Court of Appeals appointed an attorney to act as amicus curiae for the plaintiff. Id. at 3. The Circuit affirmed Judge Robertson's decision on March 31, 2004. Id.
The plaintiff contends that she lost at the appellate level because defendant "Fraas had allowed the APA to be removed from her case [at the district court]." Id. Presumably, the plaintiff alleges that the defendant committed legal malpractice because he withdrew the APA claim in the trial before Judge Robertson, "believing that all of Mavity's claims were actionable under the ECOA." Mavity v. Veneman, No. 00-2518, slip op. at 1 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 31, 2004). More generally, the plaintiff also alleges that defendant Fraas "failed to adequately prepare and pursue her case through the ALJ process," and that he "failed to adequately prepare and present her case" in the district court. Am. Compl. at 4.
On January 14, 2004, the plaintiff filed a complaint against defendant Fraas. Because she was unable to secure legal representation, the plaintiff voluntarily withdrew the complaint on July 26, 2004. Approximately a year later, the plaintiff filed the instant complaint. In this second suit, the plaintiff added Hogan & Hartson, defendant Fraas' employer, as a defendant. The defendants filed a joint motion for summary judgment on January 17, 2006. The court now turns to the defendants' motion.
The defendants argue that the court should grant their motion for summary judgment because the plaintiff's "claims fail as a matter of law." Mem. of Law in Supp. of Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. ("Defs.' Mot.") at 9. In particular, the defendants assert that the plaintiff cannot meet her burden of proof at trial because she "has not provided the necessary expert testimony." Id. The plaintiff does not contest the defendants' assertion that she is unable to meet her burden of proof at trial. Instead, her opposition reiterates her ...